HISTORY

Reading Glass Project supporters have given out thousands of glasses in 45 different countries, all by people like you.

And So...

In May 2008, Jackie Hunsicker went to Hanoi for her 60th birthday. She met a doctor named Mark Rapoport who gave her thirteen postcards and fifty-three pairs of reading glasses. Mark runs a spectacular shop in Hanoi called 54 Traditions. It sells art, artifacts, and antiques made by the Vietnamese indigenous tribes He told her to hire a jeep and head north to Sa’Pa, five kilometers east of the Chinese border on the foothills of the Tonkinese Alps. The challenge: find women artisans of a certain age, who supported their families through weaving and embroidery and who could no longer see up-close well enough to work.

It happened as Jackie was looking for a pivotal change in her own life. Looking for what she wanted to do on the short side of 60. Following a range of careers and a bout with cancer, she felt stalled. Uncertain. Directionless. What could the world have for her next?

Cat Cat

A few days later, Jackie was standing in the remote village of Cat Cat, a cluster of just twelve bamboo huts. An older woman sat on a stool weaving hemp, her hands stained deep indigo- the color of the plant used to dye the cloth. Jackie went up and introduced herself, and tried to explain the purpose of her visit, using hand gestures, pointing to her eyes and pretending to sew with an imaginary needle. She seemed to understand. Then she started trying on the glasses. Each time she tried a new pair, she’d grab her apron to check her weave. When she finally found the right ones, her face lit up. Glasses on, she kept checking the weave, and rechecking it. Was it too good to be true? She took the glasses off and put them on again. She could see the weave clearly for the first time in years. Then magic happened. For the first time since Jackie arrived, the grateful woman smiled.

And she told her neighbor, and her neighbor told her cousin and Jackie gave out fourteen more pairs of glasses that day. Over the next week, Jackie gave out all of the glasses.

It was astounding how something so small, a pair of reading glasses, could have such a profound impact on these people’s lives.

Since then, Reading Glass Project supporters have given out thousands of glasses in 45 different countries, all by people like you. It makes you ache it's so simple.

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