Specsavers and The Hope Foundation
Fighting to Eradicate Blindness
With the help of Specsavers, The Hope Foundation established a Blindness Eradication Programme in Kolkata across street and slum communities and schools through community based camps and special eye clinics in the HOPE Hospital.
The project is for people who are living in street and slum communities and have no access to affordable healthcare. It aims to increase awareness of eye health and the need for check-ups. Eye-screening and check-up camps are run in schools and communities, with treatment provided in HOPE Hospital as necessary.
HOPE’s relationship with Specsavers started in 2017 when store partner Lisa Walsh decided to travel to Kolkata along with three other Specsavers colleagues to support the eye clinic.
On her return, Lisa spoke to stores about the work she did, and the group voted to nominate Hope as a charity partner, first signing up to a three-year relationship.
Specsavers marketing team also came onboard to support by part-funding the running of the eye clinic. Outside of funding the eye clinic, partners have also fundraised to purchase much needed optical equipment for HOPE Hospital.
Each year, around 10 Specsavers colleagues visit Kolkata to carry out an intense, week-long eye clinic that sees them visit the street and slum communities in Kolkata.
In 2020, Specsavers further showed their commitment to HOPE and the eye clinic by agreeing to cover the education and living costs for students undertaking the two-year Optometry Diploma course. So far, 24 students have completed the course.
Speaking of the partnership, HOPE honorary director Maureen Forrest says: “Our partnership with Specsavers is having a profound impact in Kolkata. It is hard to believe that in these times, before Covid, something as simple as an eye test and lack of glasses are preventing adults and children from attending school and finding jobs.
“Specsavers’ support has transformed this hopeless situation for thousands of people, changing lives in the process. Not only do they fund-raise for the partnership, but they have sent staff over to Kolkata to give their valuable time and skills on the ground, to meet the beneficiaries and to witness the difference first-hand.
“We are so grateful and proud of what has been achieved so far, and even more grateful for their unwavering support in a year that has been so difficult for many. We are thankful for their commitment to the eye clinic but also for supporting these eight wonderful students. They will have changed the lives of so many today and for generations to come through this one act of education support.”