January Alaffia Eyeglasses Drive


by Toni Tileva

Beauty. Equality. Empowerment. Alaffia‘s products are fair trade and traditionally crafted, and they are nothing short of amazing. But did you know that the Alaffia Foundation sponsors a number of projects benefiting communities in Togo, West Africa? One of those initiatives is their eyeglasses drive.

We are happy to be a part of this annual drive. Until January 31, you can donate your no-longer-needed eyeglasses and place them in a box in our Wellness department.

According to Alaffia:

“Vision impairments are a barrier to education for young people, and a barrier to viable livelihoods for many adults.  When an elderly person can no longer see, their mobility and activity in the life of their families and communities is greatly affected.  Togo, the 12th poorest country in the world (2016 data), has 1 doctor per 25,000 people.  As this is a national figure, it does not reflect the great divide between urban and rural medical care access.  Specialists are even more scarce.  The African Council of Optometrists reported only a few Togolese certified optometrists in its 2016 report.  In this context, providing eye care to western standards is mostly just not possible.  And yet, a simple donation of something we no longer need, can change a life.”

In Togo:

  • 1 eye exam costs 1 entire month of the average wage.
  • 1 pair of eyeglasses costs 4 months of the average annual wage.
  • Since 2006, Alaffia has distributed over 25,588 pairs of eyeglasses to children and adults with vision impairments who would otherwise not have corrective eye wear.

How The Program Works:

  • Alaffia collect reading, prescription glasses, and sunglasses.
  • Their community trainers partner with women’s cooperatives, health clinics, and local officials in low cash communities in the Alaffia producer regions.
  • They educate about the importance of protective eye wear to prevent cataracts, common and debilitating among the elderly in Africa.
  • It costs US $1 per pair to get eyeglasses assessed in Togo for their prescription, but equipment and locations with trained staff to do this are few, limiting the quantity of assessments that can be done.

Don’t have eyeglasses to give?  You can help with a cash donation:

  • a $5 donation ships about 10 pairs of eyeglasses.
  • $1 covers the cost for assessing the prescription of 1 pair of donated prescription eyeglasses.