Seva Celebrates Half a Million Sight-Saving Services Donated by TOMS Eyewear

With its iconic “sell a pair, give a pair” philanthropy model, TOMS has been giving shoes to children in impoverished communities around the world for more than ten years. In 2011, founder Blake Mycoskie decided to expand. TOMS started an eyewear line and formed a partnership with Seva. Continuing the one-for-one model, the company announced in June that they have reached an incredible milestone: Working with Seva and other Sight Giving partners, TOMS has donated 500,000 sight saving services to people in need.

As Seva supporters are well aware, restoring or protecting the sight of a person in need has a truly transformative effect, representing economic opportunity, gender equality, access to education, and restored independence. Through their disruptive business model, TOMS’ “caring capitalism” changes lives, donating comprehensive eye exams and whatever follow-up care is needed, be that prescription glasses, sight-saving cataract surgery, or vision-related medical treatment.

This work transforms the lives of not only of the individuals receiving medical care, but also of the family members who were caring for them. In areas with few or no social services, the vision loss of one person can have financial implications for an entire family, and restoring sight can restore that family to vitality and productivity.

How did Mycoskie settle on the one-for-one ratio for his giving model? He says simply, “I’m bad at math.”

Over the years of their partnership with Seva, TOMS has funded vision services in Paraguay, Guatemala, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal. TOMS is mindful of the importance of providing services and products that are sustainable, responsible, and that build upon local partnerships. This approach is in line with Seva’s practice of building local capacity, so that even after our volunteers and staff are gone, local vision care continues to be provided to those in need.

The company name evolved from the concept of “sell a pair of shoes today; give a pair of shoes TOMorrow.” And how did Mycoskie settle on the one-for-one ratio for his giving model? He says simply, “I’m bad at math.”

Here at Seva, we congratulate TOMS on this important milestone of transforming the lives of half a million people with their sight-saving donations. We are pleased to have TOMS working with us and to be a part of their worldwide network of partners. Learn more about TOMS and read about the people they’ve helped at

Top and bottom: Betty Odur, a patient at Gulu Regional Hospital in Uganda which is supported through the TOMS partnership with Seva and the generosity of individual Seva donors and TOMS eyewear customers. Photos by Joseph Raffanti.

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