BLOOBLOOM x PAIR FOR PAIR

Written by Eileen MacCallum

Teacher in Ghana who benefited from VFAN programme

One thing we feel pretty strongly about is fairness. Equality.

That feeling had a lot to do with why we set the bloobloom boat afloat in the first place. One of us tried to get affordable specs, quickly, but it wasn’t that easy or quick. Or even affordable. Why not? We investigated… and the rest is right in front of you.

As responsible global citizens, we all recognise the wider problem. If we live in the West and getting glasses takes time for us, what on earth is it like for people in underdeveloped countries with patchy or limited healthcare? Our casual luxury of dithering over the choice of a matt black or warm tortoiseshell frame is eclipsed by their stark option of glasses – or no glasses. Simple. Hence, our Pair for A Pair programme.

Because, for many in poorer countries, they’re not just glasses. They’re the ability to thread a sewing machine needle in under 1 minute so a sole breadwinner can earn enough to support a family of seven. They’re the chance to see clearly enough to pursue education, learn and keep learning until you can make your own way. They’re the lifeline that lets a single mother keep supporting a family ravaged by genocide.

All of which means the positive impact of our – your – donations is much greater in countries like these.

HOW WE BECAME VFAN FANS

It’s no secret that our team relish the art of research, by web, plane or foot – it’s how we find great people we like to work with. (We look hard.) And there was no way we wanted to run a business that didn’t reach an arm out to support others.

Our explorations led us to the Vision for a Nation (VFAN) charity. Quietly extraordinary people, pas de doute. Already a well-oiled machine by the time we became a partner, they have years of experience on the field in Rwanda, building on founder James Chen’s work in eye-care related charities in developing countries.

The true value of their approach lies in their drive to make every support system they establish sustainable in the long-term. They don’t just supply glasses, they train local networks to supply eye care, tests and prescriptions. They learn how individual communities operate so they can understand exactly what they need to thrive. Always seeing the little AND the big picture.

Pandemic delays aside, they’re taking their ingenuity and compassion to tackle challenges in Ghana and soon hope to expand to Nigeria and South East Asia.

Along the way, pair for pair, we’ll be there. You too, hopefully.

Don’t get us wrong. We adore le frou-frou that comes with designing glasses. We love to eyeball the latest colour ideas, track down sustainable materials, conjure up styles that woo. Dream about glasses, occasionally. We enjoy the creative buzz of finding faces to model our frames and crafting bijou film stories to share it all with you.

And why can’t le frou-frou fuel something good? Why shouldn’t it funnel funds and expertise to people for whom glasses can spark joy in crucial, precious, life-altering ways? OF COURSE IT CAN. Vive le frou-frou!

For every pair of glasses you purchase, we donate a pair to someone in need.

Merci.
PHOTOS: Vision for a Nation
WORDS: Eileen MacCallum