Following its first initiative in Morocco last month, Vision for Life has now teamed up with Essilor’s local partners in Turkey to organise a fun screening event and help children from underprivileged communities to see the world better thanks to a pair of eyeglasses.

Vision for Life, Essilor’s strategic giving fund, joined hands with local partners to welcome children in Istanbul accompanied by their parents for an eye test and free spectacles in the facilities of the local Goz Vakfi Hospital. Over six days Essilor volunteers supported by ten local opticians screened more than 150 children. Almost 40% of them needed vision correction and were equipped with free glasses. Additionally all the children received sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV light. To make the waiting time as enjoyable as possible, the volunteers distributed games and color books as well as sweets and drinks.

Ebru Edgüer, Public Relations Manager at Goz Vakfi Hospital, which kindly hosted the screening events, comments: “We are really proud of being a part of this project organized by Essilor Vision for Life. We are trying to increase awareness for the importance of healthy vision and especially the importance of an early diagnosis of eye care problems. With this event we had a chance to reach underprivileged students and their families who suffer from vision problems. Our thanks also go to all the Essilor team members and their partners who volunteered for this mission and helped making this event happen.”

With this event we had a chance to reach underprivileged students and their families who suffer from vision problems.

Serdar Kosovalı, Marketing Manager Essilor Turkey, comments: “It took me more than 2 months to coordinate among all the different stakeholders, but it was a great experience for me to support underprivileged people and provide them with the vision correction they need. The collaboration with the local associations and our partners worked very well. Each volunteer spent a big effort to make this event succeed.”

When asked how he experienced the reaction of the students who benefited from this program he replies: “Most of them did not expect to have a great time here before they came to the hospital. However we offered them hats, balloons, set of pencil cases and flags to make the event really as fun as possible. They seemed very surprised and impressed. After having been equipped with their new pair of spectacles and sunglasses, I saw their smiling faces and this made me very happy. I am proud to have been able to support the Vision For Life team. I hope this contribution will help all students to see better and to perform better at school.”

Ali Demirel, Head of Merve Optik Turkey, who actively engaged in many philanthropic projects in the past, including the support of victims of the big Van earthquake, says about his personal experience when being involved in philanthropic initiatives: “Being part of a philanthropic action, means helping and supporting people. This creates peace and happiness for everyone involved.”

Being part of a philanthropic action, means helping and supporting people. This creates peace and happiness for everyone involved.

Turkey has a young and growing population – approximately 30 million people are aged below 25. According to estimates more than 50 million people suffer from impaired vision and about 10 million people don’t have their sight corrected due to financial inaccessibility or to a lack of awareness. Initiatives like this are therefore particularly important not only to improve people’s sight but also to help them increase their overall life quality thanks to a better school or professional performance.

This initiative in Turkey is another step in the expansion of Vision for Life’s global outreach: founded early 2015,  Essilor’s strategic giving fund has since initiated projects in many different countries all over the world and recently co-founded the global campaign Our Children’s Vision. It follows on from the fund’s first project in Morocco one month ago. Both initiatives were organized in collaboration with local partners who care about engaging with the communities they operate in.