"Seva's efforts create hope and happiness worldwide for so many people in difficult conditions. I've always been amazed and cheered by their good works and I've been very happy to help them in their fundraising efforts."
Singer / Songwriter
“We've always admired Seva's focus on serving indigenous people in the U.S. and around the world. Seva knows how to work with communities in ways that truly benefit those in need. We are honored to be involved with their mission and look forward to contributing to their efforts for years to come."
Tea Leaf Green
“I congratulate Seva Foundation for the magnificent work they continue to do."
Legendary Folk Singer
“Seva has given so much help to so many thousands of people for so many years — such a wonderful example of love in action.”
Singer / Songwriter
"For 30 years Seva has made an extraordinary contribution to the world — not only through their
international programs, but here in some of the most impoverished communities in North America, on Native American reservations. Thank you Seva."
Singer / Songwriter
"Seva takes the impulse towards generosity and turns it into compassionate action that helps people in real need. I honor my friends and relations by giving to Seva in their name — the entire world benefits. I hope you'll join me."
Actor / Writer
"Compassion and caring for people in need - that's simply a moral necessity. But it's not
always easy to do. Seva makes it easy. They know how to put your donations to work in ways that truly benefit people."
Singer / Humanitarian Activist
"When we met the folks at Seva, we knew we were among kindred spirits, joining to bring people together in service to others. Whether preventing blindness in Nepal, assisting native peoples in Guatemala and Mexico, or helping our own Native Americans, Seva has been there to help alleviate suffering and improve people's lives. Long may they rock!"
The Grateful Dead
The Passing of an Eye Care Pioneer:
Dr. Venkataswamy 1918 - 2006
Seva co-founder and longtime board member, Dr. G. Venkataswamy — fondly referred to by friends and associates as "Dr. V" — passed away on July 7 in Madurai, India, after a long illness. He was surrounded by his closest family members, and by his extended family at the Aravind Eye Hospital.
Vision, Inspiration and Leadership
In 1976, he founded the Aravind Eye Hospital, where he led the development of a self-sustaining model of affordable eye care services designed to prevent and cure needless blindness among those struggling in poverty. In 1978, Dr. V co-founded Seva Foundation, which set out on a mission to support and expand this pioneering approach to affordable health care.”
From its beginning in a rented house with 11 hospital beds, Aravind has grown to become a network of hospitals with over 1750 beds, serving a population of more than 50 million. Last year, Aravind performed over 190,000 eye surgeries and nearly 1.3 million outpatient services.
Seva and Aravind continue to work as partners, and Seva is now supporting the development of affordable eye care services in Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Tanzania and Guatemala.
A Lifetime of Service
Dr. V was born in 1918 in a small village in South India. He received his medical degree from Stanley Medical College, Chennai, in 1944. He joined the Indian Army Medical Corps, but had to retire in 1948 after developing severe rheumatoid arthritis — a disease that left his fingers crippled. Despite his condition, he returned to medical school and earned a degree in ophthalmology. With hard work and determination, Dr. V trained himself to hold a scalpel and perform cataract surgery. In time, he personally performed over 100,000 successful eye surgeries.
He joined the faculty at Madurai Medical College as the head of the ophthalmology department, and later served as Vice Dean. He introduced a number of innovative programs which were later perfected at Aravind, including the outreach eye camps and a training program for ophthalmic assistants.
Dr. V's work has gained international recognition, and he has received numerous awards, including: the Helen Keller International Award, the IAPB Award, the International Blindness Prevention Award by the AAO, and the Padmashree Award from the Government of India.
Carrying the Work Forward
While we will miss Dr. V's smiling face and enthusiastic mentoring, we can take joy in knowing his spirit and his pioneering work will continue to serve people around the globe.