Sight Programs
Seva Foundation

“Seva has given so much help to so many thousands of people for so many years — such a wonderful example of love in action.”

Bonnie Raitt
Singer / Songwriter

Seva Foundation

"For nearly 40 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."

Jackson Browne
Singer / Songwriter

Seva Foundation

"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."

Peter Coyote
Actor / Writer

Seva Foundation

"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."

Joan Baez
Singer / Humanitarian Activist

Seva Foundation

"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!"

Phil Lesh
The Grateful Dead

Seva Foundation

"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."

Bruce Hornsby
Singer / Songwriter

Seva Foundation

“I admire Seva's spirit of innovation. Seva is constantly looking for new ideas that can benefit the world, especially the poor, and they aren't afraid to try something that no one has ever tried before."

Dr. Muhammad Yunus
Nobel Prize Winner / Seva Partner / Founding Chairman of Grameen Health Services

Seva Foundation

“I congratulate Seva Foundation for the magnificent work they continue to do."

Odetta
Legendary Folk Singer

Seva Foundation

“Seva has done an incredible job all over the world helping people who really need it. I am proud to be one of the many who followed Wavy and his friends down this particular yellow brick road.”

David Crosby
Singer / Songwriter

Seva Foundation

“Such dedication to others — how could you not love Seva and what they accomplish? Well done!”

Graham Nash
Singer / Songwriter

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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 infrastructure 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. Kadka 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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Sustainable Eye Care Programs
Seva Foundation Sight Program

At Seva, we look for solutions that will be lasting. We define sustainability in the broadest sense — to mean that the programs we help to develop will have the ability to sustain themselves to the maximum extent possible over time. Ideally, this sustainability is independent of Seva in the long term.

In this context, sustainability means that local people have both the clinical knowledge to provide quality eye care and the skills to train others. It means that they have the capacity to effectively manage the program themselves, and the leadership capability to motivate their team, set the program's direction and plan for transition. Finally, it means that the program has the ability to be financially self-sufficient, and to produce or access the supplies and equipment it needs to offer quality eye care.

All of these elements contribute to the program's potential for sustainability — and Seva helps its partners develop each of them. 

Training Skilled Eye Care Personnel
More than anything, our approach to sustainability means investing in people.  Two of the greatest obstacles confronting eye care programs in developing countries are a shortage of trained eye care personnel and a lack of strong management systems.  Rather than sending Seva's own staff to run the programs, we train local people to provide care to their own communities.  They are the ones who know the community need best, and who will stay and train the next generation.  Over the years, we have helped provide clinical training for thousands of local eye care workers,

covering every aspect of eye care from cataract surgery to nutrition education to dispensing of eyeglasses.

Sustainable Program Models
Seva's principle partner in India, the Aravind Eye Care System, demonstrated how cost recovery could be turned into financial self-sufficiency. They pioneered a model of high volume, high quality care in which fees charged to those who can afford them subsidize free or low-cost care for those who cannot.

Seva has applied this approach to other programs, helping to establish a pricing system for eye care services that will ensure financial sustainability. In Nepal, for example, we worked with the Lumbini Eye Institute to establish a system in which approximately 80% of the patients pay a basic amount for their eye care, about 10% pay a higher level, and the poorest 10% receive free care. Within a year of establishing this pricing structure, Lumbini Hospital was financially self-sufficient for its operating costs. Seva is now adapting this successful model for programs in other countries around the world.

Volunteer Trainers and Mentors
Seva offers our program partners access to ongoing guidance and support through a network of expert volunteers who serve as trainers and mentors. To select volunteers, we use the following criteria: professional and international experience, interest in collaborative service and learning, and above all, flexibility. We seek volunteers who can work cooperatively with our partners as trainers in a variety of professional fields. Please see our Sight Program Volunteers page for more information.

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