Social Enterprise Model Empowers Access to Glasses

The SVOne: Empowering Access to Glasses through Social Enterprise (Part II)

Please read our previous post “The Concept: The SVOne: Empowering Access to Glasses through Social Enterprise” to learn how this model can be put into action.

Smart Vision Labs launch partner Community Enterprise Solutions and its social enterprise field partner Soluciones Comunitarias are proving the success and impact of the social enterprise model in both Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

Social Enterprise Model glasses

Friends getting glasses for the first time in the Dominican Republic

The Guatemala Case: 16 people screened, 11 purchased glasses

Recently Soluciones Communitarias held a campaign in Magdelena Milpas Altas, Guatemala. Maria, a new Vision Advisor (VA), organized this campaign in her hometown pharmacy. She made an investment of approximately $6 for marketing and advertising. Sixteen people arrived at the campaign between 9 am and noon. Adults were charged $1.25 for the SVOne exam; the exam was free for children and youth. Out of these 16 people, 12 were diagnosed as needing the SVOne exam. Of those 12, eight needed glasses for distance vision and two were referred to a nearby vision clinic. Five people purchased glasses. In addition, two people bought reading glasses and four people purchased “protectors” (glasses with no prescription but with UV protection to prevent pterygium). Three people also purchased basic eye drops.

During this three-hour campaign, seven people got prescription glasses for the first time in their lives. Maria was able to effectively serve her community and for her effort she earned $20. (On a good day a person in Maria’s community will typically earn $6 per day.) After netting out costs, Soluciones Comunitarias earned approximately $30. If we could repeat this social enterprise model results 20 times in a month, 140 people would have prescription glasses for the first time, Vision Advisors like Maria would earn $400, and the local social enterprise would earn $600 to help pay for its leadership team, office expenses, transportation, growth, and other priority programming.

The Dominican Republic:  28 glasses and one huge 10 year old grin

The Soluciones Comunitarias team in the Dominican Republic held a two-day campaign in El Palmar, a community in the southwest of the country with a local population of approximately 1,400 people. Over the course of the two days 80 clients got free visual acuity screenings and 35 needed to get diagnosed with the SVOne. In total 28 people of all ages found the right solution and purchased glasses. During this campaign the local entrepreneur earned $49 and the social enterprise netted approximately $50. These quantitative results are very much in line with what we have been seeing in Guatemala. However, it is the qualitative results that demonstrate the true impact of this work.

Adriana Isabel Reyes is 10 years old. When it was Adriana’s turn for her visual acuity screening she initially struggled to understand how to interpret the “tumbling E” on the charts. The team could see that she was getting frustrated, so after several minutes of trying to explain how to do it, the local social enterprise team had her move right to the SVOne diagnosis. The results indicated that she needed glasses, and the Vision Advisors found the right pair of glasses for her. After her parents bought her glasses, Adriana walked away not only with a chance for a better quality of life, but with a huge grin on her face as well.

Social Enterprise Model Glasses mission trip

Adriana with her new pair of glasses