I have been wearing eyeglasses since I was three years old, and I know if I never had glasses, I wouldn't have been able to experience nearly as many things as I have. As I worked on my math project, I focused much of my “money” on eye care. After the project had been turned in, ideas whirled in my mind. I began to think: wouldn't it be wonderful if I could really do this, and help give vision to those without access to eye care?
I began to collect used prescription eyeglasses at my school and in my community, and I have also received generous donations from the Lions Club. Seven years later, I've been able to send glasses around the globe and see the impact they can make.
As I've developed Gracie's Glasses, the need for clear vision has become even more apparent. Without the ability to see, adults and children alike face obstacles that can seem foreign to me. From seemingly simple things like reading the local newspaper to seeing the board in class, clear sight can have a ripple effect on education, employment, community involvment and quality of life. I hope to reach people worldwide to give them clear vision, and therefore opportunities, as well as the basic tools they need to break the cycle of poverty.
How It All Began...
My name is Grace O'Halloran and I am eighteen years old. In 2010, I founded Gracie’s Glasses, a charity whose mission is to provide used prescription eyeglasses to people who need them in developing countries. Gracie’s Glasses has collected thousands of eyeglasses and distributed them to those in need in Ghana, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, India, Nepal, Uganda, and Kenya.
I was inspired to start Gracie’s Glasses when my fifth-grade math teacher introduced an interesting project: "Imagine you have been awarded $1,000,000 to bring a village out of extreme poverty. How would you spend the money?” She had recently lived in Sauri, Kenya, a Millennium Promise Village. My class learned about the daily struggles and necessities left unmet for the villagers. We learned about the lack of basic medical care and the scarcity of hygienic bandages, let alone eyeglasses.