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Designing for economic inclusion

Source | | By|Deepa Prahalad

In the late 1990s, the Mexican Ministry of Public Education discovered that a significant number of children were having difficulty in school due in part to poor eyesight. So, together with business leaders, the ministry created a program to ensure that public school students could be screened and provided with free eyeglasses. In 2010, program leaders took the bold step of engaging celebrity designer Yves Béhar to design glasses that were both durable and attractive. Schoolchildren are now able to choose and customize from among three frame styles and 13 colors, and according to the program website, 80 percent of the students receiving glasses improve their grades. The program has been so successful that it’s been expanded to include Mexican workplaces, and it also has been copied around the world.

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