As we witness the horrors of war unfold in Ukraine as a global community, many of us are plagued with feelings of helplessness. Families face unspeakable loss, trauma beyond our comprehension, and displacement that will leave more than 6 million refugees destabilized for months – or years – to come. But as a world community, we can each and together do our part to put empathy into action, and to become advocates for refugees around the world in our own unique ways. Let’s do what we can as a unified global community to make their coming days just a little bit easier.
Here at RestoringVision, it is our mission to solve the global vision crisis by ensuring people in impoverished communities have equitable access to vision services and glasses, which improve lives, health, productivity, earning potential, and more. A pair of glasses has the power to change a life – and that is why we are working with funders like National Vision, Inc. and Warby Parker, and partners like Americares and Dr. Shawn Galbraith, an optometrist based in Wyoming who recently traveled to Ukraine, to provide people in crisis with the vision programs and glasses they need to navigate the war and challenges ahead with one less significant obstacle in their way.
Imagine fighting for your life, defending your family, or suddenly being displaced from your country without the ability to see clearly. By providing clear vision for those suffering in and fleeing from Ukraine, I am proud to state that RestoringVision and our partners are working together to support refugees, bringing a small piece of hope into focus for the lives we touch. We know that providing a pair of glasses to someone in need will carve out a path to increased economic opportunities in the future, increased productivity, improved health, and enhanced safety. This is how we can make a lasting impact on the lives of refugees. Vision is at the intersection of global health and economic development. RestoringVision’s support of Ukrainian refugees is just one example of why vision health is a priority for the World Health Organization and is included in the UN Resolution: Vision for Everyone.
WHO’s World Report on Vision states, “at least 2.2 billion people around the world have a vision impairment, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed.” The UN Resolution: Vision for Everyone states, “improved vision and optimized functional ability for people with blindness or vision impairment leads to improvement in employment prospects, enhanced workplace productivity, increased household income and spending and enhanced economic productivity,” which are instrumental in achieving Sustainable Development Goals that include ending poverty in all its forms, ending hunger, and promoting sustainable economic growth.
With the countless, complex challenges our world faces in a time of war, RestoringVision knows firsthand the global vision crisis is one with a solution and infinite ripple effects: creating access to vision programs and glasses delivery for all. The impacts of this solution extend beyond health and hold the power to lessen the global economic burdens created by poor vision. Refugees facing an overwhelming number of challenges will thankfully have one taken away by a simple pair of glasses. With the dedication and determination of our funders, the passion of our team and partners, and the audacity to make a difference, RestoringVision continues its fierce commitment to bringing hope into focus one person at a time.
Will your organization join us in supporting 200,000 Ukrainian refugees with the glasses they need? Email Program@restoringvision.org to get started today.
Pelin Munis, Ph.D.