From tea boy to producer of glasses

During our training in Bhubaneshwar in India there was fine Indian chai served daily by Raidas, a young man from the slum on the outskirts of the city …

Raidas | © Antje Christ

From tea boy to producer of glasses

One evening – long after the end of training – we discovered Raidas secretly practising bending glasses. Nobody has shown him how and the results were actually quite good. Raidas was embarrassed, apologised and tried to quietly disappear. We asked him if he would like to learn how to bend glass frames and work with us as a glass manufacturer. Indeed, Raidas wanted to!

The proudest manufacturer of glasses in India

Raidas was extremely motivated, continuing even in the evening when the other trainees had already left. This made Raidas the proudest eyewear producer around India.

At home with Raidas

Raidas invited us to his home; he lives in a mud hut in the slum on the outskirts of the city of Bhubaneshwar. His mother also lives there, whom he lovingly takes care of. So far he has had no money to marry, he said. As a member of a lower caste, he could not find a permanent job. Raidas had apparently continued to practice at home and wanted me to test his glasses with him.

In the slum

Then Raidas showed us his slum “Salia Sahi” where we met many very poor but also very warm people and we decided to do an eye camp a week later.

The eye camp was a great success – it was obviously the first time that opticians came into the slum.

“An optician has never come to this slum before.”

Raidas, living in a slum in Bhubaneshwar