Sophie GÉNIN DUTHEIL Philanthropy projects Manager Fondation L’OCCITANE
L’OCCITANE has been caring for sight for more than 20 years, supporting projects and initiatives to combat avoidable blindness. In 2015, the brand and its Foundation set the goal of reaching 10 million eye care beneficiaries by 2020. We are proud to announce that we exceeded our goal, reaching more than 11 million beneficiaries by the end of 2020! Now, L’OCCITANE and its Foundation have set a new ambitious goal: to reach 15 million eye care beneficiaries worldwide by 2025.
L’OCCITANE has been caring for sight for more than 20 years
At L’OCCITANE, senses are an incredibly important cause, as we want to live in a world where everyone can see the wonders of nature. L’OCCITANE’s commitment to sight goes back to its earliest days. In 1997, it began using Braille labels on its products when possible and continues to do so today. Every year, since 2000, L’OCCITANE has sold a new solidarity product to raise funds when possible for partners and to help fight avoidable blindness around the world. And in 2006, the L’OCCITANE Foundation was born, with Caring for sight.
The “Caring for sight” program includes all of the NGOs and projects fighting against avoidable blindness, supported by the Foundation, the subsidiaries and the distributors of L’OCCITANE. These projects, with international or local partners, provide screening, eyeglasses, treatments, eye surgeries, also financing equipment and staff training all around the world.
UNICEF, a major international partner
In 2017, L’OCCITANE and its Foundation embarked on a major international partnership with UNICEF. This three-year partnership guaranteed a minimum of one million euros a year and has helped in the prevention of childhood blindness of more than 4 million children in Bolivia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. This has been done by developing vitamin A supplementation programmes: an essential vitamin for children’s immune systems. In 2020, L’OCCITANE and its Foundation renewed this partnership with UNICEF for another three years and extended it across the world to improve the prevention of childhood blindness of more than 3 million new children.
“I had little health knowledge before becoming a community health volunteer. The children in our village have no more problems with their eyes since they regularly receive vitamin A supplements. I really feel proud and accomplished to be a health volunteer in the community.” Daw N Gun Sam Taung, from Laiza (Myanmar)
The Foundation’s partners in Burkina Faso
For several years, the Foundation has also supported the work combating avoidable blindness undertaken by the NGOs Light for the World and Sightsavers in Burkina Faso. This includes training ophthalmologists and medical staff, improving access to high-quality eye care services in rural areas, and helping to eradicate onchocerciasis and trachoma in the Cascades region.
More recently, the Foundation is also focusing on children, signing two partnership agreements with the Association Sister Emmanuelle and the NGO Helen Keller International. The goal of these two-year partnerships is to prevent childhood blindness through raising awareness among parents and teachers and through eye screenings and treatments when needed.
“Thanks to these corrective lenses, next year in high school, I will have no problem learning my lessons.” – Bouda Deo Gracias, a beneficiary of the Helen Keller International’s project supported by the Foundation in Burkina Faso.
“I did not know I could catch onchocerciasis while we live so close to the river.” – Kone Sanata, a beneficiary of the Sightsavers’ project supported by the Foundation in Burkina Faso.
L’OCCITANE subsidiaries’ local partners
L’OCCITANE’s subsidiaries and distributors play a crucial role in our fight against avoidable blindness. Every year, they are involved in about thirty projects in partnership with charities in the countries where they are based. These projects combating avoidable blindness are jointly funded by the subsidiaries and the L’OCCITANE Foundation.
“I have learnt about eyes and the proper treatment for the eyes when my patients come to my clinic.” – Okole Seka, a beneficiary of the Kokoda Track Foundation’s project in Papua New Guinea supported by L’OCCITANE Australia and the Foundation.
“We are so lucky that her nursery school joined the eye screening programme. If it had not, her sight problem would have worsened.” – Sze Ki’s mother, a beneficiary of the Hong Kong Society for the Blind’s project supported by L’OCCITANE Hong Kong and the Foundation.
Finally, to involve consumers in its charitable activity, L’OCCITANE en Provence has brought out a charity product every year since 2000, with profits* going towards combating avoidable blindness. On average 600,000 euros per year were raised through sales in recent years.
*In-store retail price, excluding taxes and the costs of transportation and production