Seva - Compassion in Action
Your Compassion Can Change The World
Your Compassion Can Change The World
Your Compassion Can Change The World
Your Compassion Can Change The World
History

Ama's Story
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Two out of three people who are blind are women and girls. Your compassion restored Ama's eyesight, and is helping to increase access to eye care for women around the globe.

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A Seva Story
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This micro-documentary explains the origins of Seva and our work to prevent and cure blindness around the world.

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Let There Be Sight
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Witness a Seva Eye Camp in the Himalayas of Nepal. In Let There Be Sight, Seva donor Turk Pipkin chronicles his journey with a Seva medical team to a remote surgical eye camp in Nepal's Himalayas where hundreds of people had their vision restored. Special thanks to musician and long-time Seva supporter Jackson Browne for use of his song "Doctor My Eyes."

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What Does Seva Mean...
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We asked Dr. Chundak Tenzing, Seva's Sight Program Director: "What does 'Seva' Mean to you?

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Sight in Cambodia
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Many Cambodia children do not have access to eye care services. Seva trains Cambodian doctors and provides infastruction so that Cambodia can provide care to it's own citizens. Last year, over 70,000 children in Cambodia received eye examinations as a result of Seva's work. 1/2 of children who go blind in developing countries will die within the first year. By preventing and treating blindness, Seva provides opportunities for life to children around the world.

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For a Chance to See
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Dhana lives in one of the most isolated, impoverished villages on the planet, Bajura, Nepal, a stunning but unforgiving landscape he has not seen for five years. Dhana Kadka is blind due to cataracts. Despite this, he walked 10km through the rocky terrain of far west Nepal by feel and memory. Kadhka learned that a group of Seva-supported eye doctors were coming for a special visit. So he made the perilous journey on foot for the chance to see.

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Celebrating 35 Years of Service
Seva Foundation's history of Compassion in Action

In 1978, a remarkable conference of friends and colleagues gathered at the Waldenwoods Conference Center, near Ann Arbor, Michigan to consider this question:  How could they be of service?

The answer turned out to be Seva Foundation.

In 1978, after working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to end smallpox in India, Dr. Larry Brilliant (currently President, Skoll Global Threats Fund), and his wife Girija Brilliant, a public health specialist, published an article entitled Death of a Killer Disease. It was a personal account of their decade in Asia, first as youthful travelers, then as spiritual seekers, and eventually as part of WHO's successful smallpox eradication team. 

They concluded the article with an appeal to readers to find the compassion and understanding to support international health programs to benefit those struggling with poverty.

Readers were moved, and soon $20,000 of donations arrived in Larry and Girija's mailbox — with the first $5,000 coming from not-yet-famous computer inventor, Steve Jobs.

An Eclectic Rolodex
Inspired by the supportive response, the Brilliants convened a conference of friends and colleagues to consider what to do next now that smallpox had been eradicated — how could they best be of service?

Using their personal Rolodex of health professionals and cultural activists, the Brilliants invited an eclectic group that included the World Health Organization’s Dr. Nicole Grasset, spiritual teacher Ram Dass, and Berkeley activists Wavy Gravy and Jahanara Romney.

The Sight Program is Launched
Dr. Grasset introduced the group to Dr. G. Venkataswamy, a retired eye surgeon in India known as "Dr. V" who was just setting out to fulfill his vision of making cataract surgery as "ubiquitous as McDonalds," and therefore affordable to the poor. That was the beginning of Seva's partnership in the high-volume eye clinic that would become the internationally known Aravind Eye Care Systems.

Since then, Seva programs have helped 3.5 million people to see again. In just the past year, Seva's Sight Program has provided one million people with eye care services worldwide.

Find out how you can give the gift of sight >

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