Finding a job in the townships, where some say unemployment and underemployment can be as high as 60% of the workforce, is challenging. Losing a job, then, because you need eyeglasses to be successful at your work, can be catastrophic.
The first project Acacia Global has funded, through the generosity of individual donors in the United States, is to provide glasses to women who make their living doing intricate beadwork. These women, who sell their products through Monkeybiz (www.monkeybiz.co.za), are able to provide for their families by creating one of a kind works of art that are sold in Cape Town and around the world. They can only do this, however, if they see well enough to select the appropriate, tiny, multi-colored bead and stitch the beads into delightful products that consumers will want to buy. It’s an art form that is nearly impossible to do if one’s vision is failing.
Acacia Global is working with Jonga Trust (www.jonga.org) on this eyeglass project. Jonga tests the vision of the beaders and Acacia Global pays for the glasses for those in need of them. Of 45 beaders whose vision was tested, 29 required glasses.
This relatively small investment, of $2,000 USD, will mean these 29 women have received glasses and will be able to continue beading. Having a job will put food on their tables and educate their children. It’s the kind of transformative project that we will be doing more of at Acacia Global. In fact, more beaders will have their vision tested and be fitted with glasses before the end of the year.