Last year 3,594,344 individuals’ lives changed for the better. 3.5 million moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers, and friends received vital eye care services, medicine, and treatment through Seva.
This year, we also crossed the 50 million mark of people served with eye care services through Seva and partners since 1978. This achievement rests on over four decades of pioneering sustainable eye care solutions with some of the world’s most compassionate, smart, and talented team of staff, partners, and supporters – this includes YOU!
Read more about the specific activities, analytics, and personal stories of Seva’s work this past year. We are another step closer to ending the public health crisis of avoidable blindness – Seva’s impact, affordability, and sustainability is a big reason why Nicholas Kristof honored us with the 2021 Grand Holiday Impact Prize. As he said, “it feels miraculous to watch people regain their sight, but it’s a miracle that we can all make happen. Seva Foundation, the Grand Prize Winner of this year’s Holiday Impact Prize, is transforming people’s lives for as little as $50 per cataract surgery. Seva works in more than 20 countries abroad and in Native American communities in the United States, and nothing is more joyous than seeing the impact of its work on people who had thought they would never see again.”
From the world-wide Seva team, Happy World Sight Day!
Each year, on this day we recommit ourselves to closing the gap between those with and without access to eye care.
90% of people who live with vision loss are in developing countries where eye care is limited or nonexistent. What does that mean? A life without sight = a life often limited in education, employment, and independence that can ultimately throw families into cycles of poverty. For us, solving this crisis boils down to two things:
Science, data, and comprehensive public health solutions work best when coupled with compassion, community, and a little fun. Want to put a stat on this theory? Since 1978, over 50 million people have received eye care services through your support!
Your support, through the power of sight, brings joy, independence, and freedom to communities worldwide. Bhoora Kol, a 61-year-old lively and jovial man from Madhya Pradesh, India, knows this well. He works diligently as a daily wage laborer on nearby farms, earning less than two dollars a day with just 15 days of employment per month. He lives with his wife in a mud hut, and his four sons and ten grandchildren live nearby in the same village.
Art is transformative – it enables us to see the world through a new lens and make a difference through it.
William Wolk, a talented artist, soul, and friend of Seva, knew this firsthand. His realistic portraits of former U.S. Presidents, the Dalai Lama, and Paramahansa Yogananda, among others, can be found in archives, museums, and private collections around the world. Sadly, in May, Wolk passed away after an enduring and brave battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Marie.
A First-of-Its-Kind Plan to Eliminate Avoidable Blindness in Guatemala
Globally, 1.1 billion people live with vision impairment. In remote communities and developing countries, where access to eye care is limited, this can lead to generations of hardship. Today, we stand at an important moment in history – the beginning of the end of avoidable blindness, first in Guatemala, then across the world.
Kimm Parker wanted to create a lasting imprint in the lives of others – and she knew she could do that through Seva and restoring sight.
After receiving her graduate degree in social work, this Southern California native spent her career in community work, clinics, and eventually her own practice. “I like the idea that if you give $50, someone in Nepal who needs eye surgery can get it. This direct exchange was like magic to me,” she shared.
“Like many folks, I first learned about Seva back in the late 80s through Ram Dass. I was looking for a service organization whose work expressed my understanding of the Buddhist concept of Right Action. I appreciated the variety of projects and range of people that Seva benefited. I found the gift-giving of donations a wonderful way to spread its work among my family and friends, especially as several struggled with vision problems themselves, and I knew they would relate to the difference it was making in many people’s lives! Since my partner died a few months ago, leaving no will, it has been very challenging to settle her affairs, so I knew that I had to stop procrastinating on updating my own. FreeWill.com has guided me through doing this in a way that is easy, comprehensive and reassuring!”
Safety and quality of care are at the center of everything we do. Our partner, Dr. Samina Zamindar in Bangalore, India, recently opened the doors of her private practice to welcome 11 colleagues from Seva partner institutes for a series of safety and quality initiatives.
This joint program, called Observe, Understand, and Change, educated hospital teams with practical skills to adopt standard operative procedures to improve quality at a grassroots level, avoid medical errors, and make incident reporting a regular standard in medical settings. Two days of intensive group discussions were followed by three days of observation in their area of interest.
If you’ve ever wondered about our vibrant history, the people, ideas and solutions that make the magic of restoring sight possible, and all those untold “Seva stories” you heard through the grapevine – look no further! We dug through 40+ years of rich Seva archives, asked our teams around the world, and are here to give you that exclusive, behind-the-scenes look.