The following post was originally featured as a blog post on the site of our online retail partner, Escama.
Last month Escama Studio's online retail partner, Shopping for a Change, made a generous donation of reading glasses to our artisan partners in Brazil. Executive Director, Stacey Horowitz met with us today to explain more about the eyeglass donation program called 'The Future Looks Bright Project'
The artisans wearing their glasses from the Future Looks Bright Project.
Stacey: I was so excited to have Escama as part of our most recent community improvement project—The Future Looks Bright Project, which was funded in January 2016 from our 2015 product sales. We were able to provide 2500 pairs of eyeglasses to artisans on 3 continents around the world. People typically begin to lose their ability to see clearly up close between the ages of 30-55. This can be truly devastating for an artisan. Not only does their production begin to dwindle when they cannot see well, but they risk losing their ability to work completely. By providing this eye wear they are once again be capable of working to their fullest capacity, enabling them to provide necessary food, shelter and education for their children.
Escama: Your website, Shopping For A Change funds community improvement projects every year from the profits raised from the previous year's sales. How did you come up with this year's idea of free eye wear?
Stacey: It came about as a result of a conversation with one of our artisan groups. We were trying to come up with a health-oriented project, and the artisans themselves said that what they needed most were eyeglasses. I began to think that this was probably a common need among all of the groups with whom we work, so I asked everyone to share what their artisans’ eye needs were. I began researching eye wear providers and discovered VisionSpring, a NY-based nonprofit whose focus is on eye care in developing countries and teaching local communities how to do eye exams and sell glasses. We purchased 2500 pairs of magnification style eyeglasses, and with the information gathered from our artisan groups we were able to know which strengths, quantities & styles to send to each. We've started to get comments from artisans around the world about what a life changer it is for them to be able to see clearly again.
Escama: Yeah, the glasses are great! (I admit that I stole a pair myself and I can actually see clearly now). And from Brazil here are some of the things that we've heard back from the artisans: