Do you have an old pair of glasses you're no longer using? Rather than letting them sit in your drawer gathering dust, why don't you bring them in for our National March Alaffia Eyeglass Drive? We're going to have a box at the Customer Service Desk where you can drop off any old glasses during the entire month of March. It's a simple way to significantly improve someone's life half a world away just by doing some spring cleaning.
The goal: 20+ eyeglasses per box
The eyeglasses we will be collecting for Alaffia will then be distributed to people in Togo, who are otherwise visually disabled. In Togo there are very few optometrists and eye exams cost as much as one month's wages. A pair of eyeglasses can cost up to four months wages!
Visual impairment is very common; 25% of the global population needs eyeglasses and the World Health Organization estimates that the use of corrective lenses could improve the eyesight of one-fourth of the world's population. In fact 50% of the children in institutions for the blind in Africa would be able to read normal to large print if they had eyeglasses. With over 4 billion pairs of eyeglasses thrown away each year in North America and over 1 billion people in developing countries needing glasses but unable to afford them, donating your unneeded or unwanted eyeglasses is the best choice you can make for your fellow humans and for the planet.
Sunglasses are also welcome! Protection from the sun and dust is important to proper vision health care. Sunglasses keep harmful UV rays from the eyes, help prevent cataracts, which can develop from excessive sun exposure and lead to near-sightedness and other eye problems.
Alaffia was founded by Olowo-n'djo Tchala, a Togolese native, as a way to generate funds to conduct community enhancement projects in his home country and other West African nations in order to reduce poverty and gender inequality. Olowo-n'djo believes that Africans can mobilize their natural resources in a sustainable manner to empower their own communities, and that this is a more sustainable avenue towards reducing poverty than waiting for outside aid or for corrupt governments to fall. Alaffia and the Alaffia Shea Butter Cooperative were founded in order to trade the indigenous resource – Shea Butter – in the West to raise proceeds which are then returned to Togo in the form of community projects.