The Global re-Vision Network
OUR GOAL...OUR MISSION...OUR VISION
"I believe that beyond our goal of opening more clinics using GLOBAL re-VISION's almost magical technology, it is imperative that we also make the world aware that REFRACTIVE ERROR:*
  1. Afflicts OVER 14 TIMES MORE impoverished people than anyone realizes or acknowledges
  2. Afflicts 19 TIMES MORE people than ALL OTHER vision impairments COMBINED
  3. Comprises 95% of the World's TOTAL vision impairment problem
  4. Is virtually UNseen, UNrecognized and UNaddressed as the main root CAUSE of humankind's most serious educational, economic, and social problems.
Bob Martin and friend Gabby
BOB MARTIN (SEEN HERE WITH FRIEND GABY) HAS SPENT MANY MONTHS LIVING IN THE VILLAGE OF YAXUNAH, YUCATÁN, MEXICO. SINCE 1998, HE HAS ORGANIZED AND LED NUMEROUS STUDENT AND ADULT GROUPS FROM THE U.S. TO LIVE AND WORK ON COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS THERE AMONG THE POOR, INDIGENOUS MAYAN PEOPLE. THOSE EXPERIENCES CREATED AWARENESS AND BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE PEOPLES’ PROBLEMS AND NEEDS AND SPURRED CREATION THE MAYAN VISION PROJECTS. THE INFRASTRUCTURE THEY REQUIRED ULTIMATELY PROVIDED THE FOUNDATION FOR THE GLOBAL RE-VISION NETWORK.
...and that implementing GLOBAL re-VISION's systematic 'green' approach using recycled eyeglasses and easily-trained local workers provides a simple, accurate, universal solution to the biggest, most serious, but easiest-to-solve problem facing humankind today."

Robert Martin
GLOBAL re-VISION Network Founder, Rotarian, Lion

* REFRACTIVE ERROR IS A VISION IMPAIRMENT CORRECTIBLE WITH EYEGLASSES THAT AFFLICTS NEARLY 2/3RDS OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION - OVER 4 BILLION PEOPLE (NEARSIGHTED, FARSIGHTED, ASTIGMATISM, PRESBYOPIA). OVER 2 BILLION OF THEM HAVE NO ACCESS TO EYECARE AND/OR CANNOT AFFORD EYEGLASSES.

The GLOBAL re-VISION Network - ITS ORIGINS

The GLOBAL re-VISION Network came about because of the interest of two Gringos in the Mayan culture and their resulting great affection for Mexico.

Robert Martin and Charles Klein
ROBERT MARTIN & CHARLES KLEIN, TREE-LAND FOUNDATION CO-FOUNDERS
GLOBAL re-VISION is an outgrowth of the very successful Mayan Vision Projects begun in 2002, by one of the co-founders of the conservation and environmental education U.S. non-profit Tree-Land Foundation, Inc.

The 501(c)(3) Tree-Land Foundation, Inc. was founded by Charles Klein and me, Robert Martin, when 80 acres of land in Frederick County, Maryland - close to the world famous Appalachian Trail - was donated to us. We maintain it and provide it for use, at no cost, to youth groups, like Scouts, as a "hands-on" conservation, environmental education, reforestation and recreation-use area.

Charles Klein and Scouts
CHARLES KLEIN TEACHES SCOUTS HOW TO PLANT SAPLINGS ON TREE-LAND FOUNDATION'S MARYLAND PROPERTY
For many years, Charlie and I have been fascinated by Mayan culture and Archaeology, and we have traveled extensively throughout Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. The estimated aggregate amount of time we have spent living and traveling in Mexico since 1985, is over 5 years!

Because of our interest in the descendants of this ancient civilization, we initiated a collaboration in 1998, with the Boy Scouts of America and Scouts of Mexico, the Conservation Corps of Mexico, the Yucatán Cultural Foundation, and world-renowned conservationist Joann Andrews and Pronatura Yucatán (Mexico's "Nature Conservancy").

1988 One America Program
1988 - ONE AMERICA PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS IN THE MAYAN VILLAGE OF YAXUNAH, YUCATÁN, MEXICO
Child on shoulders
ONE OF "THEIR" KIDS ON ONE OF "OUR" KIDS
We began taking groups of young people, college students and adults to travel, perform community service and environmental projects,and live in Mayan villages.We called this culture-sharing service project the ONE AMERICA Program.

One America Students and Mayan friends
SOME ONE AMERICA STUDENTS AND THEIR MAYAN FRIENDS IN YAXUNAH
Over time, we made many friends among the indigenous Maya and became acutely aware of the myriad problems they face.Many of them live in grinding poverty and earn a minimum wage of about $5.00 US per day, yet they are clean, hardworking, proud and happy people. We also learned that VERY many of them have bad eyesight. It hampers their learning, their work, their quality of life... and it helps to keep them uneducated and poor!

During a trip to Mexico City in 2002, I made a life-changing discovery. I went there to observe a clinic that gave used eyeglasses to poor people. Someone in Maryland hadgiven Tree-Land Foundation several thousand pairs of used eyeglasses they had collected, and I was looking for somewhere we could re-donate them.

First New Eye-Glasses
THIS WAS THE FIRST PERSON I SAW GET "NEW" EYEGLASSES AT THE CLINIC IN MEXICO CITY. IT TOOK THIS LADY MANY MINUTES AFTER GETTING THEM TO STOP CRYING BEFORE SHE COULD EVEN SEE THE EYECHART. THIS HAPPENS THERE EVERY DAY. I, TOO, WAS MOVED.
I visited the Regala una Buena Visión (Gift of Good Vision) clinic in downtown Mexico City. It was begun in 2000, by the Rotary Clubs of Mexico City and Devlyn Optical Company, which owns over 600 stores and is the largest optical company in Mexico, Central and South America. It was in that clinic that Frank Devlyn, the head of Devlyn Optical, examined my eyes using an Autorefractor. Next he typed the prescription information it provided into a computer, retrieved a pair of used eyeglasses from one of the hundreds of boxes in the warehouse, and put them on me. Somehow... they MATCHED my prescription! I could see clearly. I WAS ASTOUNDED!!!

Mr. Devlyn explained that the "secret" to how he had just "filled" my prescription with USED eyeglasses was a special computer program that could catalog tens of thousands of used eyeglasses by prescription, store that information in its memory, and could then "recall" the location of every pair of eyeglasses whenever its specific prescription was required by a patient.

"Where else is this technology being used?", I asked him.

"Nowhere.", Frank replied.

Then-and-there, I decided it MUST be...and that instead of sending our eyeglasses to Mexico City, we would start a new clinic of our own for the Mayan people in Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán. That was the start of the Mayan Vision Projects.

Robert Martin and Charles Klein
THE SUCCESS STUDENTS AND TEACHERS WHO SORTED AND PACKED THE CLINIC'S INITIAL INVENTORY OF NEARLY 80,000 EYEGLASSES SINCE 2002.

(THIS PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN IN 2006, BY MICHAEL NEFF HANGS IN THE MÉRIDA CLINIC)
In 2002, we began a project called Old Glasses for New Eyes in cooperation with the Frederick County (Maryland) Board of Education to sort, count and box the used eyeglasses for shipping to Mexico. We spend several days each month with the 18 to 21 year old mentally and physically disabled students enrolled in the SUCCESS Program, a job and life skills training program.

Robert Martin and Charles Klein
SOME OF THE HUNDREDS OF BOXES OF EYEGLASSES WE SENT TO THE CLINIC.
We soon began receiving even more used eyeglasses donations from Maryland Lions Clubs. We soon began building a very large inventory of eyeglasses.

In October 2004, I spent a week in Ensenada, Mexico with Dennis Gunst, a brilliant and very vigorous 80 year old inventor. Since 1988, Dennis had worked with the talented Mexican computer programmer named Martin Figueroa. They were the creators of the computer program at the heart of Rotary-Devlyn clinic in Mexico City.

Dennis Gunst Martin Figueroa
DENNIS GUNST MARTIN FIGUEROA
Dennis and I worked together processing eyeglasses in his small Ensenada clinic. We also traveled several hours away to work for a weekend in a charity vision clinic in Tecate, Mexico with the Flying Samaritans from Southern California. I learned more about how the computer system operated. Most importantly, Dennis gave us permission to use his computer program.

During the next 3 years we:
  • Continued working with the SUCCESS students, amassing almost 80,000 eyeglasses and 36,000 eyeglasses cases (over 10,000 lbs.) which we sent to Yucatán as the "start-up" inventory for the clinic there.
  • Made numerous trips to Mérida to negotiate and establish a partner relationship with the people of DIF Yucatán and work out clinic establishment logistics. (DIF Yucatán is the acronym for Sistema para el Desarollo Integral de la Familia en Yucatán-the state government-run family health and social services agency).
  • Negotiated with DIF Yucatán for them to provide the clinic's "physical plant" facility and its renovations in Mérida, employees, utilities, Internet access, free transportation to-and-from the clinic for people from outlying pueblos, etc.
  • Agreed to provide and deliver the eyeglasses inventory, the electronic equipment, the special computer program, and worker training.
  • Gained the cooperation and collaboration of Rotary Clubs and Lions Clubs in Yucatán.
  • Purchased and delivered electronic diagnostic and computer equipmentfor the clinic.
  • Arranged warehousing and trucking for the glasses provided by the very generous D.M. Bowman Company in Maryland.
  • Discovered a customs broker "angel" in Hiram Cervera of Cervera Aduana in Progreso, Yucatán who handled all our customs arrangements.
  • Negotiated arrangements for the tax-exempt "donation" of eyeglasses and equipment with the Yucatán state and Mexican federal governments.
  • Found the wonderful Radiance Shipping Company who "containerized" and shipped our eyeglasses from Tampa, Florida to Progreso, Mexico.
  • Designed the layout of the clinic facility.
  • Brought Martin Figueroa to Mérida to install the electronics and train the clinic workers in November, 2006 and again in January, 2007.
One America Students and Mayan friends
FEB. 1, 2007, BOB MARTIN SPEAKING AT THE GRAND OPENING OF THE NEW CLÍNIC OF VISUAL HEALTH IN MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN, MEXICO
On February 1, 2007, we proudly attended in the Gran Inauguración of the Clínica de Salud Visual "Ver Bien para Vivir Mejor" (Clinic of Visual Health "See Well to Live Better") in Mérida.

One America Students and Mayan friends
THE AUDIENCE AT THE CLÍNICA'S GRAND OPENING INCLUDED MANY MAYAN PEOPLE, RESIDENTS OF MÉRIDA, AND FROM THE U.S. SUCCESS STUDENT ANDY ROBILLARD AND TEACHER PENNY JURCHAK ARE IN THE FRONT ROW (BLUE SHIRTS). MARTIN FIGUEROA IS IN THE FRONT ROW ON THE FAR RIGHT.
Included among the participants was Silvia Cicero de Patrón, wife of Yucatán's governor, officials and administrators from DIF Yucatán and the Yucatán government, Rotary Clubs, Opticós Devlyn, and many guests from the United States and other parts of Mexico.

One America Students and Mayan friends
SILVIA CICERO DE PATRÓN, WIFE OF YUCATÁN'S GOVERNOR SPEAKING AT THE GRAND OPENING.
Martin Figueroa (and his mother Linda Figueroa) from Mexicali, Mexico attended on behalf of himself and Dennis Gunst who is now too ill to travel. The head teacher of the SUCCESS Program and one of the students from Frederick, Maryland also attended.

One America Students and Mayan friends
THE RIBBON-CUTTING CEREMONY
Most significantly, several hundred indigenous Maya from outlying villages also attended. We had specifically requested that the DIF officials to invite them to the ceremony... especially people from the village of Yaxunah where we had taken so many of our groups... and they did! Following speeches and the ribbon-cutting, many of the Mayan attendees had their vision screened and received "new" prescription eyeglasses.

The clinic now sees up to 2000 patients a month. Every week, DIF Yucatán brings patients to the clinic by bus from closer villages. Several times a month, the clinic workers travel with their equipment to more distant villages. They examine the eyesight of everyone there, then return a few days later with eyeglasses for everyone needing them. Less than a year after opening the clinic, the government is planning to expand the clinic's size, the amount of diagnostic equipment, and create a permanent "mobile" capability.

In addition, the government also initiated a screening protocol to identify cataract patients.In 2007, 26 people received free cataract surgery. More are planned for the future.

The Clínica de Salud Visual-"Ver Bien para Vivir Mejor" is our giftto the Mayan people and to the people of Yucatán.Our goal is to use this clinic - as Frank Devlyn used the Rotary clinic in Mexico City- as our prototype model for future clinics.

Volunteers from Mexico, the United States and other countries, Rotary and Lions Club members, students of all ages, optometric and ophthalmic students and professionals are enthusiastically encouraged to visit, inspect or help out at the clinic.It will be a life-changing experience for you. Perhaps it will make you want to help us start MORE clinics. I hope so.

The day of the grand opening, February 1, 2007, a tiny, wrinkled, ancient Mayan woman received her first-ever pair of prescription eyeglasses. As she was leaving the clinic, she saw my lovely wife, Rebecca, standing near the doorway. She walked up to her, and she reached out and grabbed Rebecca's hand. She held on to it VERY hard. She looked up at my wife's face for a long, long time. She had tears in her eyes, and she didn't say a word. Rebecca didn't know what to do except "feel" the silent gratitude. Eventually the woman walked away.

"The most wonderful thing," I later told my wife, "Is that this will happen EVERY day in this clinic AND in EVERY OTHER new clinic we open. The power and effect of 'JUST' a simple pair of eyeglasses, something we Americans just take for granted, is SO powerful and unbelievable... until you see it in person."