SEVA FALL 2017 NEWSLETTER
   
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Spirit of Service

A Note from Seva's Executive Director

So much of what makes Seva a dynamic organization is the opportunity to make connections among our staff, volunteers and partner organizations, and to share those learnings throughout our wider Seva family.

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Restoring Vision, and Independence, to a Local Leader

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Nelson Ogwal's vision began to deteriorate in 2014. Living in Agali, Uganda, a village located 20 minutes from the closest eye hospital in Lira and approximately 200 miles north of Kampala, he didn't receive treatment and eventually became completely blind. As a chairman of his village, a farmer, a husband, a father of eight, and a grandfather of six, Nelson's ability to support his family abruptly ended when he lost his vision. Nelson's wife, Esther Ogwal, had to double her responsibilities on their farm, in taking care of the children and grandchildren, and in caring for Nelson.

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Celebrating Dr. Patrick: Three Decades of Eye Care in Uganda

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Dr. Patrick, a cataract surgeon in northern Uganda, truly embodies Seva’s core value of service to humankind without thought of personal gain or return. He has devoted his three-decades-long medical career to providing eye care to people in need in some of that country’s most hard-to-reach communities. Undeterred by challenging travel conditions to remote areas, an entrenched lack of government funding, and even waves of armed insurgencies, Dr. Patrick has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to the people of Uganda.

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Seva on the Silver Screen

Congratulations to director Irene Taylor Brodsky and the filmmakers behind the documentary Open Your Eyes for being one of eleven 2017 Sentinel Awards honorees. A program of The Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the Sentinel Awards recognize exemplary "storylines that inform, educate, and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives."

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Each One, Teach One

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It’s always exciting to see Seva’s partner organizations grow into themselves, becoming self-sustaining providers of eye health in developing communities. But when one long-time Seva partner can help an up-and-coming provider tackle common challenges, it’s downright inspiring. Such was the case earlier this year, when Seva’s partners at Aravind Eye Care System were able to share their know-how with a burgeoning eye care program in Cambodia.

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A Longtime Volunteer’s Commitment to Service

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American ophthalmologist and Honorary Lifetime Member of Seva’s Board of Directors, Dick Litwin is a true Seva standout. Dr. Litwin has been with Seva since the organization’s early years. He’s played a key role in recognizing and capitalizing on best practices developed with and by our partners throughout the world.

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Preventing Avoidable Blindness from AIDS in the Ukraine

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A complication of HIV/AIDS that has almost been forgotten in the U.S. is CMV retinitis, an infection in the retina that does not warn the patient with redness or pain, and can cause sudden blindness. Before 1995, CMV retinitis affected up to one-third of AIDS patients in the U.S., but has now virtually disappeared in this country with the wide availability of potent drug cocktails to treat HIV.

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What a Difference New Glasses Can Make

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Molly Atim arrived at the Eye Screening Camp in the village of Amolatar in Northern Uganda after hearing about it on the radio and a friend recommended she attend the camp. Unable to read or write due to compromised vision since 2013, Molly couldn’t tear her eyes away from the laminated paper patients receive to test their prescriptions during eye exams.

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