Set a Course for Good with Seva this Year

Photo: Three boys in Nepal by Jon Kaplan.

The beginning of any year allows us to reflect on the previous year and be reinspired by the hopes we have for the year ahead. It’s also time for us to aim for a brighter tomorrow, setting new goals for the future. Here at Seva, the team and our partners engage in a highly inclusive and reflective process. With a set of carefully selected questions we uncover the most successful patterns from the work of the past that allow us to plan for a great year.

We do this in two distinct parts. First we review, learn from, and celebrate the year we are leaving behind. In the second part, our questions and challenges are all about the future. Together with our clients, partners, staff, and board members we are dreaming, planning, and preparing to help the most number of people gain access to comprehensive eye care.

Since the pandemic began I’ve looked to each of you as proof of how strong the Seva fabric can be. Together our resilience, ingenuity, and creativity shone through for the people who need us the most. In fact, millions of people – 2.8 to be more precise – relied on the Seva Foundation’s network of world-class partners to provide services through the pandemic. You helped to navigate this new world, deliver critical eye care, and spread good where it does the most.

Another thing happened: Former NY Times journalist Nicholas Kristof named Seva the Grand Prize winner of the 2021 Holiday Impact Prize. This was a big deal for our organization, the partners we work alongside and the difference this mission makes in the world. It is affirmation from one of the most renowned and celebrated journalists of our time, that Seva is seen for who we are: an organization that believes how we work in this world is as important as what we do, and the sustainable impact we have. For me personally, this award solidifies the thread that connects us from the origins of Seva in the 70’s to the staff and board of today – we are forever bound by a commitment to world class science paired with human compassion.

As we embark on the next normal, know that we – here at the Seva Foundation – are renewed and ready for the year ahead. I invite you to let the mission and work of Seva be one of the guiding points on your own compass that you follow this coming year.

Onwards & Upwards

Kate Moynihan
Executive Director

P.S. Renowned philanthropist Peter Singer is giving away $100,000 to three of The Life You Can Save’s recommended charities based on a public vote. Would you please take a minute and vote for Seva?

Honoring the Legacy of The World’s Indigenous Peoples

We at Seva today, invite you to join us in honoring the International Day of the Worlds Indigenous Peoples.

Join us in honoring the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Today – and every day – we recognize Indigenous identity, their lived reality, and their rich historical narratives.

Seva is honored to have worked with Indigenous communities worldwide since the very beginning, focusing on various community and wellness initiatives. We express gratitude for our relationships with Indigenous Peoples of every nation – together, we are celebrating Indigenous legacy.

“Years ago Seva was at our side listening and advocating for our women to train and deliver health services to our people on the reservation. I respect the support they have shown me and other Native women leaders in empowering Native families.”

Madonna Thunder Hawk
(Yankton Sioux) Civil Rights Activist
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Letter from the Executive Director – Spring 2021

"Over the years the Grateful Dead and extended family have had the opportunity to profoundly benefit hundreds of thousands of people through Seva's programs...Let's keep it rolling..." — BOB WEIR, Musician/Songwriter

Dear Friends,

Springtime brings a sense of renewal, and after a year of uncertainty with COVID-19 looming over everyone’s fate, many parts of the world can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Here in the US, with the rollout of various vaccines, I am reminded that in many parts of the rest of the world, people are still struggling with COVID, access to care, and even more significant health challenges due to the various mutations. Scientists have moved mountains; yet we must ensure that the work to save lives continues. For Seva, the work continues with safety first, as we provide life-saving and essential eye care needs to some of the world’s most marginalized communities

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Dr. Larry Brilliant says we can still beat Covid-19 BUT…

Larry Brilliant examines a baby with one of the world’s last cases of the most deadly form of smallpox, Bihar, India, 1975. Photo credit: Nedd Willard

“If we think of Covid-19 as a wildfire – and it surely spreads like one – we have failed to extinguish it. We still have fires burning all over the country,” says Dr. Brilliant, a world-renowned epidemiologist. 

Dr. Brilliant together with W. Ian Lipkin, Lisa Danzig, and Karen Pak Oppenheimer published an article in the Wall Street Journal today. They discuss what’s to come next for the pandemic with new variants, vaccines, and planning for future public health challenges. The message is clear: We can still beat COVID-19 using many of the strategies leveraged in the past to deal with Smallpox, Ebola, Swine, and other viruses, but we must act fast and in concerted efforts. 

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Happy International Women’s Day from Seva

I want to send a happy International Women’s Day today to all the amazing women like Happiness transforming the world with their courage and compassion.

As we celebrate and remember our power to transform the world let us also remember the millions of women around the world who still don’t have basic human rights. When we do, we can answer the call to amplify their voices.

On behalf of the most dedicated and talented teams, thank you for working toward a world that is a safe and inclusive place for women and girls.

Signature

Kate Moynihan
Executive Director

Spread some Happiness!


Meet our Vision Excellence Award Winners!

A girl in Guatemala has her eyes examined. Photo by Joe Raffanti.

The International Association of Blindness (IAPB) created the Vision Excellence Award to commemorate the end of its 21-year global initiative, VISION 2020: A Right to Sight. In recognition of their life-changing, world-transforming work in the field of humanitarian eye care, IAPB has recognized a total of ten Seva team members and partners with the prize.

“On behalf of the whole Seva family, congratulations to these extraordinary sight leaders and practitioners,” says Kate Moynihan, Executive Director of Seva Foundation. “Seva staff and partners consistently set the standard for patient-centered vision care. Today’s award winners share the commitment and quality of work that brings access to sustainable eye care to millions of individuals and their communities worldwide. I can’t wait to see how – together – we will continue to change the world.”

Thank you for supporting Seva and making these incredible accomplishments possible!

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In Pursuit of Equity

David de Wit
Photo: A female doctor provides an eye care examination for a female patient in Tanzania. Photo by David de Wit.

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.

Yours in service, 

Kate

Eye Care in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

Photo: A Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar District.
Photo: A Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar District.

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. 

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