Werner Fourie & Bril
Based in Paarl and Stellenbosch, Bril is an eyewear destination which strives to make people see, look and feel better. Founded in 2009, Bril has since established a charity organisation known as Project Cat-Eye. This organisation is dedicated to helping underprivileged people in need of eye-care and glasses.
What are some of the challenges Project Cat-Eye faces?
Werner says, “the need for eye-care in rural and poor areas is massive. Like most NGO’s, finding the necessary funds to go out and do the work is always a challenge. Luckily, we have amazing partners who have donated frames, lenses and even sunglasses to us so that we can get them to people in need.”
While Bril is fortunate to have volunteer groups who are always willing to go out on outreaches, “another challenge is the scale of work. For one small NGO to tackle that alone is nearly impossible.”
How do you overcome these challenges?
“We have recently opened a small charity coffee bar inside the Bril optometry practice in Stellenbosch, with a business model geared towards donating 100% of the profits to Project Cat-Eye. This will, hopefully, enable us to have some more funds to go out and reach more people with the work we do.”
How is Project Cat-Eye making a difference?
“More than 30 million people in South Africa earn less than R1000 per month, and with prescription glasses being so expensive, most people cannot afford basic eye-care. Not only that, but in areas of poverty, you will not find any optometrists, thus making accessibility difficult. The Project Cat-Eye goes out to these areas to assist with eye examinations and the distribution of prescription glasses, reading glasses or sunglasses for UV protection.” He continues, “we are most excited about a social franchise that we are in the process of establishing, which will hopefully change the lives of millions.”
Words of encouragement for communities or people in need of hope?
“It is always difficult to give any advice or encouragement to people if you don’t walk in their shoes and understand their circumstances. Great organisations around the country are trying very hard to make a sustainable difference in communities, and progress is visible.” He continues “I can maybe encourage organisations to try to make an impact. Many people in South Africa need change. They need hope and they need kindness. It is our responsibility to help where we can while being sensitive to the real needs that these communities deserve, and not place our agendas at the forefront of the work being done.”