• OneDollarGlasses
    One pair of glasses - endless possibilities.
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  • Bending machine of the OneDollarGlasses Association
    With OneDollarGlasses’ special bending machine, locally-produced glasses can be made in just 15 minutes – cost of materials: $1.
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  • OneDollarGlasses for visually-impaired children
    OneDollarGlasses provides opportunities for visually-impaired children. Many were not making progress in school because they could not see well.
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  • OneDollarGlasses for workers
    People whose eyesight had become too poor to continue working can now go back to their jobs.
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  • Visual test for OneDollarGlasses
    Siemens Stiftung supports OneDollarGlasses’ expansion into Burkina Faso. Emphasis is placed on hard-to-reach rural areas.
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  • Visual test for OneDollarGlasses
    Every customer is thoroughly examined. Employee training plays an important role in the exams.
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The vision of the OneDollarGlasses Association is a world where every person is able to afford eyeglasses. Since 2012, the association has been creating structures in developing countries to provide a sustainable supply of affordable, locally-produced glasses for visually-impaired people. Siemens Stiftung supports the association as it implements its concept in Burkina Faso.

Help for 150 million people: The idea behind the OneDollarGlasses Association

$800 per year – that’s the WHO’s estimated economic benefit of a single pair of glasses. Glasses provide relief for everyday tasks, create chances for education, and increase professional opportunities. Around the world, approximately 150 million people suffer from a form of vision impairment and do not have access to glasses. That's a figure Martin Aufmuth from Erlangen, Germany, didn’t want to accept. He came up with a simple design for glasses that even people living on less than one US dollar per day could afford. He and his association are implementing this concept around the world.

Creating a local social enterprise plays a decisive role in this effort. OneDollarGlasses can be handmade by people in a given location using a specially-designed bending machine. The glasses can then be sold to other members of the community. The cost of the materials for one pair of these glasses is around one US dollar. The retail price is between two and three days’ pay. So far, the association is active in eight countries and has used this method to help over 50,000 people gain access to glasses. More than 100 people have been trained in production and sales of the glasses. Donations are funding expansion into further countries. The retail price of the glasses covers wages, infrastructure costs, transport and marketing in each country, and the materials for new glasses. The association is therefore able to provide continual and financially-independent optical care for people in developing countries.

Coverage in rural regions: Our cooperation in Burkina Faso

We got to know the OneDollarGlasses Association as part of our empowering people. Award, which recognizes simple technical innovations that sustainably contribute to improving basic services in developing regions. Martin Aufmuth won first prize in 2013 for his idea. In addition to 50,000 euros in prize money, his organization has received consulting as part of our empowering people. Network. To make the custom-made and affordably-priced glasses available to even more people, Siemens Stiftung has supported the association's efforts to expand to Burkina Faso since 2015.

OneDollarGlasses became active in Burkina Faso in 2013, and the local organizational structure has been constantly expanded ever since. With the exception of the cost of support from Germany, the project is already financially self-sustaining for the most part: wages for the manufacturing and operational staff, travel costs, rent, and other expenses are covered by the sale of the glasses. So far, more than 16,000 glasses have been sold.

Our collaboration focuses particularly on developing a sales strategy as part of a three-year pilot project that would allow rural regions to be reached. This is especially important in Burkina Faso, where large portions of the population continue to live in rural areas where access to basic medical services is limited. Based on a social enterprise business model, the goal is to establish coverage that is as comprehensive as possible using a combination of fixed shops selling glasses and a mobile sales team.