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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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!
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,
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