Education in Sight

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A new social enterprise is setting up its manufacturing in Dongguan in a project to provide free vision care for needy elementary and middle-school students in low-income areas of rural Yunnan. The brand, named “Mantra”, aims to design and manufacture its own line of sunglasses and use part of evrery sale to fund their non-profit project for one student. Sam Waldo, co-founder of Mantra, said “My business partner and I first came to China as volunteer teachers in Yunnan. We were shocked to discover how many students were falling behind in school and even dropping out because they lacked access to vision care. Imagine being in class for 10 hours a day but not being able to see the blackboard or read your textbook,” he said. “We began our non-profit work in 2012, and we’ve donated over 11,000 pairs of eyeglasses to students over the past four years. We’re starting Mantra to make our efforts more sustainable and to get more people involved. With a social enterprise model, there is potential to provide eyeglasses for a million school kids.” For each pair of Mantra’s unique, high-quality sunglasses that is sold, the non-profit project is funded for one more student. “We’ve had a great response so far,” said Sam. “For us, the best part is delivery day, when we hand out glasses to the kids. Nothing beats that.”

Category The Scene