TOMS’ customers have given us the amazing honor of putting new shoes on children’s feet with every pair they have purchased. While giving some of these shoes to children in need, Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, was struck by the poverty in many of the communities he was serving. He saw so many basic human needs that were still unmet.
Blake immediately recognized the incredible power of One for One™, and came to a startling conclusion: TOMS could be more than a shoe company - it should be a One for One™ company. With so many different needs around the world, he felt TOMS had an obligation to try to improve as many lives as possible.
The first step in this new chapter of TOMS is sight. We started here because sight is a fundamental need. The loss of sight has a dramatic impact on a person's life - and on his or her family and community. TOMS is now giving to address this need because:
- This is a Solvable Crisis
- Blindness and visual impairment is the seventh-largest health disability in the world. But in most cases it can be prevented or treated. In fact, available solutions, including medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses or a 15-minute cataract surgery, could impact 80% of people afflicted with vision impairment and blindness.
- We Can Help Break the Poverty Trap
- Of the nearly 284 million people in the world who are visually impaired, almost 90% live in developing countries. It's a vicious cycle -- poverty and disease can lead to vision loss. And blindness and poor vision keep people trapped in poverty.
- Sight Means Education and Opportunity
- More than 18 million children around the world suffer from blindness or impaired vision. Children who have trouble seeing are often unable to go to or succeed in school, and have fewer chances to achieve a productive and successful life.
- Women Have an Equal Right to Sight
- Two-thirds of people who are blind are women, in part because many families in developing countries are more likely to pay for eye care for male family members. By providing easy to access local eye care, we can help more women and girls around the world get sight saving and restoring services.
- There is an Immediate Impact
- Many of the solutions to blindness and visual impairment can be immediate. If it's a pair of eyeglasses or medical treatment that's needed, patients are treated on the spot. Those needing eye surgery are referred immediately so their vision can be restored within just a few days.
- We Can Create a Better Tomorrow
- Regaining sight and preventing loss of sight transforms lives. Children can go to school the next day, and many adults return to work within a week and are once again able to provide for their families. When more people are able to lead healthy, productive lives, entire communities have a chance at a better future.