Vision for Life Announces Financial Support to Help Primary Vision Care Providers During COVID-19
Essilor’s social impact fund, Vision for Life™, announced a €300,000 financial support scheme to help over 1,800 vulnerable primary vision care providers, whose livelihoods are at risk due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
These primary vision care providers are based in five countries – India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Cambodia and Kenya – and will each receive a cash assistance sum, equivalent to one month’s income.
These primary vision care providers are mainly micro-entrepreneurs trained under Essilor’s Eye Mitra (friend of the eyes in Hindi) program, first launched in India in 2013 and subsequently expanded and adapted to different countries around the world. Today there are over 16,000 primary vision care providers globally, providing sustainable access to vision care for over 320 million people.
The pandemic has seen many countries impose stringent lockdown measures to contain the spread of the virus, impacting a lot of businesses, including the network of primary vision care providers. They have been forced to close or operate under restricted conditions. Even as countries emerge from lockdowns, business has not returned to normal for these vision care providers. A recent survey conducted by Essilor found that a number of them do not have enough savings to sustain prolonged business closures and are the only source of income for their families.
The cash assistance sum is equivalent to one month’s income for each primary vision care provider and will be disbursed to each primary vision care provider with the help of local NGO partners. Essilor has earlier issued personal protective equipment, safety tips as well as advisories on the safe handling and usage of eyeglasses to stem the spread of COVID-19 to its entire network of primary vision care providers. It is also providing online training, enabling them to upskill during this period. In addition, the Essilor teams are investigating relevant support schemes and assistance programs within each country and helping the vision care providers apply for them.
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