A Vision Center is a permanent, local establishment equipped to meet 80% of all eye care needs. Set up in primarily remote communities, they are a beacon of light for those with limited access to vision care. These centers support the local economy, often expanding job opportunities for women and underserved populations.
We are thrilled to share that 33 new Vision Centers were inaugurated across Bangladesh and India in the past few months.
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.”
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.
Even in a year as challenging as 2020, Seva’s programs soared. Between June and December of last year, we supported six new vision centers. Now we’re on track to fund a total of 30 by June 30, 2021 (beating our goal of 13)! Our largest number of these new vision centers are in India; others are located in Nepal, Cambodia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru. This year also marks our first vision centers in Latin America!
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.
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.