With OneDollarGlasses from São Paolo to the Amazon
The largest country in South America with its over 200 million inhabitants is characterized by extreme contrasts between rich and poor.

Brazilian boys in the favela | © Martin Aufmuth

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 9,000 people provided with glasses
  • Headquarters: Pyimana Township NayPyiTaw
  • Project responsibility: OneDollarGlasses Switzerland
  • 2018: Training of monastery staff in the manufacture of glasses and performing the eye tests
  • 2019: Foundation of an own organization
  • Successful implementation of first eye camps
  • Project name: GoodVisionGlasses
Basic data - Myanmar
  • Population: 53 million
  • Population density: 82 inhabitants per km2
  • GDP per inhabitant: USD 1,300 (162 of 193)

Ethiopia - Facts

  • Started working: 2013
  • Working with Alem Katema e.V. Partnership
  • Main location: Alem Katema, Region Amhara
  • One Dollar Glasses production and optical tests
Basic Data - Ehtiopia
  • Population:  109 million
  • Population density: 95 inhabitants per km2
  • GDP per inhabitant: 772 USD

Rich and Poor

Poor and rich are often close together in Brazil. Not only in the capital São Paolo there are many favelas, as the slums in Brazil are called. There is no ophthalmologist in 79% of Brazil’s cities where 23% of the population (50 million people) live.

Ralf Toenjes

Ralf Toenjes was lucky in his life: coming from a wealthy background, he was able to study at the best university in the country. While still studying, he got to know OneDollarGlasses and was spontaneously fascinated by the idea that has completely changed his life since then.
Today Ralf heads the VerBem projects in Brazil. He has great talent in getting other people excited about his vision. In 2017 he received the “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” award from Brazil.

In the favela

São Paolo is the largest city in Brazil with 20 million inhabitants. Vila Nova Esperanza is a small favela on the outskirts of the metropolis. The people there live in very difficult conditions. Our team members inform people that an eye camp will take place the following day.

Eye camp

The following day our team came with the mobile optical unit. This donated city bus was retrofitted and equipped as a mobile optical unit.


Vitoria de Jesus Gonzales (6), with her mother in front of her hut in the favela.  Vitoria’s mother works as a cleaning lady and her father cleans private swimming pools. Vitoria lives with her parents and two big sisters on a lot measuring only about 20m².

Buy one, Give one

A big supporter of our concept is Dr. Nobuaqui Hasegawa. The son of poor Japanese immigrants, he has built an ophthalmology clinic providing reduced cost care. He provided VerBem with space for a shop next to his clinic. There our team also sells commercial eyeglasses with cylinder at affordable rates. In addition: for every pair of glasses purchased, one pair of glasses is donated to someone in need in the Amazon region.

In the Amazon

The people in the Amazon basin mostly live in a very secluded fashion, many villages can only be reached by boat. To go to the city to see an optician, it’s a day trip with a return trip back. In addition to the travel expenses, there are costs for the eye test and the glasses. Hardly anyone can afford that.

In the Village

With our team we drove to the village of Caliana on the Igarapé, one of the innumerable tributaries of the Amazon. Many people were waiting for us at school early in the morning. Brazil regulations require that an ophthalmologist equipped with an auto refractometer conducts all eye tests. This makes the campaigns complex, expensive, and worthwhile only if many patients attend.


Sebastian (74) has been processing cassava (manioc) since he was a child. He and his wife have 10 children. They grow the cassava in their own fields. The cassava is peeled by hand, grated, pressed and then roasted in a huge pan. Sebastian couldn’t see what he was doing without glasses for a long time. His dangerous work, requiring a sharp knife and rasp, was made unnecessarily more dangerous due to Sebastian’s lack of glasses.

Diving for three hours

Alcineide got glasses from us half a year ago. She says: When she was out with her canoe recently, she hit in the head by a branch. Her glasses fell into the water and sank. She was desperate, Alcineide tells us, because she needs the glasses to sew for her 5 children and 15 grandchildren. Her children dove in the river for three hours – until one of her sons found the glasses again.

Our projects worldwide

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




Burkina Faso






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“After three hours of diving, my children finally found the glasses again.”

Alcineide, Brazil – Her glasses fell into the river while canoeing