For those who work in the textile industry, tailors, rug makers, bike mechanics, weavers, artisans, and anyone who needs to see up close for their profession, the loss of near vision during prime working years can affect their ability to earn a living and support a family. VisionSpring was founded on a very basic principle: “If you can’t see, you can’t work.”
An international social enterprise, it was founded in 2001 with a mission to broaden access to affordable eyewear everywhere. They establish market access to eyeglasses and vision correction for people living in poverty so that they may enhance their livelihoods, learning, and quality of life.
They are working to transform the systemic dysfunction of the optical market which has failed to deliver a 700-year-old technology to 644 million consumers who earn less than $4 a day. To efficiently scale, they must deliver each new unit with less cost.
Today, Vision Entrepreneurs continue to conduct vision campaigns in El Salvador and India selling glasses on site and providing customers who need more complex care treatment with referrals. VisionSpring is exploring strategic partnerships with NGOs and businesses focused on last mile distribution in an effort to unlock development gains by aligning its work with products already in high demand by the BoP (base of pyramid) customer.
VisionSpring has been recognized by philanthropic leaders such as the Skoll and the Mulago Foundations as one of the most impactful social enterprises in existence today. Founder Dr. Kassalow is one of the Schwab Foundation’s 2012 Global Social Entrepreneurs of the Year, and the inaugural winner of the John P. McNulty Prize.
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