Poor eyesight can be an extreme hindrance to quality of life, especially for those living in poverty. The social entrepreneurs behind Warby Parker – Neil Blumenthal and Jeffrey Raider – recognized the importance of having access to needed eyeglasses and responded with the Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program to give people the gift of sight, and the chance to climb out of poverty as a result.
How Warby Parker is Solving Inaccessibility of Eyeglasses to People in Need
More than 15% of the world’s population or a total of one billion men and women are unable to work or learn properly because they have eyesight problems. Without the resources needed to purchase a pair of eyeglasses, many people who need glasses the most cannot excel in school or make productive contributions to their work environments. Without proper eyesight, those already suffering from low income are likely to be trapped in poverty indefinitely without assistance.
Warby Parker sees this issue clearly and they have come up with the Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program to help tackle it. For each new pair of glasses bought by a consumer, Warby Parker donates an equivalent amount of funding or an actual pair of eyeglasses to a non-profit organization, namely their partner VisionSpring.
To date, VisionSpring has provided over 1 million pairs of eyeglasses to people in the developing world, and Warby Parker is part of that solution – they have already donated more than 150,000 pairs of eyeglasses through their BOGO program. Each pair of glasses donated by Warby Parker is tailor-fitted to the wearer, not used or secondhand. This ensure a perfect match for the recipients.
Aside from providing access to eyeglasses, Warby Parker also works with VisionSpring and other partner organizations to train start-up entrepreneurs in developing countries in the business of eyeglass selling. This helps ensure that a particular community has a steady and affordable source of eyeglasses for years to come. For other inspirational stories on providing eyeglasses to developing countries, check out the New York Times, Scojo Foundation provides affordable eyeglasses to the poorest countries.
About these Warby Parker Entrepreneurs for a Change
Warby Parker founders, Neil Blumenthal and Jeffrey Raider, all met at The Wharton School before starting Warby Parker. Neil used to be the director of VisionSpring, making the partnership between the two organizations a natural fit. Neil was also instrumental in pioneering the low-income training program for eyeglasses merchants in small communities. Jeffrey’s penchant is for bringing people together, and as such is the spiritual leader of the venture. These two developed a passion for social entrepreneurial projects by traveling the globe and dreaming idealistically together.
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