Partnering with Local Optometrists to Support Rural Women Producers.
I can see clearly now
A group of 23 women who are part of Ubunye’s Savings and Livelihoods programme have been struggling with their eyesight for a number of years. Obtaining an eye test and purchasing the correct glasses to assist them with their daily activities has been challenging for most of them due to high costs and lack of access to services.
To address this challenge Dr Davies Optometrists and The EyeStore Optometrists in Makhanda partnered with Ubunye to provide sponsored eye tests and prescription glasses for all 23 women.
Between December 2019 and March 2020 Ubunye has carefully monitored the work that the women have been producing to see if there has been any change in the quality of the products for their businesses and the UTHANDO brand. We are very pleased in the improvements that we have seen in their work and that we have had zero returns on the products that they have supplied to UTHANDO.
Ubunye uses PhotoVoice to enable communities to measure the impact of their initiatives and programmes: so we asked the Uthando women to take a photo to depict the difference having glasses in their lives meant to them and this is what they have shared:
‘Sew’ much easier
“Sewing using your hands or machines can be difficult when your eyesight is not good. I have struggled with putting thread on my sewing machine to sew and also being able to cut and sew material together. Dark colours like navy and black all looked the same to me.”
“With my new glasses I can easily see my sewing mistakes and correct them. I can tell the difference between black and navy fabric. My brand new glasses from The EyeStore help me to easily set up the sewing machine for sewing my products that I sell to my community and Ubunye’s UTHANDO brand.”
Colours look brighter and so does the future
“In this picture there is a bright blue thread and a multi-coloured fabric that shows some of the bright colours that I used to struggle to find identical or threads to match. Our mentor from Ubunye would bring back a lot of the products that I had sewed with a request to use a different thread that matches the colour on the fabric.”
“Now that I have my glasses I can see what she meant; I can see all the different colours on the material and the bright threads that can be used in this material.”
I can read again!
“I have worked with Ubunye in almost all their programmes but in the past year I have looked at other ways of increasing my family’s income. In 2019 I was trained in Micro MBA in the livelihoods programme to better run my small piggery farming and baking business. I am a firm believer in God and have not been able to read the bible on my own and I have had my grandchildren read the verses for me. I have also not been able to use my bible in church and follow when the pastor is preaching.”
“In this picture are my new glasses and the bible that I use on a daily basis. Now that I have my new glasses I can read the small words in the bible and I no longer have to wait for my grandchildren to read for me. I can also prepare for church and work on the scriptures that I will share with other members in the church.”
Clear vision supports independence
“I used to hire people to help me out in my own home because my eyesight is not very good. I cannot see if I have done my house work thoroughly. I produce beading work for Ubunye’s UTHANDO brand and it is even more difficult to work with beads in the evening.”
“My eyes have now been tested at The EyeStore and I now have new glasses and I can see better. This is my home that I can now paint on my own and I am saving the money that I used to pay people to do my house maintenance. I can now do my bead work and do not feel pressured to do it only during the day. I can also deliver my work in time.”