Wisely and from the start, founders and staff of the Seva Foundation knew to listen. We do now, as they did then. We listen to the local and international scientific/social/technical experts, we listen to one another, and most importantly – we carefully listen to the communities and individuals we serve. From listening, we can achieve a pathway to equity.
Equity has always been a stated core value for the Seva Foundation and continues to be the guiding light for our decision making.
Through our decades of service, we came to understand that women and girls were far less likely than men to receive treatment, and for severe vision loss, the inequity increases. With your contributions, sight-saving programs were developed, along with more healthy communities. Seva is here, driving change, unlocking local excellence to address the inequity. Regaining sight is transformative and it results in better futures, especially for women and girls.
The antidote to injustice is equity, and the mechanism for change is listening. Thank you for listening throughout the years and for supporting Seva to transform lives across the world.
A New Year brings a new opportunity to recommit to equity. Every day our staff, partners, and board of directors work tirelessly to ensure that one day, every child will wake up in a world where they have access to care for avoidable blindness.
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.