NEW VISION ENTREPRENEURSHIP INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO VISION CARE FOR 2 CRORE PEOPLE IN BANGLADESH
Dhaka May 16, 2022
A joint initiative by MetLife Foundation and EssilorLuxottica’s Social Impact Fund will help create over 800 vision entrepreneurs by 2023 to provide quality vision care services including vision testing and making eyeglasses for 2 crore people in rural Bangladesh.
With a pooled fund of USD 1 million, which includes equal contributions from MetLife Foundation and EssilorLuxottica’s Social Impact Fund, the program is implemented by TMSS (Thengamara Mohila Sabuj Sangha), one of the largest development organizations in Bangladesh. TMSS conducts the recruitment and training of vision care providers known as vision entrepreneurs and provides them with other technical and non-technical assistance as needed to both establish as well as manage their business. The funding will enable TMSS to set up four new training centers across Jashore, Cumilla, Khulna and Chattogram and train over 800 new vision entrepreneurs, thereby creating sustainable access to vision care for nearly 2 crore Bangladeshis.
Bangladesh ranks among the top five countries in the world with the largest number of people suffering from uncorrected poor vision. The Covid-19 pandemic has added to financial difficulties for many people, especially those living in rural areas. The vision care skills training program aims to mitigate both challenges by mobilizing unemployed and under-employed youth in rural areas to become vision entrepreneurs. This enables them to provide assistance for many eye care needs, including vision testing and eyeglass making.
Since the partners launched the program in 2021, over 125 vision entrepreneurs have undergone training and are now serving their neighboring communities.
“MetLife Bangladesh is deeply committed to serving our communities. With MetLife Foundation’s support, we are honored to be part of this unique program that will help address a critical health need across the country,” commented Ala Ahmad, Chief Executive Officer of MetLife Bangladesh.
“The vision care skills training program in Bangladesh has brought tremendous value to underserved communities. In addition to supporting vision entrepreneurs to provide much needed access to vision care for low-income communities in rural Bangladesh, this program also helps them build sustainable livelihoods for themselves. We are now excited to partner with MetLife Foundation and TMSS to continue expanding this program in Bangladesh,” said Anurag Hans, Head of Mission, EssilorLuxottica and Chairman of the Social Impact Fund.
“TMSS is actively working on comprehensive community development programs, and we are glad to be a partner in this initiative to enrich people’s lives and livelihood,” commented Professor Dr. Hosne-Ara Begum, Founder Executive Director, TMSS, Bangladesh.