Take a Look! An Eyeglasses for Artisans Update
Approximately 1.3 billion people live with some form of vision impairment, according to the World Health Organization. A majority of these problems are avoidable with regular eye care and corrective lenses. Most people living with untreated vision impairment (many are over 50) come from lower-income countries, where many of our artisans live and work.
At Serrv International, many of our handcrafts require an incredible amount of precision and detail-- from hand embroidered textiles in India to hand quilled paper in Vietnam to hand-woven baskets in eSwatini. For many artisans, being able to see clearly is the difference between earning an income and having little to no work at all.
Through our Eyeglasses for Artisans program, and thanks to your support and our partnership with the Wisconsin Lions Foundation's Eyeglass Recycling Center, we have provided a total of 3,800 eyeglasses and 1,983 eye exams to artisans in 10 countries.
This year alone, we have had the opportunity to provide vision to 8 artisan communities in four countries.
Our first shipment of glasses to the Philippines was a resounding success. Using funds from your donations and sales of our products, our artisan partners in the Philippines were able to provide 550 pairs of glasses free of cost to artisans in marginalized communities.
In May, we were able to provide three of our artisan partners in Indonesia 450 pairs of glasses.
In June, we sent our first prescription eye glasses to our artisan partners after funding 575 eye exams for nine basket weaving groups in Ghana. A total of 300 pairs of prescription and reading glasses, plus prescription eye medication were sent. These artisans, who rely on their vision to produce beautiful woven baskets, no longer have to worry about not being able to work and support their families.
In October, 1,250 pairs of glasses were received by two of our artisan partners in Bangladesh. We plan to reach out to our other artisan groups across the globe, focusing next on Africa, India, and West Bank. Since beginning the Eyeglasses for Artisans program, we have been able to provide 3,800 artisans around the globe with clearer vision so that they can continue earning a fair wage through handcrafts.
Serrv also recently started workinig with Combat Blindness International, an organization "dedicated to eliminating preventable blindness worldwide by providing sustainable, equitable solutions for sight" (Combat Blindness). We're looking forward to partnering with them in the future.
As always, this project wouldn't have happened without you. Your donations support not only this new eye care initiative, but also our ability to pay our artisans wages up front, and to provide them with training, tools, and disaster relief. As we continue to expand our Eyeglasses for Artisans program, your support is greatly appreciated. You can also support our Eyeglasses for Artisans program and eye care programs everywhere by donating your unused eyeglasses to the Wisconsin Lion's Foundation Recycling Center. To learn more about this organization, visit their website. Or, consider holding an eyeglass drive at your workplace, and donating them to the Wisconsin Lion's Club.
"Serrv's ultimate goal through the Eyeglasses for Artisans program is to send more prescription glasses and finance more clinics for our artisan partners around the world," says Kerry Evans, Serrv's Artisan Development Coordinator. "If you know of any organizations that we should partner with to help us achieve our goals, send us a message!"
Learn more about the impact our Eyeglasses for Artisans program, begun in 2018, in this blog post.