3 years ago
Glasses with a vision
KATHMANDU, Feb 22: “Cataract has always been one of the major causes leading to blindness in Nepal. There is a significant population suffering from cataract and majority of them lose their eyesight for want of access to surgery. This situation is saddening, especially when we have state-of-the-art facilities and cheap surgeries within the country,” said Suraj Shrestha, one of the co-founders of Anthropose.
Anthropose was started in June 2014 and today it has emerged as Samaritan returning eyesight to many in the rural areas of Nepal. Shrestha has also introduced Anthropose as Nepal’s first eyewear brand.
‘Anthrospos’ in Greek means human. They have added ‘e’ to the word as a representation of their belief that humans should always go that extra mile to make a difference in the world rather than just living. Businesses everywhere are encouraged to contribute to a social cause. Rather than only focusing on making money, businesses now are integrating humanitarian cause and social message to their business model. Anthropose is doing its bit to change one issue at a time.
When Shrestha was doing his undergraduate in the US, many a times he struggled to introduce Nepal. People there had mostly heard about the natural beauty and landscapes of Nepal, but nothing beyond those couple of things. It came as a major shock to Shrestha as someone who had grown hearing glorious stories of Nepali heroes and wartime. It made him realize that Nepal’s image has been restricted to Mount Everest, Gautam Buddha or a county between India and China. Instances like these motivated him to work on something that will change people’s perception about Nepal in the global arena.
When he came back to Nepal, Shrestha started researching on areas where changes were necessary. Among many sectors, he found that there was a distinctively low investment in the eye health sector. But after further research, he found more about cataract, its cause, status and the problem areas. He was also inspired by social entrepreneurship model of TOMS (a US-based shoes company), he decided to address both the issues and started Anthropose as a bridge to bring the facility in Nepal.
For every 10 pair of glasses sold, Anthropose sponsors one cataract surgery in rural Nepal. It works in partnership with Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology and has already sponsored about 200 surgeries of cataract patients from Gorkha and Dhading in the last two years.
Anthrpose first started with two collections of sunglasses, Ethos and Voyager. They introduced two other collections ‘Coleman’ and ‘Hansard’ in 2015. Later in 2016, with feedback they received, it introduced three more collections ‘Lekh’, ‘Parijat’ and ‘Sama’ inspired by Nepali writers Lekhnath Poudel, Parijat and Bal Krishna Sama, who were rebels and contributors to Nepali literature. Recently, they launched another collection ‘Aristle’ and are currently working to introduce their summer collection.
The collections were designed by Shrestha. The frames are made from cellulose acetate, which is biodegradable in nature, and are manufactured in China. They now also deal in prescribed optical. They use CR-39 lenses from local dealers Crizal and Essilor and put the orders together at their workshop at Thapathali.
Anthropose has a team of seven in Kathmandu. It deals and gets orders online, mostly from social media platforms, but also from seven of their outlets across Kathmandu. “Anthropose’s approach has shifted from Facebook to Instagram with more interactive and visual contents, which has been fruitful. Also with personalities donning Anthropose, we have seen a surge in queries, leads and orders. And we do more business in sunglasses during the summer,” said Comilina Bajracharya, marketing strategist at Anthropose.
Continuing Anthropose’s journey to make an impact on human lives, they recently tied up with Changing Stories Nepal and will now work in partnership with the latter to provide children in the rural areas with remedial courses in Mathematics and Nepali subjects.