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Himalayan locals pose with the S.O.L. delivery bike

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“Up in the Himalayan mountains, at an altitude of 2,500 to 5,000 meters, people are exposed to intense sunlight – and thus harmful UV rays – year round. Here, about 90% of the population suffers from eye damage and serious eye diseases – and it could be so easy to provide protection.” (Jürgen Altmann, shadesoflove.org)

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The second edition of our Inspire To Make series introduces us to Jürgen Altmann and Shades Of Love (SOL), his eyewear project created to aid the Himalayan population in their fight against eye deterioration and disease. It took a volunteering trip to the region for Jürgen to appreciate the severity of this endemic, and realise he had to do something about it. Jürgen knew he could truly make a difference, and we sat down to discuss SOL with him to find out how.

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\\ What inspired you to start SOL? //

“For a period of 3 months I worked voluntarily in a non-profit organisation in the areas of Ladakh/Himalayas/India. While over there, I got to know the eye problems that people had to suffer through, due to the strong sun and high altitude all year around. I knew I had to help them with sunglasses. When I got back to Germany, I started SOL, where I collect new and used sunglasses from both sunglass producers and individuals looking to help us achieve our goals.”

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sunglasses will decrease the rate of eye damage and disease

After setting up SOL, Jürgen realised what he needed to ensure that he could achieve his goal of helping the Himalayan people: Sunglasses! UV protected sunglasses to be precise. An essential accessory that we cherish for those bright and sunny days, sunglasses can offer the protection which would eradicate the serious eye damage and disease the Himalayan people continuously suffer from. We’ve all got a pair or two of old sunglasses lying around that we don’t wear anymore, right? Right, and Jürgen knew this. He went to work spreading the word and reaching out to people who he thought could help, and speaking with sunglass companies he knew could potentially contribute to his admirable project.

“THE GOAL IS TO COVER ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE REMOTE AREAS OF THE HIMALAYAS WITH SUNGLASSES!”

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Eye Education Workshop

SOL has since helped equip thousands of locals in the Himalayan mountains with the UV protection they so desperately needed, but that hasn’t stopped Jürgen’s desire and focus to scale his operations. Expanding his ideas which will enable him to make an even bigger contribution to the communities is high on his agenda.

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school kids in their new shades

\\ What does the future hold for SOL? //

“The goal is to cover all the people in the remote areas of the Himalayas with sunglasses! One of our other main objectives is to organise Eye Education Camps, so that people can also learn why it is important to wear sunglasses in these high altitudes; to avoid eye infections, cataract diseases and even blindness.”

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In 2017, SOL will broaden their charitable horizons to The Andes in South America, as the organisation plans to eliminate the issues they are solving in the Himalayas on a global scale. We think Jürgen’s journey is truly inspiring, and commend his passion and drive for seeing a problem he felt he could help solve, creating SOL and achieving something that is positively affecting so many lives. At Melon we will be donating sunglass parts to this honourable project, and you can help too.

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Unsaved Preview Document 3 Villagers now protected from harmful U.V. rays

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\\ What would it mean to have Melon’s customers donate their old sunglasses to SOL? //

“It would sincerely help us in our massive effort to give Himalayan people the good quality sunglasses they need!”

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To get involved, send your sunglasses to:

Shades Of Love

Aroma Kaffeebar
Pestalozzi 24
80469 München
Germany

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Check out SOL’s progress at:

http://shadesoflove.org/

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Jürgen and the local team