Bolivia

OneDollarGlasses in the South American Andes
Bolivia is considered the poorest country in South America. It is about three times the size of Germany and has only 11 million inhabitants. The distances are very large and the infrastructure is poor.

Bolivien | © Heike Hertrich

ODG Brazil - Facts

  • Started work: 2014
  • More than 145,000 vision tests performed
  • Over 50,000 people provided with glasses
  • 20 employees on site
  • Main location: São Paolo
  • Eye camps in the favelas and the Amazon
  • 3 social-optics shops
  • Project name: VerBem (Good Vision)
Basic data - Brazil
  • Population: 210 million
  • Population density: 25,6 inhabitants per km2
  • GDP per inhabitant: USD 1,868
  • 22% of school drop-outs due to children's sight defects

ODG Bolivia - Facts

  • Started work: 2014
  • Over 45,000 people provided with glasses
  • Over 60,000 vision tests performed
  • 22 local employees
  • Main location: Santa Cruz
  • Eye camps with mobile optical unit
  • Central production for South America: 75,000 frames manufactured
  • Project name: Lentes al Instante
Basic data - Bolivia
  • Population: 11,5 million
  • Population density: 10,5 inhabitants per km2
  • GDP per inhabitant: USD 3,566

ODG Malawi - Facts

  • Started working: 2014
  • Over 40,000 people provided with glasses
  • More than 100,000 vision tests performed
  • Main location: Lilongwe
  • 46 employees on site
  • Around 1,000 eye-camps
  • Five eyewear centers
  • Project name: GoodVisionGlasses
Basic data - Malawi
  • Population: 20 million
  • Population density: 10,5 inhabitants per km2
  • GDP per inhabitant: USD 350 (rank 190 of 193)
  • About half of the people live on USD 65 per year

ODG Burkina Faso - Facts

  • Started working: 2013
  • Over 60,000 people provided with glasses
  • More than 140,000 vision tests performed
  • 65 employees on site
  • Central production in Ouagadougou (capital)
  • Average of 30 eye camps per month
  • 20 spectacle centres as permanent contact points
  • Project name: GoodVisionGlasses
Basic data - Burkina Faso
  • Population: 20 million
  • Population density: 73 inhabitants per km2
  • GDP per inhabitant: USD 716 (rank 179 of 193)

ODG India - Facts

  • Started working: 2017
  • Over 17,000 people provided with glasses
  • More than 55,000 vision tests performed
  • about 60 employees on site
  • Headquarter in the state of Odisha
  • Over 1,000 eye camps with small mobile teams
  • Project name: CARE Netram
Basic data - India
  • Population: 1.3 billion
  • Population density: 455 inhabitants per km2
  • GDP per inhabitant: USD 2,719

ODG Peru - Facts

  • Started working: 2019
  • Over 2,000 people provided with glasses
  • Main location: Lima
  • 10 eye-camps in the poor outskirts of the capital Lima
  • Project name: Lentes al Instante (good vision)
Basic data - Peru
  • Population: 33 million
  • Population density: 25 inhabitants per km2
  • GDP per inhabitant: USD 7,007
  • About a quarter of the population lives in the region Lima
  • Peru is geographically the third largest country in South America

ODG Kenya - Facts

  • Started working: 2014
  • Main location: Kisii County
  • Focus of work: Improving eye care in the public health system in Kisii County
  • Project name: Tuone Vizuri Miwani (Good Vision)
Basic data - Kenya
  • Population: 49 million
  • Population density: 90 inhabitants per km2
  • PDP per inhabitant: USD 1,832

ODG Myanmar - Facts

  • Started working: 2018
  • Over 3,000 people provided with glasses
  • Headquarter: Sagaing
  • Project responsibility: OneDollarGlasses Switzerland
  • 2018: Training of monastery staff in the manufacture of glasses and performing the eye tests
  • Successful implementation of first eye camps
  • 2019: Foundation of an own organization
  • Project name: GoodVisionGlasses
Basic data - Myanmar
  • Population: 53 million
  • Population density: 82 inhabitants per km2
  • GDP per inhabitant: USD 1,300 (162 of 193)

Mobile teams

Two mobile teams are working for OneDollarGlasses in Bolivia. They often travel over a thousand kilometers by minibus to the remote villages of the country to supply people with glasses through campaigns.

The “instant glasses”

When people find out that our team is there, they often come on foot and over long distances. They affectionately call our glasses “Lentes al Instante” – the instant glasses because they are so happy that they can take their glasses with them after the eye test and do not have to travel the long distance a second time.

The Project Manager

Max Steiner built Lentes al Instante in Bolivia with great personal commitment. The Swiss national has lived in Bolivia for over 20 years and knows the country like the back of his hand. In his previous life, he was a large scale entrepreneur, a professor of economics and also twice the World President of International Youth Hostels.

Dealer

In big cities like subtropical Santa Cruz there are opticians, but the eye test and the glasses are too expensive for many people. This trader was very happy that she can finally read the invoices again.

La Paz

La Paz, on the edge of the Altiplano up to 4,000 meters, is the city with the greatest height difference: over 1,000 meters it goes from the poor neighborhoods at the top to the rich areas in the valley. The streets are very narrow and steep – so the fastest way of transportation is the cable car.

The Organizer

Arturo has organizing in the blood. He talks on the phone for days with mayors and clinic officers in the villages, and prepares our eye camps with them. The most important thing is that people in the region learn about OneDollarGlasses. Many have never had glasses before, which is why Arturo explains the advantages of OneDollarGlasses.

Chicken foot soup

There are many parentless children in Bolivia. If they are lucky, they will find accommodation in a private or church orphanage. They have no money for glasses, so we give the children their glasses as a gift.

Franz Salazar

Franz Salazar had a tough childhood. He grew up in the small village of El Villar, far from civilization. As a 5-year-old, he had to ride the 1.5 hours to school all alone on a daily basis. When he was a little older, he also took his little brother Jesus with him on his horse. To prevent his brother from falling off the horse on the steep mountain paths, he tied his feet together under the horse’s belly. Today Franz lives with his family in Santa Cruz and heads the glasses production and quality control department.

Market in El Alto

El Alto is the first metropolis of over 4,000 meters. It lies above La Paz at the beginning of the Altiplano. Many of their residents are very poor. Our team is still in the middle of setting up the stand when it is already surrounded by a bunch of people who are all interested in our glasses. Our team leader Rider must stand on the table so that everyone can hear him.

Patty

Patty raised four children. Alone. She found a new home with OneDollarGlasses. Patty takes care of the registration of the patients during the campaigns and runs the glasses store.

Pictures: Martin Aufmuth; story: Martin Aufmuth

Our projects worldwide

Today we are active in eight countries worldwide.
Our goal: Establishment of an optical basic care for everyone.

Brasil

Bolivia

Malawi

Burkina Faso

India

Peru

Kenia

Myanmar

Share with friends

You might also be interested in

“With glasses I can finally read the notes correctly when I play the violin.”

Jennifer Lopez (15), violinist in the “Musica Baroca” orchestra, Bolivia