In Ethiopia, a Mother and her Family Celebrate Sight

Imagine opening your eyes finding everything blurry. For Ansha Ali — a 65-year-old mother of five and grandmother to 17 in Ethiopia — and others that suffer from visual impairment, the loss of vision can be devastating, preventing them from taking part in daily activities like work, school or tending to a home. Ansha began to lose her vision over two years ago, before becoming totally blind in both eyes due to cataract. “When I lost my sight [in] both of my eyes, I was very depressed…because I thought the life of a blind and old woman is worthless,” Ansha explained….

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Education and the Importance of Sight

Dr. Corey Hodes is a Los Angeles-based optometrist working with TOMS Sight Giving Partner Helen Keller International’s ChildSight program. We’re excited to have Dr. Hodes share his story with you as a ChildSight® optometrist and why vision is so important for a child’s future in education. Vision is the most important aspect in learning and education. But each year in the United States, two million children suffer from uncorrected refractive errors. Without glasses, these children struggle in school because they are unable to clearly focus on the white-board, reading material, classroom lectures or homework assignments. A simple pair of prescription…

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Guest Post- Christy from Children International

If you can’t tell, we’re huge fans of our friends over at Children International. A TOMS Giving Partner since 2012, Children International works with TOMS in nine countries around the globe. Children International works in 20 countries around the globe helping children escape the traps of poverty. Children International helps children become healthy, educated and self-reliant. The organization provides its most comprehensive programs through community centers – safe spaces with constructive activities and caring adults. Christy (pictured below, on the left) serves as a liaison between Children International and TOMS.  Every time I go to the field, I come away…

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Meet Children International’s Dr. Contreras

While in Guatemala visiting with TOMS Giving Partner Children International, we had the opportunity to sit down with one of the local doctors serving CI’s community center. As part of CI’s holistic programming for children and their communities, the organization has an established medical facility that provides medical and dental check-ups to children in need. Read more from Dr. Contreras…  What was your life like growing up? Did you grow up in the local community? My childhood was in a home with both parents and a younger brother. I studied in a private school in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. I grew up…

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A Summer at TOMS: Last Days

On paper, ten weeks seems like a pretty substantial piece of time. Yet from the moment we entered TOMS on June 17th, we were frequently reminded how fast the summer would fly by. Reflecting on our last week as a Tribe, it’s become clear how true this prediction was. While time seemed quick, we forged some lifetime friendships and left with an invaluable experience. The culture at TOMS has an effect on you, and we were fortunate to have every second of those ten weeks to soak it in. At the beginning of our internship, we were each given two…

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The Games We Brought Back from Guatemala

Giving is hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun. On our recent trip to Guatemala, the children at the community center — run by TOMS Giving Partner Children International — were eager to show us some of their favorite games. Despite the language barrier, the games served as a great icebreaker (along with big smiles and laughs!) and made our day with the children especially fun. Our favorite game was called, quite simply, “Parachutes!” Yulissa, a Children International Program Assistant in Guatemala, explained that the goal of the game is to encourage teamwork and coordination to not let…

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Profiles in One for One: Dr. Mariano Yee, founder of Visualiza Eye Care Center

After wrapping up his studies in ophthalmology in 2002, Dr. Mariano Yee founded the Visualiza Eye Care System with the help of his brother, Nicolás, and his wife, Kimberly, to provide high-quality eye care in Guatemala City. Moved by Guatemalan’s in need of eye care, but unable to access or afford it, Dr. Mariano and his staff expanded Visualiza in 2005 to offer public eye care services. Following Aravind’s model — the world’s largest eye care system, Visualiza’s paying patients subsidize those that cannot afford care. In 2012, Visualiza became a TOMS Sight Giving Partner. Read on as Dr. Mariano tells…

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Meet Chibia! Our #TOMS Give Back to School Pinterest Contest Winner!

How would you describe your personal style? I’m all about two things: comfort, but classy. You want to be comfortable and still look nice at the same time, right? If I’m wearing a blazer, I will most likely pair with a loose t-shirt. If I am wearing jeans, I roll them up. I really enjoy wearing earth and dark tones. Pops of color are fun too, but you’ll most likely catch me in tan or navy blue. Can you tell us a little bit about the winning looks on your Pinterest board? When I made this board, I focused on…

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Sustainable sanitation initiatives in Guatemala

In Guatemala, recent reports share that 94% of Guatemalans have access to clean water sources and 80% have access to sanitation facilities. While these statistics might seem impressive at first glance, the reality is that many of these water systems have partially or completely failed. TOMS Giving Partner Water For People and TOMS Roasting Co. purchases are helping to change this. In Guatemala, TOMS works with Water For People to support projects that improve sanitation facilities and hygiene practices. Recently, in a school district in the department of El Quiche, Yohana García Urizar, president of the School Parent Teacher Committee…

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