Marketplace Feature: Azie Tesfai, Founder of Fortuned Culture

Fortuned Culture is a TOMS Marketplace jewelry brand that supports different charities from around the world. We sat down with founder Azie Tesfai to learn about her artistic inspiration and how she decides the unique give behind each piece. Where did the idea for Fortuned Culture stem from? I come from a 3rd world country. I am Eritrea, my mom’s family who I am very close with is from Ethiopia and I spent a lot of time in East Africa as a child growing up and so I was very aware of poverty. So then living in Los Angeles I…

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Economic Opportunity: A Bangladeshi Barber Returns to Work

For 42-year-old Sujon Mia in Bangladesh, a TOMS-supported cataract surgery from Sight Giving Partner Marium Eye Hospital meant he could return to his work as a barber to support his family of four. Below, Sujon shares his story: About one year ago, I found that I was having problem in both my eyes. I was feeling uncomfortable to see clearly from a long distance. So, I took an immediate treatment from [a local hospital]. But it was not useful so, recently I started losing sight of both my eyes. Therefore, I came for a checkup to an eye camp of…

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Restoring Sight to a Female Community Health Worker

In the Kapilvastu District of Nepal, Basmati Mishra works as a community health volunteer. In her job, she visits villages in the district daily, engaging her community through government health programs like immunizations, vitamin distributions, maternal health and other related programs. In addition to providing basic health services, Basmati had also been trained in basic eye health, becoming familiar with the symptoms of vision loss and cataract. This proved to be incredibly helpful when Basmati began to notice her visual acuity was slowly diminishing, and she could no longer do her job as well. Basmati learned of an eye camp…

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Profiles in One for One Safe Water

Name: Cristina Age: 15 years old Location: Santa Cruz del Quiche, Guatemala Type of water project: Gravity-fed water system with pump For 15-year-old Cristina, water has always been a precious commodity in her home. Since she was a little girl, her parents would purchase water for household use, and ration it out because it was a major expense for her family. At 5 Quetzales (the Guatemalan currency) per jug, her parents would often have to buy four or five jugs per day just to support their family of 11. “We use the water to cook, wash clothing and for personal…

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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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