OUR MISSION

ODG USA became a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity in March 2019.
The ODG complete solution includes local production of glasses, frames, training of local opticians, free vision testing, as well as immediate assembly, fitting, and maintenance of long-lasting glasses. Our objective is to enable people living in poverty access to inexpensive and visually appealing glasses while simultaneously creating employment.
It is our vision to establish financially independent basic eye care programs in the world’s poorest countries.
We are committed to honesty, responsibility, and transparency with our donations. We will keep you informed about our ongoing projects and how your donation is being put to work. We greatly appreciate every dollar we receive, as donations are the building blocks of our work.

MEET OUR STAFF

Our team consists of professionals from diverse sectors, backgrounds, and nationalities. These individuals are deeply committed and passionate about pursuing one vision – establishing financially independent basic eyecare infrastructures for those in need.

JENNIFER HYDE

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BLAIR WONG

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KATHY SMITH

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KARSTEN DANIEL

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LAURA FULLER

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ANNA-LENA BAUMANN

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JACK PEACOCK

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MICHAEL SCHUBERT

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JENNIFER HYDE

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BLAIR WONG

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KATHY SMITH

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KARSTEN DANIEL

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LAURA FULLER

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JACK PEACOCK

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ANNA-LENA BAUMANN

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MICHAEL SCHUBERT

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Marc Zedler

Marc Zedler |© Isabella Bilger

Marc Zedler

Projekt Manager Malawi

Stephane Cisse

Stéphane Cissé |© Isabella Bilger

Stéphane Cissé

Project Manager Burkina Faso

Alejandra Portillo

Alejandra Portillo |© Isabella Bilger

Alejandra Portillo

Project Manager Peru

Ralf Toenjes ©

Ralf Toenjes

Project Manager Brazil

My main goal is to use my knowledge to give back to society the support I have had over the years. In 2013 there was an opportunity that would change not only my life but that of thousands of people. After being recognized as a student leader by Unilever in 2013, I went to Mexico to participate in the Enactus World Cup, a competition that recognizes the best university projects with social impact.

There I met a group of German students who said that 150 million people around the world need glasses without the means to buy them. The students introduced the concept of OneDollarGlasses—the program they wanted to use to change that. That seemed like an interesting challenge to me ...

Soon after, I founded the VerBem company to offer an alternative with positive social effects on the Brazilian eyewear market that is aimed, not at profits, but at the visual health of the population. We have turned the simple task of buying glasses into an act of kindness for others. We are a young brand that tries to make a difference in a saturated market.

 

Max Steiner © Isabella Bilger

Max Steiner

Coordinator South and Central America, Project Manager Bolivia

After committed entrepreneurial years in Switzerland and Germany, in 2000 I founded a social youth foundation in Bolivia, the country of origin of my wife Martha, today my second home. Hostelling International Bolivia (HI-Bolivia) runs the national youth hostel, offers Spanish courses and organizes adventure trips in the Andes. All of this for almost 1,000 volunteers who have been involved in the foundation's many social projects over the past 15 years and who continue to contribute. Initially, it was primarily childcare centers in the country, but HIB soon expanded its help in the health sector, such as dental care, fluorination and mobile consultations in remote mountain areas up to 4000m high on the Sunny Island outside on Lake Titicaca.

While on an exchange program with the Institute for Geography at the University of Erlangen, I came across Martin Aufmuth’s OneDollarGlasses program at the end of 2012. Right then, I wanted to close this exact gap in Bolivia, too, and give the well over 150,000 locals with insufficient eyesight the option of affordable glasses and new life chances. Fascinated by the manufacturing process, I asked the OneDollarGlasses team to train local producers, who produced around 15,000 frames this year and can thus generate an income that was simply not there before.

How satisfying it is for me today to remember that the goal of the LENTES AL INSTANTE (the name of OneDollarGlasses in South America) campaign in 2017 is to do about 20,000 eye tests in places where the people have never seen an ophthalmologist.

I was very honored to be appointed OneDollarGlasses coordinator from South and Central America. In my role, on the one hand I work to strengthen the launched partner structures in Mexico and Brazil, and on the other hand to extend this valuable social project to other Andean countries such as Peru, Colombia and later Ecuador. In 2020, we want to work together on this continent to bring around 50,000 OneDollarGlasses to happy, needy people who will finally see better.

 

 

Prashant Pachisia |© Antje Christ

Prashant Pachisia

Project Manager India

Jo Neunert |© Jo Neunert

Jo Neunert

Country Coordinator Ethiopia

After years of experience in the town twinning of Vaterstetten with Alem Katema in Ethiopia, I was already fascinated by the idea of OneDollarGlasses in 2013. This is how the pilot test started in our partner clinic in Alem Katema, where glasses are manufactured and sold on a very small scale today. I continue to pursue attempts to broaden OneDollarGlasses in Ethiopia. The political framework gives hope, but it requires a lot of patience.

Karsten Daniel |© SNaumann Fotografie

Karsten Daniel

Member of the extended board

I am a member of the extended board and responsible for the areas of human resources, law and IT. I am also the contact person for the sister organizations ODG Switzerland and ODG USA.

What impresses me about the organization and my work is that we can help many people sustainably with our work. We not only offer basic optical care and high-quality glasses in many countries around the world, we also build permanent structures on site. We train people in our one-year training as GoodVision Technicians who can perform eye tests, recognize eye diseases and manufacture, adapt (and later repair if necessary) glasses.

This enables us to create jobs directly on site in production, sales and administrative offices. We offer a product and a service that people live on and that people can afford. In this way, we strengthen the community in the countries and regions in which we operate over the long term.

 

Blair Wong

Blair Wong is a Master Optician in Ophthalmic Optics and teaches at the New England College of Optometry (NECO), and is the department Chair and founder of the Eye Health Technology and Opticianry department at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT). He is a past president and current executive director of the Opticians Association of Massachusetts (OAM), director to the American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO/NCLE).

At the age of 26, Blair was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable disease that leads to blindness. Since the disease is progressive, he began to redirect his focus toward a career as an educator in ophthalmic optics and eye health technology. Blair, through his membership with the Bay State Council for the Blind (BSCB), and as a client of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB), and the Carroll Center for the Blind, serves as an advocate for the visually impaired community.

Through the collaborative efforts and dedication of faculty and students at NECO and BFIT, eye exams and customized prescription glasses have been provided to vision needy school children and elderly citizens in Boston and surrounding areas. This interdisciplinary experience has empowered these children to regain their academic potential, social confidence and self esteem, and level of productivity through a simple pair of glasses.

 

Jennifer Hyde

Jennifer Hyde is the Executive Director of OneDollarGlasses USA. Jen became aware of the immensity of the unrefracted error problem in the developing world after a trip to the eyeglass store with her kids. Many questions later and hours of research at her kitchen table led her to OneDollarGlasses.

In the 1980’s, Jen worked in the Congo as a Peace Corps volunteer and became aware of the how the lack of access to basic health benefits (like eyeglasses) can significantly hold individuals back in their potential. Jen has worked in the environmental field and moved on to the field of international public health and vision correction. She has a Bachelor of Science from Bates College, a Masters of City Planning from MIT and an Opticianry degree from Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. Jen is a Licensed Optician and serves on the Board of Directors of Vision of Hope, VOSH-ONE, and is a Committee Chair for VOSH International. Currently, she lives in Newton Massachusetts with her husband, David (ODG USA IT intern), children, Sam and Lucy, and a basement full of Lions Club recycled eyeglasses in her basement. "It’s a dream come true to be helping launch ODG USA!”

Kathy Smith

Jennifer Hyde is the Executive Director of OneDollarGlasses USA. Jen became aware of the immensity of the unrefracted error problem in the developing world after a trip to the eyeglass store with her kids. Many questions later and hours of research at her kitchen table led her to OneDollarGlasses.

In the 1980’s, Jen worked in the Congo as a Peace Corps volunteer and became aware of the how the lack of access to basic health benefits (like eyeglasses) can significantly hold individuals back in their potential. Jen has worked in the environmental field and moved on to the field of international public health and vision correction. She has a Bachelor of Science from Bates College, a Masters of City Planning from MIT and an Opticianry degree from Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. Jen is a Licensed Optician and serves on the Board of Directors of Vision of Hope, VOSH-ONE, and is a Committee Chair for VOSH International. Currently, she lives in Newton Massachusetts with her husband, David (ODG USA IT intern), children, Sam and Lucy, and a basement full of Lions Club recycled eyeglasses in her basement. "It’s a dream come true to be helping launch ODG USA!”