Sadly, vision impairment continues to rob millions of people every year of a promising future. At Seva we know that this is a solvable public health crisis. 90% of all vision loss is preventable and treatable. Our research validates that investing in eye health improves overall wellbeing, community participation, and economic outlook for families.
The only thing we love more than restoring sight is…
CELEBRATING restored sight.
We recently celebrated the resilient and brave Thamma Nagamani from India, a remarkable woman with an unbreakable spirit.
Not too long ago, Thamma tragically lost her husband from suicide after his crops were destroyed. Her heart was shattered and her life was put at a standstill; she was left with no other option but to rebuild her future, from scratch. And that’s exactly what she did.
At the same time, Thamma’s vision was deteriorating. She had trouble completing her daily tasks.
Our field staff took her to our partner hospital, where she was diagnosed with cataract and received a sight-restoring surgery. Thamma’s life today? Bright! She spends her day looking after her family and even runs her own business.
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.
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.”
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.”
Half the Sky – a book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn published in 2009 – argues that the oppression of women worldwide is “the paramount moral challenge” of the present era. Women and girls face gender bias daily, particularly in rural communities.
We know eye health affects nearly everyone at some point in our lives. Worldwide, there are currently 1.1 billion people living with vision impairment, and hundreds of millions more have ongoing eye care needs.
Improved eye health is essential to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG for short). That means eye health is critical to achieving goals related to poverty, hunger, education, gender equality, and decent work, in addition to overall health and wellbeing. A Lancet Commission Report released earlier this year noted that the economic impact of vision impairment is massive, with a current estimated productivity loss of $411 billion per year globally.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a strain on communities all around the world. Particularly in the Global South, many hospitals and patients have found their resources stretched thin while needs continue to rise. But as we like to say at Seva, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going!” Our donors and partners stepped up to the plate to make sure that patients could still receive the vision care that they need, safely, even in these uncertain times.
Since 2008, Seva Foundation, Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology, Aravind Eye Care System, and Ophthalmology Foundation (erstwhile ICO) have organized classroom workshops for more than 500 eye care providers, across 130 hospitals in 30 countries.
Last year we launched Eyexcel 2.0, a new-and-improved version of our “Excellence in Eye Care Training” program. Eyexcel has traditionally been an annual five-day immersion workshop designed for eye hospital trainers who teach ophthalmic support staff. Eyexcel 2.0 incorporates online components designed to supplement the in-person workshops and provides an even more in-depth social learning experience than before.
Seva’s partnership with India’s Aravind Eye Hospital is one of the oldest and most productive in our history. Last year, Aravind hit a huge milestone: they opened their 100th eye care facility! About 90 of these are vision centers.