One of our board members recently noted the lack of eyeglasses worn by street and beach vendors and their children in Puerto Vallarta, and this raised an important question – “How do poor people get eye exams and glasses?” Since public schools do not offer vision screening and eyeglasses are very expensive, many people are forced to “get by” with poor vision or may not even be aware of not seeing clearly. Children struggle in school and may fail to learn to read because they cannot focus clearly on a printed page. Seeing well can help you to do well.
We heard about and contacted Scot Love from Glasses for Missions, a ministry of EE International (www.GlassesForMissions.org). Their focus is to meet this important physical need for improved vision as they share the Gospel and share God’s love with those receiving eyeglasses. They provide the necessary materials in a kit form and a two-day workshop to train others to make glasses for children and adults with vision issues. The trained team then has the knowledge and resources to do eye exams and make over 300 pairs of glasses at outreach locations. The frames can be made onsite in about 15 minutes, require no welding or soldering, and are very durable and attractive. The process involves bending stainless steel wire on a simple jig using common hand tools, all provided in the kit, along with an assortment of lenses of various powers that pop into the frames. The actual cost per pair of glasses is LESS THAN fifty cents! Yet, the difference this can make in the life of a child or adult is invaluable.
Our foundation obtained two kits and arranged for a training session for about half of our SOS students in the spring of 2017. We then sent these students out, with support and guidance from our wonderful Mexican representative, Bety, into secondarios (middle schools) and prepas (high schools) in poor neighborhoods to do exams and provide needed reader glasses to students. What a powerful message to have our dedicated, focused SOS students helping other students in need of support.
And, in January 2018 the SOS students gathered again to make glasses for beach vendors. In about an hour and a half 48 pairs of reader glasses were given out. The vendors were very grateful, the students were very enthusiastic about their contributions, and spectators were amazed by the whole process – a wonderful WIN-WIN day.