AGILITY – I’ve been thinking about the meaning of this word lately. Thinking quickly, under pressure, and needing to make skillful decisions. Every one of us is agile these days.
I’m proud of the agility I see in my team and our partners here in the US and across the globe. Over the past several months, as the world changed, we leaned into our core values of compassion in action, equity, and respect. By doing so, we were able to support those in need. We saw agility in the form of innovations in telemedicine, new safety protocols, and diagnosing patients remotely.
While we understand the work we do is serious, we don’t take ourselves seriously. This wisdom is the gift from one of our most beloved co-founders, Wavy Gravy. He celebrated his birthday earlier this year under quarantine and via a live stream concert. His opening welcome was videotaped at his home, and the footage used was pulled from earlier shows.
There are 19 million children worldwide under the age of 15 who live with impaired vision. In 2018, moved by this alarming statistic, Seva made a commitment to screen 1 million children and provide all necessary follow-up care by December 2020. This major undertaking was supported by Seva’s corporate partner, MODO, and other Seva supporters.
At Seva, from our work with eye care professionals, hospitals, and partners in over 20+ countries, we’ve witnessed first hand the transformative power of community health. By partnering directly with the communities we serve to co-create innovative eye care solutions, we can reach more people with the sight-restoring treatment they need and, in turn, transform more lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be one of the most pressing global health challenges of our time. Seva is thankful for all the brave frontline and essential workers who have tirelessly risked their lives in support of others. We are also thankful for you and your continued support in ensuring that our partners receive the vital resources they need in the face of this crisis.
For most of her life, Shakeela Bibi did not realize she had a vision problem. A 14-year old girl living in Pakistan, Shakeela had to drop out of school after two years because she could not keep up with her peers. She had trouble reading the blackboard and would copy off of other students’ notes instead.
We believe that all children should be able to play, learn, and grow. Unfortunately, according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.4 million children globally are blind, and 19 million live with some form of visual impairment. At Seva, we know that to create a world free of avoidable childhood blindness, we must screen children for vision impairment as early as possible and identify and provide treatment to those in need. This means meeting and screening children where they are – at schools, at home, and in their community.
Today, as you and your family reflect on the changes our world is going through, know that your compassion has reached into one of the most forgotten places on Earth.
Over the last decade, nearly one million Rohingya people have fled their homeland of Myanmar to escape what the UN refers to as the military’s ethnic cleansing. In late 2017, one of the worst human rights violations of the decade sent hundreds of thousands of women and girls, boys, and men into neighboring Bangladesh. Crammed into makeshift shelters in Cox’s Bazar district, the Rohingya refugees are one of the most densely packed populations on earth living in what is now the largest refugee camp in the world.
Upon reaching Bangladesh, the sheer number of Rohingya overwhelmed the local resources, resulting in a lack of access to clean water, sanitation, nutrition, shelter, and health care, including eye care. For the Rohingya, a lifetime without proper access to eyecare means a high rate of preventable blindness and vision loss. According to our study, ten thousand refugees living in the area need cataract surgery today. Every year three thousand more will. On top of this, seventy-five thousand refugees need glasses.
Seva is committed to providing access to eye care in this region.
There are millions of people in the world in need of eye care services and not enough trained eye care professionals to provide care. Your generous support enables us to provide critical training for ophthalmic support staff. These individuals are professionally trained vision care workers who assist ophthalmologists and optometrists with routine clinical or non-clinical activities. With their assistance, ophthalmologists can focus on more advanced and complex cases. Together, they can provide care to more people, more efficiently.
But who trains the trainers? How do we make sure the teachers are giving their students the best information across the board? Eyexcel is how.
Even in the middle of a global pandemic, millions of people around the world need access to basic eye care services. At Seva, we are grateful for your support and the hard work, dedication, and determination of our wonderful global partners who go the extra mile to ensure that underserved communities have the support they need – especially today, during this challenging time.
On June 21, 2020, our partner in Bangladesh – Ispahani Islamia Eye Institute and Hospital (IIEIH) ‘e-inaugurated’ a new eye clinic in Lalmohan supported by Seva. Lalmohan, located in the southern district of Barisal, had very few vision care resources to serve its almost 300,000 residents. As most of the population there earns a low income, the closest eye hospital, which is located 63 miles (102 Kms) away, becomes very difficult and costly to visit.