Seva donors Jeff and Samantha Maas recently climbed Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro and decided to use the feat to raise funds and awareness for Seva and our local partner Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO).
"When we decided to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro we became inspired to raise money for a worthy charity that would give back to the country we would be visiting," said Jeff. "Knowing that many of our friends and family would be aware of our journey, we wanted to use that exposure to benefit a greater cause."
After a vetting process that included reviewing Charity Navigator, they decided to dedicate the climb to Seva and KCCO's work. "The more we learned about Seva, the more we knew they were our choice," said Samantha. "We were attracted to the fact that the work Seva does is very tangible in nature, by providing the gift of sight. We felt confident that our supporters would also understand exactly what their contribution would be used for."
While in Tanzania, Jeff and Samantha had the chance to meet KCCO staff. "They work really hard on their outreach efforts in order to serve patients who otherwise wouldn't be aware of the services offered," said Jeff. KCCO relies on methods such as flyers, bullhorns and word of mouth to reach those who need eye care. "We were also impressed with the commitment and dedication of the local staff who take pride in the work they do through KCCO!" added Samantha.
Both found the climb challenging, but they kept going knowing that they had all those people back home supporting them to make their charitable goal. After six days of climbing, they finally made it all 19,341 feet to the summit to witness the sunrise over the Roof of Africa..."Vision is something that many of us take for granted, and to be able to witness an occurrence in nature that happens every day (a sunrise) on this mountain made us truly appreciate the gift of sight," said Jeff. "We are grateful that others will share in their own future sunrise that will be just as beautiful because of the work of KCCO and Seva."
Seva is grateful to Sandhi Bhide and Soor Aur SaptakTM for organizing their 5th Annual Bollywood Karaoke fundraising event on the Intel campus in Hillsboro, Oregon. This event has been successful in raising funds and awareness of the problem of blindness and low vision in children in India, all while keeping in the Seva spirit of having fun while doing our work.
Soor Aur SaptakTM was started by a group of motivated and talented singers who banded together to raise money to support important causes through music. "We were truly blessed to perform in front of an enthusiastic crowd," said the Soor Aur SaptakTM performers, "It is our privilege and honor to raise funds to support Seva's programs to prevent pediatric blindness."
Seva donor Lana Yarkin came up with the innovative idea to support Seva's sight-saving programs by baking and selling delicious holiday cookies.
"I first learned about Seva from my mom who also supports the organization, and the cause immediately resonated with me" explains Lana. "I have poor vision, but I've been fortunate enough to have the resources to visit eye doctors and purchase glasses. I was shocked when I learned that in other parts of the world, children with poor eyesight aren't able to attend school and have extremely limited prospects for their future. The surgeries Seva provides are truly life changing!"
"When I was making my holiday donation to Seva, I wished that I could donate more. I love to bake for my friends and family, and I had the idea that I could use these baked goods to raise more funds for Seva. I wasn't sure what the response would be, and I was thrilled that over 30 of my friends participated!" Seva is grateful to Lana for her support and we are sure her friends are grateful that they got to eat so many homemade goodies!