Vision Ambassador is an inclusive business model that aims to increase the number of primary vision care providers to expand access to affordable eye care in local communities.
Video: Vision Ambassadors in China (1)
Video: Vision Ambassadors in China (2)
Video: Vision Ambassadors in Kenya
Video: Vision Ambassadors in Brazil
Difficulties in correcting vision 90% of people with uncorrected vision live in developing countries where there is a severe lack of eye care professionals and optical outlets. Existing eye care services are often in cities and not accessible for people living in rural or remote areas. Sometimes they can be equally difficult to access for low-income populations in urban areas.
Community based Vision Care
Essilor’s Vision Ambassador program enables local entrepreneurs to supplement their income and serve their community by providing vision correction. Vision ambassadors receive one day of training to learn the basic skills required to carry out near vision screenings and to sell reading glasses and sunglasses. The program was initially launched in China in 2014 and has since been adapted to the local needs of underserved areas across India, Brazil and several South East Asian and African countries.
People serving their community
The profile of vision ambassadors is diverse. It can range from health service workers, local shopkeepers to women wanting to contribute to their family income and help their local community whether it’s a rural village or low-income city settlement. Often they are mobile, equipped with a backpack of screening materials, visual health information and a range of eyeglass products.
A key strength of the program has been working with the right partners, including eye care hospitals, skills-building agencies, local NGOs and other social impact organizations. This enables our teams to tailor the program to local needs. Its real impact: to educate communities about visual health, bring vision correction to people`s doorstep and enable them to purchase a pair of glasses.
“People are very happy when they get their glasses because most of them didn’t even know where to buy them. But this time they could see them, we are bringing them to their doors and taking care of them.”
– Domiana Mwikali, Health Worker and Vision Ambassador, Nairobi, Kenya
“Now there are eyeglasses in my clinic. This will make it easier for rural people to buy them. Everyone is happy for several reasons. Firstly, they can do better hand-work. Secondly, better vision improves their overall lives.”
– Yang Qi Zheng, Village Doctor and Vision Ambassador, China.
“What I really like about being a Vision Ambassador is to provide people with the correct readers for their eyesight and to help those people who are unable to read without vision correction.”
– Evelyn Sombua, Health Worker and Vision Ambassador
“The program matches my ideology. I always liked to do social work and to promote something that is important to the population.”
– Rosana, Vision Ambassador, Rio de Janeiro
“[Being a Vision Ambassador…] is not just about helping people solve their vision problems, it is about helping them out of poverty. With 2.5 NVG people don’t suffer anymore.”
– Elise Mandje, Vision Ambassador, Ivory Coast
“It changed a lot of things in my life: I can spare a little bit of money, which I put in a savings system. It is also better for my family.”
– Yao Ahou Honorine, Ivory Coast
“I’m going out of my house more, I can go to other villages. Before I was staying at home a lot as my husband was not very fond of the idea of me going out, but he went to discuss with the village chief and the village chief said it was OK for me to go outside for this project.”
– Diabakaté Sita, Vision Ambassador, Ivory Coast
“I’m working two times more. It’s good as I’m more in contact with communities and I earn more money.”
– Ouattara Tingnin Ismaël, Ivory Coast
“It changed a lot of things in my life. I have made a lot of relations; now I can enter into the city hall or in the prefecture easily.”
– Yao Kouassi Lazare, Ivory Coast
“I sold glasses to my friend and they changed his life, so I’m happy. He can see his phone, see letters…It also protects his eyes,”
– Ouattara Ambédia, Vision Ambassador. Ivory Coast
“I feel blessed to be a Vision Ambassador as it is very difficult for the elderly to leave the village in order to find proper eye care. As part of my work, I am able to bring glasses to their doorstep.”
– Zhang Chunyan, Vision Ambassador, China
“My pharmacy has been there for five to six year. (…) There are many old men and women who can’t see well. Before I joined this project, I was not aware of how numerous they actually are.”
– Dai Bing, Pharmacist and Vision Ambassador, China
Since 2013, Essilor has been exploring different inclusive business models to solve the issue of access to vision care by creating the infrastructure to serve ‘base of the pyramid’ consumers.