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Children in Africa are not provided with Spectacles, contact lenses, even a simple eye test that…

Students at Sisonke, love their new bamboo eyewear


Did you know that, clear crisp vision makes you feel confident and builds your self-esteem?

About 50% of people need vision correction of some sort, no matter what country they live in. In Africa, of course, many people do not wear spectacles or contact lenses. Most of the time, because they don’t have the resources, they do not even get the opportunity to have an eye test. Children often end up squinting to see the backboard but feeling tired with head-aches at the end of the school day and thinking this to be normal and not even realizing that they may need glasses.

Bambooka providing eye tests and bamboo eyewear to Sisonke school

Student and teacher eye tests

The idea came to help the studens and teachers at the Sisonke School with their vision. Having successfully sold sunglasses now for a few years, we noticed we are often asked to fit prescription lenses in our bamboo frames, so people can look great even with clear lens glasses on. This triggered the idea to help the children and staff at the Sisonke school see better. The joy of sight!

giving eye exams for students to get bamboo eyewear

Eye tests held on the school premises

Teachers were also tested for bamboo frames

Eye exams for teachers

With the help of our partner charity, PEPE, we teamed up with Brien Holden’s charity – Brien Holden Vision Institute – who brokered and funded the screening of 100 children and staff at Sisonke School and arranged for a qualified optometrist to conduct a eye tests for those children and staff who need vision correction. The prescriptions were sent through to Eye Wear Africa, the exclusive distributors of Bambooka eye wear, who arranged the ophthalmic lenses to be cut and fitted in their frames. These lovely children and adults were very happy to receive there new glasses and sunglasses


Thanks go to our partner Optometrist based in Canada, Quen Lee, who always does such an excellent and precise job with fitting the prescription lenses to the bamboo frames.

Now, finally, after weeks of wrangling with South African customs people, the spectacles have arrived at Sisonke, and the reactions are brilliant! Valerie Barlow, head of the Sisonke School says:

“We are so thankful for the glasses! I think we all look really smart in our fancy eye wear!! The children love seeing clearly. Here is what they said: ‘Wow, I didn’t know that the board can be seen so clearly’. and ‘it’s like looking in HD!!!’

Satisfied, ecstatic and much more empowered teachers and most importantly students are now teaching and learning at the Sisonke School, Port St. John, SA. The photos we received back last week speak for themselves!

For more information on the PEPE projects including The Sisonke School please visit

To see which of our eye wear can be fitted with prescription lenses see our designs on our webpage

Many thanks to all the efforts of everyone in this endeavour that we are proud to be part of, also thanmks to and the Canadian Optometrist, Quen Lee.

Till next time, keep each other empowered.

M, Bambooka

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