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Globally, nearly 100 crore people have vision impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed. In India, 216 million people suffer from vision impairment which can be solved with a pair of glasses.

Correcting the vision of artisans, trades people, micro-entrepreneurs, and other skilled workers has been an organisational priority of VisionSpring through their See to Earn program.

Anshu Taneja, Country Director for India said, “The partnership with Fair Trade Forum – India builds upon the more than 5 million eyeglasses VisionSpring has distributed to low-income communities in India since our work started here in 2005.”

VisionSpring’s See to Earn program addresses both near vision and far vision impairment, but because the condition of presbyopia (blurry near vision) collides with the age when people are at the peak of their artistry and the mastery of their craft, a simple pair of reading glasses can extend the productivity and increase the earning capacity for much of India's 70 million artisans and micro entrepreneurs.

During the Leadership Exchange on Public and Private Partnerships for Clear Vision India a cross-section of leaders in the eye care sector assembled in Delhi. The event was an opportunity to zoom out from their respective siloes. Senior leaders from government, CSRs, NGOs, and corporates discussed the full scope of the problem and the economic burden it puts on the nation, exchanging ideas and strategizing solutions.

The Honorable Minister Shri K. J. Alphons, IAS (Rtd.), Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, and former Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Tourism was a special guest. He explained that he became interested in the issue of clear vision in India after an especially smart 13-year-old girl who lives in his house began to struggle in school. A vision screening revealed that she was significantly nearsighted and with a simple pair of eyeglasses she’s now able to reach her full educational potential, “That’s precisely why I decided to come to this event. People don’t check [their vision] because they are from poor families, parents don’t know about it. It’s not because they don’t allow their children [to be screened]—it’s just because they don’t know about it.”

The event ended in celebration of VisionSpring and Fair Trade Forum – India’s new partnership. “Fair Trade is proud of the role we are playing to bring clear vision to our nation’s artisans, and we feel privileged to be a part of the work of all of the partners who have gathered together to solve the issue of vision impairment, which disproportionally affects our low-income communities.” -Anchal Kumar, Executive Director, Fair Trade Forum – India.

VisionSpring is a pioneering social organization creating access to eyeglasses for low-income adults and children. Annually in India, VisionSpring supports vision screening for more than 27 lakh (2.7 million) people and corrects the vision of more than 10 lakh (1 million) people with eyeglasses. On average, 73% of VisionSpring’s participants acquire their first-ever pair of eyeglasses through the See to Earn, See to Learn, and See to be Safe programs. To date, VisionSpring has distributed more than 50 lakh (5 million) pairs of corrective eyeglasses in India, creating more than Rs. 8,100 Crore ($1.08 billion) in economic impact for low-income households.

The organization delivers on its eye health mission across 23 states, working with more than 500 hospitals/healthcare facilities and NGOs, 15 state governments and agencies, and 50 corporations/CSRs. VisionSpring has also responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with personal protective equipment, oxygen concentrators, and vaccination access and awareness. VisionSpring’s work has been covered in The New York Times | The Economist | Forbes | The Lancet | The Economic Times

Fair Trade Forum – India World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) prescribes 10 Principles that Fair Trade Organisations must follow in their day-to-day work and carries out monitoring to ensure these principles are upheld. As a member of WFTO, Fair Trade Forum – India upholds these principles and works to ensure a dignified income and overall development of artisans, farmers and workers in the unorganized sector.

Fair Trade Forum – India (FTF-I) is the National Network for Fair Trade in India. It works with more than 200,000 producers – artisans and farmers – through more than 100 member organisations. FTF-I is a not-for-profit organisation, registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860.



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