Peers & Fisher Optometrists in collaboration with Adreach, sponsors eye tests and spectacles for scholar transport drivers

Peers & Fisher Optometrists in collaboration with Adreach (a leading Out-Of-Home advertising and marketing solutions provider), 101 Optical, Supplier Development Initiative (SDI) and Momba Foundation are sponsoring spectacles and eye tests for scholar transport drivers from communities based in Gauteng.

For the past two years, through the Vision Drive campaign, Peers & Fisher have tested 820 scholar transport drivers and, those who needed spectacles, have received these free of charge. To date, 360 pairs of spectacles have been donated in the Vision Drive, improving 10 000 lives involved. The campaign primarily focuses on drivers who transport scholars from Gauteng township communities such as Soweto, Alexandra, Thembisa, Sebokeng, Soshanguve and other townships. Drivers are tested at state-of-the-art facilities, which are provided by 101 Optical in Sandton, every Thursday.

“Vision Drive is a way to make a difference to the people who drive our nation’s children to and from school every day,” says Ryan Hancock, Adreach Sales and Marketing Divisional Director.

The founders of the initiative, Michelle Fisher and Shana Cohen, are the owners of Peers and Fisher Optometrists, an optometry practice based in Dunkeld West, Johannesburg. They began the Vision Drive in collaboration with Adreach, Momba Foundation, Supplier Development Initiative (SDI) and 101 Optical back in 2021 fuelled by a deep desire to give back to their community.

“Our practice turned 30 in 2021 and we began this year reflecting on how lucky we have been,” says Michelle. “Seeing how deeply people and businesses have struggled during the pandemic highlighted to us just how important it is for businesses to give back if they are in a position to do so.”

Many of the drivers that Vision Drive supports do not have medical aid. Regular check-ups and glasses are often beyond their means. Michelle and Shana determined that by offering this service to taxi drivers, they would be serving both the drivers and the safety of the children who are transported each day.

“The most important thing in any initiative is the partners who you work with,” says Michelle. “Brad Fisher of the Supplier Development Initiative (SDI) helped us develop the idea and connected us with the Momba Foundation, an NGO that works closely with under-serviced communities. Adreach has been a helpful media partner and generously supplied us with street pole advertising to promote the initiative, and give it the reach and awareness it deserves.”

The Momba Foundation has been actively sanitising taxis during the COVID-19 pandemic and works closely with taxi owners. This connection has enabled the foundation to educate school taxi drivers about the service that Vision Drive offers and that there is no cost to them.

“The people who drive our children to school and back are probably the most worthy recipients of an initiative such as this, as it would make their passengers’ – school trips much safer,” says Momba Foundation CEO, Zuza Mbatha. “Being able to see well would also contribute enormously to their quality of life, as they can experience a day without eye strain or now be able to read a book to relax.”

Given Cele was one of the first group of 20 drivers to have their eyes tested and receive glasses at the launch of the project in the first week of August 2021. “I am delighted, because for the past couple of years I never had the opportunity to get spectacles. So after today, I am excited that I will now also be able to read,” says Cele.