ONE PAIR, ONE VISION
That's how this all started
A simple statement shows how we learn for meaning in what we do.
We embrace work. The bigger the challenges, the more fun we have in solving them in new and exciting ways.
Why couldn't successes at work translate into making the world a better place?
Now it can.
Benji Frank is more than a business plan, it's a world plan. Through...
...we're setting out to make a difference.
With every product we sell, we're bringing health and happiness to more people around the globe. All the while, we're
providing customers with a quality product that enhances their lives.
How's that for a win-win?
That's how business should be.
That's why we believe there ought to be something more.
WHY WE DO THIS?
Few things in the world would make such an immediate and astronomical impact on a person's life like being able to see again. Being able to see clearly restores your confidence. Makes you more productive. And helps you become a contributing member to society. Research shows that in developing countries, restoring vision is the single most effective way to help people out of poverty. That's one of the many reasons we've made it our mission to help people see again.
Around the world, 285 million people are visually impaired. That would be equivalent to having nearly every man, woman and child in the United States suffering from blindness or low vision. What's equally amazing is 80% of all impairments could be avoided or cured. That's why, with every pair of Benji Franks that you purchase, you're helping someone somewhere in the world see again. And in effect, you're helping the world become a better place.
THANK YOU FOR HELPING.
WHAT WE GIVE BACK?
When you make a purchase from Benji Frank, you can choose the way in which you improve the quality of life to someone in the world. You can select from either:
Cataract Surgery Consumables: Cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness. When you choose this option, you're helping provide intraocular lenses (IOLs) that replace the eye's natural lenses and restores a person's vision. To make this possible, we've partnered with Sightsavers who have been performing this miraculous cataract surgery for years.
New Pair of Glasses: Eyeglasses are a life changing device that help people become more independent, sociable and productive. When you select this option, you will be making a pair of prescription eyeglasses available to someone who very often has never seen the world clearly until that day in their life. By partnering with Operation Eyesight, you can be sure that the glasses you are providing will be custom fitted to each individual's needs.
Sightsavers is an international non-profit working in some of the poorest countries in the world to restore the sight of blind people, provide medical care to prevent blindness, and promote equality of opportunity for disabled people.
One of the ways Sightsavers works to tackle avoidable blindness is by restoring sight through cataract surgery. Cataract is the world’s leading cause of blindness with around 18 million people blind as a result and affects children as well as adults. Many people are needlessly blind from cataract simply because they don’t know that it can be cured. Treatment involves an operation to remove the eye’s cloudy lens, and replace it with a clear plastic one. This is a straight forward procedure and can take as little as 20 minutes, yet getting treatment is much more difficult in developing countries.
Six-year-old Nizan suffered with poor vision from a young age. He struggled with everyday tasks like getting dressed and eating his food. Even playing with his friends was difficult, and he needed help getting around his village. His mother was heartbroken by the thought of her son becoming a beggar in his community due to blindness. Thankfully, Nizan’s future became a lot brighter when he was diagnosed with cataract as a result of a house to house visit in his area. Just two days after his Sightsavers funded operation the difference in Nizan was clear to see as he happily played with his friends in his home village and spoke of his excitement about returning to school.
Shahara’s vision deteriorated over time until one day this busy wife, mother and grandmother could no longer perform every day tasks such as measuring ingredients for her family’s meals and taking care of her grandchild. It upset her to seek her daughter’s help with her responsibilities, but after receiving Sightsavers funded cataract surgery she was excited about being able to see again, and return to a normal life, especially cooking for her very large and growing family!
When 55 year old Jharna was diagnosed with cataract she hadn’t been able to see for two years. She had to be guided around by one of her grandsons and could no longer do simple things like see money to pay for groceries or take care of her family and home.
After hearing a loud speaker announcement about a free eye screening program in her area, Jharna was diagnosed with cataract and soon received a straightforward operation to replace the lense in her eye.
When Jharna’s bandage was removed the following day she could see clearly again for the first time in two years. “I can see now, I will not require any help now from my grandchild, and I will be able to help my family.”
We also have one of the case studies from the Financial Times Seasonal Appeal available for use:
OPERATION EYESIGHT UNIVERSAL
Operation Eyesight is at work in many parts of India and Sub-Saharan Africa where people are threatened by blindness and low vision. Since uncorrected refractive error (i.e., the lack of eyeglasses) causes visual impairment and even blindness in more than 300 million people, every Operation Eyesight hospital partner provides optical services to anyone who cannot afford them. These shops not only provide free or subsidized prescription eyeglasses to the surrounding community, they generate additional revenue for the hospitals.
Operation Eyesight is also working to develop training opportunities for entry level technicians through optometrists in the developing world, and is working towards the development of accessible optical services in all low income countries.
Free training transforms a
young woman’s life
Imagine growing up in a slum where your family sleeps in a cramped hut and can barely afford to eat. Now imagine rising out of that poverty and becoming a respected medical professional in the community. That’s the story of Mabbula Liviza. Opportunity came to her thanks to free training, made possible by Operation Eyesight donors.
This bright young woman serves as the vision technician at the eye clinic in the Rasoolpura slum in the Indian city of Hyderabad. When she was a child, her family took full advantage of what education was available in the slum, and Mabbula excelled.
But regardless of her education, she might have lived her life in poverty if she hadn’t learned about the opportunity to be trained at the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVP), also in Hyderabad. She faced stiff competition for a place in the class, and she had to work hard throughout the accelerated three month training program. In her culture, the fact that she is female made the process even more challenging, but she did it.
Mabbula is very good at her job. Not only has she been well trained, she is part of a network of support and professional development opportunities.
But perhaps most important of all, she is already acquainted with the people who come to her – she’s one of them. They are comfortable discussing their health issues and she gives them information and advice which serves to prevent eye problems in the first place. She is helping her community to be free of avoidable blindness.
Vision technicians like Mabbula are desperately needed throughout India. Their ability to provide primary eye care through diagnosis and basic treatment is the foundation of an effective eye health system.
Mabbula is thrilled with her job and thankful for the changes in her life. She in turn is helping to change the lives of struggling people around her. To the generous donors who give to Operation Eyesight and made all this possible, Mabbula says thanks.
Fear gives way to freedom
If you were losing your sight, would you waste any time before seeing a doctor? Not likely. Sadly, a great many people accept low vision and blindness as a given, even if medical help is close at hand. But that is all changing as Operation Eyesight's partner hospitals in India improve their reach into the surrounding districts.
Consider the case of Parvathy, a woman from the village of Sirumugai who earned a meagre income weaving on a handloom. With her children gone and no husband or family to care for her, she was alone.
Parvathy started developing cataracts in both eyes in her 40s. Blindness would mean the end of her weaving work. A wretched life of begging might become her only option.
Help was at hand at a nearby Garnett Memorial Eye Hospital in Mettupalayam. Parvathy knew that this hospital offered free treatment if she could not pay. What kept her away, despite the desperation of her situation, was fear.
Garnett Memorial Eye Hospital has seen a dramatic increase in the number of patients receiving treatment since they launched a community outreach program. Local citizens are recruited and trained as community workers who are able to teach people about eye health, identify basic eye problems and refer people for treatment. These workers travel by bicycle or motorbike to surrounding communities – some so remote they don't even have a proper road. In this way, local people receive the one-on-one interaction they need to put their fears to rest.
It was such an interaction that made the difference for Parvathy. The community workers who came to her village assured her that a cure was possible and explained what was involved before, during and after surgery. She traveled the 20 km in a hospital vehicle, and surgery was carried out– all free of charge.
Parvathy's life has changed dramatically. The outcome of the surgery was good and she is very happy with the results. She says "thank you" to everyone who made the restoration of her sight possible.
THE RETURN OF INDEPENDENCE
You might be able to manage some jobs if you lost your sight. However, being a traditional healer in an African village isn’t one of them.
Kwame Quansah can attest to that. An 82-year old widower who lives in Nyarkokwaa, Ghana, Kwame was a traditional healer for many years. He gathered leaves in the lush jungle bordering his village to prepare herbal remedies, which he sold to residents.
However, after developing bilateral cataracts, Kwame had been totally blind for several years unable to identify leaves and earn his living. After Kwame’s wife and only child died, he moved in with his niece and her family of seven. He was often alone during the daytime while the family worked on their small cocoa farm, sitting outside on a wooden bench and waiting for the others to come home.
Kwame was eager to regain his vision. For him, sight meant independence. A volunteer took Kwame to Watborg Eye Hospital. The hospital is a partner of Operation Eyesight. There, Kwame’s cataracts were successfully removed. Now, he could see!
Wearing dark sunglasses to protect his vision, he returned to his village. Before he had walked slowly and only with the help of others, now he strode confidently on his own. There were customers who had never paid him for his work when he became blind. “Now that I can see again, I can collect my money!” he laughed.
Although the doctor insisted he go home and rest his eyes, Kwame wanted to keep looking at the plants he had been unable to see for so long. “I can hear their voices calling me in the forest!” he said.
Kwame is extremely thankful for all the people who have helped him. “I wish strength and prosperity to all who have helped me, so they can continue to help others.”
Visit http://www.operationeyesight.com/successstories to see “The return of independence,” a photo essay of Kwame’s journey.
“I ONLY SEE MOTION LIKE SMOKE.”
That’s how 66-year old Jerita described her loss of vision on the day she had bilateral cataract surgery at Kenya’s Kitale District Hospital. She was extremely anxious that day. She worried what would happen if something went wrong, and wondered if she would really be able to see her grandchildren if it worked.
Jerita is the matriarch of a large family, with six sons, six daughters, and at least 14 grandchildren. She always had good eyesight, but gradually lost vision as cataracts took hold in both eyes, leaving her almost totally blind.
The day of her surgery, Jerita was quiet and frightened. She held tightly to her daughter-in-law Susan’s hand.
Such timidity is normal, said Dr. Hilary Rono, ophthalmologist at Kitale District Hospital, where the eye health program has been operating successfully for over four years. “Being blind robs people of their confidence.”
However, Jerita was eager to regain her sight. “I want to see my children and grandchildren and cows. I haven’t ever seen my youngest grandchildren. And I miss cooking for my family.”
The next day, when her bandages were removed, Jerita asked, “Is this real?” and then broke out into a song of praise. Now, she is confident, outgoing, and happy.
Jerita returned home and called each grandchild by name to ask who they are. She had never seen the youngest children’s faces. She scooped up one of the youngest grandchildren, 11month old Nekesa, into her arms, as the others gather round. She touched the children’s heads in order to recognize them, and was introduced to the youngest ones.
Without Operation Eyesight’s donors, Jerita’s family could never have afforded the surgery. “I didn’t think I would ever see people again. Now I can see all my children.” She said. “A very big thank you to Dr. Rono and you. Everywhere you go, may you be blessed.”
Visit http://www.youtube.com/user/OpEyesightUniversal to see “Motion like Smoke,” a photo essay about Jerita and her family.