Poor physical health and poverty can go hand-in-hand. When those without money suffer from a disability, they either cannot afford to get the medical attention to get better or go deeper into poverty trying to become healthy. In Mexico, two million people suffer from cataracts and even more from other eye-related health issues, making it the second leading cause of disability in the country. Most of them are poor or working class people.
In order to combat this issue, entrepreneur Javier Okhuysen founded SalaUno, what he calls, “a social enterprise dedicated to eliminating blindness in Mexico.” Former private bankers and private equity traders, Okhuysen and his partner decided that they wanted to create a business that could be profitable and provide a community service at the same time. Inspired by a similar operation in India, he decided they would change lives by giving back the most important sense for being able to work: sight.
SalaUno operates by providing premium products to those who have the ability to pay for them and using those profits to subsidize procedures for those who can’t pay. All the procedures are discounted from the normal market rate and the most accessible surgery costs 60 percent less than the average price. Those who can’t pay are also supported by NGOs that work with SalaUno to restore sight for the country’s poorest populations.
So far, SalaUno has helped 10,000 patients, including an 18-year-old named Armando. He was a soccer player whose eyesight deteriorated to the point that he could no longer play. He dreamed of getting back on to the field and with the help of SalaUno, may be able to do just that. The company hopes to help 75,000 people by 2020.
Travel with us to Mexico to meet Game Changer Javier Okhuysen who is helping Mexico look towards a clearer, brighter future.
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