Essilor announced its selection by the Australian Government to be part of its Business Partnership Platform, an aid investment program to generate social and commercial returns in developing countries.
The partnership will create affordable vision care for almost 100,000 low-income consumers in rural Bangladesh and train young people to become primary vision care providers, known as Eye Mitras or “friend of the eyes,” according to a press release from Essilor.
Essilor and partners will help young people set up village-based businesses to detect vision problems and dispense affordable eye glasses, according to the release.
Uncorrected vision is the world’s most widespread disability and affects 2.5 billion people, 90% of whom live in developing countries, according to the release. Every year $272 billion is wasted in the global economy due to lost productivity because of uncorrected poor vision.
In partnership with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Essilor launched the Eye Mitra program in December 2017 with non-profit organization Grameen Kalyan and local training partner MART.
Grameen Kalyan will support the establishment of 400 Eye Mitra shops and, where necessary, provide micro-loans to Eye Mitras as they build their micro-enterprises.