Over Valentine’s Day weekend, Seva supporters spread the love in the most memorable way possible – through music, fun, and festivities!
From February 11-14, we held our popular Sing Out For Seva Quarantine Concert – A Valentine’s Special, featuring never before seen archival footage from past benefit concerts. Viewers tuned in from all over the world and sang along to Crosby & Nash, Joan Baez & David Grisman, Jason Mraz, Los Lobos, Bob Weir & Steve Kimock, and many more star-studded performances. The one and only Wavy Gravy hosted the concert and also featured special guests Rising Appalachia, Elvin Bishop, and Dumpstaphunk.
Parmila is from Sri Lanka, a small island located in the middle of a mighty river called Koshi and one of the remotest settlements in eastern Nepal. It can only be reached by boat, as pictured above, and is inhabited by people living with financial means.
When our Youth Outreach Team visited the island, they learned that there were many cataract patients, but only the men had been prioritized to receive care. The women were confined to household chores, and their eyesight was thought to be less important. Sadly, these women believed that this was their fate – to live in darkness forever.
In late February, Indian-American singing group Soor Aur Saptak (SAS) held its eleventh annual musical benefit in Portland, Oregon. The theme of this year’s benefit was “Your melody matches mine,” and rightly so. It was a captivating night of Bollywood music, dancing, and singing – all while raising funds to provide eye care for children in India.
Sandhiprakash Bhide, Founder of Soor Aur Saptak, shared, “we cannot believe it has been 11 years since we started this program back in 2012. This would not have been possible without the generous Portland community and now the world community because of our online program.”
The need for quality access to eye care in Bangladesh is paramount – nearly 3X the population here lives with blindness compared to the United States. Seva has worked in Bangladesh since 2005, prioritizing increased access to eye care, training of ophthalmic personnel, and focusing on evidence-based solutions with local partners.
This year, Seva will be establishing seven new Vision Centers across the country, creating access to eye care for an additional 700,000 people. To make this possible, a generous family agreed to match all donations up to $250,000 to raise a total of $500,000 – and we met our campaign goal! If you donated or spread the word about this campaign – thank you!
Speaking of Bangladesh, in March, Seva’s Executive Director, Kate Moynihan, was joined by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Professor Muhammad Yunus for a special edition of Conversations with Kate – In Service of Bangladesh: This Time through Sight. The session focused on our partnership with Grameen Healthcare and our collaborative eye care efforts in the country.
Early on, Kuldeep recognized that investing in eye care improves someone’s vision and touches on every other facet of their life. In his words, “eye care is everything!” Congrats to him on this well-deserved achievement!
“Restoring sight touches all parts of life – health, job secrurity, dignity, and opportunity. It impacts not just one person but entire families and communities. Investing in eye care is one of the most impactful development interventions and I am grateful to be part of such an incredible organization dedicated to this important mission.”
The word MOM upside down is WOW. And that’s exactly how we feel.
She cradled us in her arms and carried us on her back. Held our hands, so we wouldn’t fall. Built bridges so we could cross. Ran so we could walk. A superhero and one of our favorite sights to see. Moms run the world – and we celebrate them!
Happy Mother’s Day to the moms, sisters, grandmothers, and caretakers who light up our lives with love and joy!
p.s. You’ve created access to vital eye care women around the world – individuals who are now leading their lives fiercely and fearlessly. On behalf of them, thank you! If you’d like to help more moms regain their vision back this Mother’s Day, please donate here.
They help us take our first steps, teach us to keep our heads high, and support us in every which way.
And through the years, you’ve helped moms around the world regain their sight, and with it, regain their lives. But don’t just take our word for it – meet a few of the inspiring women who are living happier lives because of you!
See the oddly shaped white device that the doctor is looking through (behind the big retinal camera) in the picture above? It may not look very significant but it is doing marvelous things for the people of Burundi!
It’s called a slit-lamp, a critical piece of equipment used in eye exams that includes a built-in camera – a type of microscope. The slit-lamp helps ophthalmologists find abnormalities in the eye while capturing digital images to track changes in the eye over time.
Our partner in Burundi, CTSOE (Centre Tertiaire de Santé Oculaire de L’Enfant), received one of these essential devices – and has reported back the following observations:
Today – April 6th – is a special birthday: Ram Dass’. He embodied a life of selfless service, compassion, and generosity, setting a precedent for Seva and millions of others around the world: Lead life, first and foremost, through love.
In the 1950s, Ram Dass, then still known as Dr. Richard Alpert, was a prominent Harvard psychologist and author researching human consciousness. His cosmic spiritual shift began in 1967, while on a trip to India. There, he met his guru Neem Karoli Baba, who gave him the name Ram Dass – meaning “servant of God” in Hindi.
Upon receiving guidance from his guru, Ram Dass co-founded Seva in 1978 with a singular goal to reduce human suffering. “When I got involved with Seva, it was like putting on an outfit that multiplied my capacity to be involved with the relief of suffering a thousandfold, because this group has such extraordinary diversity of skills, and talents, and preoccupations if you will,” he shared.
With Ram Dass’ vision, support, and guidance over the last four decades, 46+ million people have received Seva-supported eye care services. Although he is no longer with us, his legacy, spirit, and unconditional love lives on in each and every one of these individuals, and the millions more who will go on to receive the gift of sight.
Seva shares special history with Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, as a supporter, ambassador, and our first partner in Bangladesh. Since 2006, we’ve worked together to establish hospitals, perfect our training programs, and establish sustainable systems of eye care throughout the country that reach millions.