It started in April 2015 with Darni. As she began to learn more complicated skills in her sewing classes, she had difficulty seeing small details. I told her to go get her eyes checked. New eyeglass frames are very expensive, but it just so happened that Noto, Darni’s husband, had found a pair of glasses when he was out picking trash. So Darni’s prescription lenses were popped into her “new” frames. Then she was very happy because she could see better and her new prescription glasses don’t give her a headache.
Soon after Darni received her eyeglasses, RSIA Lestari Women and Children’s Hospital and XSProject partnered to offer the first eye exams to all Cirendeu community, administered by Dr. Titi’s nurses. The adults who could not see clearly received free glasses from Dr. Titi.
But after a week the women stopped wearing their free glasses and began complaining of headaches as soon as they wore them. But Darni was still very happy with her prescription glasses. It was then that I understood the problem.
When Darni got her prescription glasses, she told me that she had to take them off when she was not in sewing class because she was embarrassed about being teased. Other moms would say things like: “Oh, you look like a successful women.” (translation: you don’t deserve to be a successful women because of who you are). I told her – forget about what other people say and just say ‘it’s ok’ – I also told her that she was the first person to understand the benefits of wearing glasses and to tell the other moms how her life is much easier now. Then everybody will want to wear the right glasses.
Then, when Samantha came last November to teach the moms how to make jewelry, it was actually an “eye opener” for the six members of the class when they realized they also needed glasses to be able to see the small details needed to make jewelry.
Last week Darni took three moms, to the same eye doctor she went to. Sutiah always had the worst eyes. Her prescription lenses were -10.
The frames, given to XSProject by our friends in the US saved us a lot of money since we didn’t have to buy new frames. Darni said that she was bargaining so hard for the lenses that she only paid Rp. 800.000 (US$60.00) for the 3 pairs prescription glasses. I had given the bag with the frames from you all to Darni and the 3 moms so they could choose their own frames. You see in the pictures what Supena, Rokhanah and Sutiah chose.
When Supena returned to the making jewelry class last Monday wearing her new glasses, and said that she could see so much better, the other moms are now thinking they need glasses too!
Please thank Tom, Diane, Tracy and Karen 🙂 for donating the frames.
This article was originally posted on the XSProject USA blog.