Special-edition, Congolese-inspired TOMS Shoes
We're teaming up with Giving Partner Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), an advocacy and grant-making organization founded by Ben Affleck, on two Congolese-inspired designs with an additional give. Read More >>
TOMS x charity: water - An Eyewer collaboration
TOMS and charity: water, an organization founded in 2006 (like TOMS!) that’s dedicated to to helping bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, join forces for the first-ever TOMS Eyewear collab! Read More >>
Giving TOMS Shoes in the DRC
Founded by Ben Affleck in 2010, ECI is an advocacy and grant-making organization that works with and for the people of DRC, the third most populous country in Africa, and one that struggled under a cycle of violence for nearly 20 years – particularly in the east. Read More >>
By: Amanda Marr Chung
Senior Sight Program Manager, Seva Foundation
If you’re familiar with our stories of Sight Giving, empowered by TOMS Eyewear purchases, you’ve read about Seva Foundation, TOMS’ lead Sight Giving Partner. Through Seva’s hard work and network of sustainable eye care organizations around the world via the dedication of professionals like Amanda Marr Chung, Senior Sight Program Manager at Seva, we are able to help give sight with every pair of TOMS Eyewear purchased. Read on as Amanda shares some secrets to sustainable eye care…
The eye hospitals run by Seva and TOMS Sight Giving Partners are social enterprises established long before “social entrepreneurship” became a part of our lexicon. These self-financing eye hospitals offer comprehensive, high quality, affordable eye care to the entire spectrum of society — from members of the elite to the poorest of the poor.
Our Partners are able to achieve this in three ways:
1) Providing eye care services to the wealthy who subsidize services for the poor. Giving Partners attract a wide variety of patients through a system of tiered pricing. This means that those who can afford to pay for their eye care help to subsidize those who can’t. For example, a wealthy patient can opt for a more expensive, foldable lens for his or her cataract surgery, and stay in a private room. The same surgeon will operate on an impoverished patient, but use a more economical rigid lens. Post-operation, the patient will stay in a ward with many other patients. Despite the difference in lens type and overnight amenities, the quality of care is identical, and the outcome is the same: both patients regain their sight and a new lease on life.
2) Servicing large populations to take advantage of economies of scale. Seva and TOMS’ network of Giving Partners also achieve financial viability by focusing on increasing the volume of patients they serve. By providing the best eye care and patient experience, educating communities and providing outreach in underserved areas, our sustainable eye care partners are able to generate demand for eye care. Funding from TOMS and Seva contributes to expanding community outreach services that helps build local awareness and demand for services for the future. Giving Partners rely on a referral network of teachers, women’s groups and community health workers that reach deep into the most remote villages. By engaging and training these groups, eye hospitals get their assistance with eye screenings, raise awareness of services and ensure that anyone with a visual problem is evaluated by an eye care professional and provided with the appropriate treatment.
3) Focusing on attracting and retaining the best staff. The final ingredient to achieving sustainability in eye care is attracting and retaining the best staff. Giving Partners invest heavily in their employees; ensuring that managerial and leadership sustainability are also part of the equation. They create learning environments where eye care providers can continually develop their skills and pass them on to students still working toward their eye care degrees. In doing so, these institutions invest in building the capacity of local residents who will stay to serve their own communities. Fostering environments where quality, productivity, efficiency and learning are paramount help attract eye care providers to remote, underserved areas far from the major metropolitan areas where most of their peers work.
Seva and TOMS are proud to work with such a strong network of Giving Partners. Our model of sustainable eye care ensures that these services are available for generations to come. To learn more about how your TOMS Eyewear purchases translates to restored vision to a person in need, click through to this story on the TOMS Blog…