In January 2023 I traveled to Nepal. The purpose was to meet with our program partners and the Seva staff. We used this time together to discuss our eye care roadmap for the country.
When painted against the fact that this coming Fall we can finally celebrate the anniversary of the seminal Seva Nepal Blindness Study, the conversations and connection become more of a homecoming than a traditional field visit.
Back in 1980, Seva founders (scientists, activists and academics) joined forces with the World Health Organization and the government of Nepal thanks to funding from the Netherlands. The results were published in our landmark report, The Epidemiology of Blindness in Nepal, and several journal articles. These findings became a key component, and dare I say, influencer, of the World Health Organization’s Nepal Blindness Program.
Ram Prasad Kandel Retires After 25 Years of Caring Service
It’s not hyperbole to say there ain’t no mountain high enough to deter Seva’s Nepal Program Director, Ram Prasad Kandel. For the past 25-plus years, he’s been on the road with Seva, traversing hilly terrain and rough roads in Nepal, India, and Cambodia to support eye camps, establish Vision Centers, and connect with the people who come seeking help.
Seva is pleased to officially welcome Dr. Binita Sharma to the staff as the Country Director in Nepal.
Dr. Sharma transitioned from Seva Foundation’s clinical advisor for programs in Nepal to the Country Director, picking up where Ram Prasad Kandel left off.
Dr. Sharma was the Chief Medical Director at Kirtipur Eye Hospital for three years; she has been working as an ophthalmologist for the last 10 years, with a fellowship in Cornea and a special interest in community ophthalmology. Working both at a clinical and academic level, she is at the forefront of eye care and health in Nepal. With a strong passion for community and communication, Dr. Binita works to bring eye health to those most in need.
She enjoys interacting with people, and she’s a firm believer that communication and teamwork is the key to an effective outcome in any field.
“I believe it is in the heart of the community that we need to reach – where there are patients who do not realize that their blinding condition is treatable”
Young creatives, athletes, artists, and makers of all types are called upon to take Seva’s reach to the next level by joining the Seva Squad, our youth ambassador program for students ages 13 to 18 years old. Seva Squad members will use their talents to create projects that spread the word about Seva’s mission. Completed projects, along with squad members, will be featured on our social media channels, website, and newsletters.
If you know somebody who’d be interested in joining future Seva Squads, point them to the Seva Squad webpage www.seva.org/squad for more information, or have them contact squad leader Judy Zimola at email@example.com.
Last year, Seva and partners established 30 new vision centers across Bangladesh, Guatemala, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, and the United States. Of these, we are thrilled to share that 26 have been inaugurated.
Vision Center inaugurations are attended by local leaders who introduce the eye professionals and paraprofessionals to the people they serve. By doing so, they build trust and promote the importance of proper eye care. It also helps to normalize eye care throughout the region and spread the word that treatment and care are now accessible.
Watch this amazing video kicked off by Elvis Costello, featuring lots of Seva friends, and music courtesy of Seva Ambassador Jackson Browne. They’re helping us promote Guatemala Brillando, our plan that will end avoidable blindness in the country within 10 years.
Watch and share this video with your networks – the more people who see it, the more attention our Guatemala Brillando initiative receives. Thank you for spreading the Seva love!
Seva Foundation was honored with four national awards from the Government of Cambodia, signed by the King and the Prime Minister, in recognition of over two decades of restoring sight throughout the country. At a ceremony that coincided with World Sight Day, the following Seva team members were honored:
Seva supporters Sharon Hansen (left) and Terrie Velasquez (right)
To know Terrie Velasquez is to know goodness
In the early 70s, a series of experiences – from reading Ram Dass’s “Be Here Now,” to being a fan of The Grateful Dead, to learning about Wavy Gravy – led Terrie Velasquez to Seva. She’s a firm believer in giving back to communities, and for her, the stars aligned with Seva.
“I knew that Seva worked in many countries, and I knew Seva held many of my own personal values. SEVA = selfless service.”
High-quality data for global economic estimates in eye health, particularly for low-income and middle-income countries, is limited. Two years ago, Seva started an initiative to spotlight the ‘cost of community and primary care in eye health’ and ‘The economic and social costs of visual impairment and blindness’ with the aim to generate first-hand evidence.