Stories From the Field


DOÑA JULIA – Guatemala

Doña Julia was unable to see to do anything, she was completely dependent on her children to cook and care for her. She lives in the remote area of the Petén in northern Guatemala.

Blinded by bilateral cataracts for over two years, the lively 84 year old woman was unaccustomed to spending her days alone in her house. Surgery to remove both cataract restored her vision and her independence. Doña Julia now cleans her own house, threads a sewing needle better than her daughter, makes her morning coffee, feeds her chickens and best of all, delights in seeing her grandchildren!

Fact: Two out of three people who are blind are women.


SHAMIMU - Tanzania

When doctors in Tanzania found Shamimu, age 5, she was almost blind from cataracts in both eyes. The only way she could see to do her school work was to rest her chin on the page with her eyes as close to her pen as possible. Without treatment she faced a grim future.

Shamimu was very nervous about going to the hospital. Not understanding eye surgery, her friends told her that her eyes would be replaced with goat eyes!

But after sight-restoring cataract surgery at the Seva-sponsored Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Shamimu could see again. Happily she was able to return to school with new confidence and a brighter future.

Fact: There are 19 million children under the age of 15 who are visually impaired. Thanks to your support, Seva is able to provide eye examinations for 200,000 children in need annually.


AMA – Nepal

When Ama was a young woman an accident damaged her left eye beyond repair. Years later she developed blinding cataract in her right eye. Ama attended the Seva eye camp at Taplejung in north eastern Nepal and had successful cataract surgery. Every time there is a Seva eye camp in her area she hikes down from her home in the mountains to visit with the doctors and nurses who helped her see again and to express her thanks and gratitude.

On a visit to her well-cared for home she was proud to show us all the activities she now is able to do, such as feeding her animals and caring for her crops and family, now that she has her vision. We expect to be seeing her for many years to come!

Watch a short video about Ama's story.

Fact: 80% of blindness and low-vision can be prevented or cured.



Vishnu Maya had become bilaterally blind with cataract. All she could see was fuzzy white, like a constant fog.

She could not work, cook, or even walk without help.

Her son carried her on his back two days through the Himalayas so that she could attend the Num Seva Eye Camp. Two surgeries completely restored her vision.

Walking home with her son she was finally able to see the mountains she was carried over just a few days before.

Watch a short video about Vishnu Maya's story.

Fact: 90% of blindness is found in low-income countries.


PIL SAM – Cambodia

First she could not see well, then it got worse and she could not see at all. Pil Sam became bilaterally blind with cataract. She would sometimes burn herself when cooking. Eventually her daughter was required to stay with her all the time and help her with even the most basic tasks that she used to do easily.

By chance a neighbor heard about free eye examinations at Siem Reap Referral Hospital and told her about it. Her daughter wanted her to go, but she was very afraid, but eventually agreed to go. First the right eye; and after a very long night of waiting, she could see and was excited to have her left eye operated on the very next day.

Now she can visit the local pagoda and take care of her grandchildren. She is very grateful to Seva and to her daughter for convincing her to go!

Fact: When you give one person back their sight, you give at least two people back their lives.


Chiring Lama Haitya lives in a village in Nepal with his wife, four daughters and two sons. In this harsh mountain environment survival depends on seeing.

Cataract began developing on both of Chiring's eyes. At a Seva eye camp he had cataract surgery on his right eye and was able to see to work. The cataract on his left eye eventually rendered him blind in that eye.

One day a neighbor told him of another Seva eye camp in Kaldhari and Chiring set off running. It took him five days to reach the camp.

Here he is after surgery on his left eye, which gave him full 20/20 vision. Chiring's smile says it all.

Fact: The number one cause of treatable blindness is cataract.



In a remote area of Tibet there was a man named Sunga who had 4 daughters and all of them were blind from cataracts. The single father faced a heartbreaking decision; he could only afford to bring 3 of the girls to the Seva eye camp. The youngest daughter insisted that her older sisters go to get treatment, but once left home alone, she broke down and wept.

Upon learning that there was another blind daughter, Seva staff member Dr Sonam Dradup hired a motorcycle to travel the 75km to find her and bring her to the camp.

At the Seva eye camp all 4 sisters received cataract surgery. Though saddened that they never saw the face of their mother who passed away in 1994, nothing could take the smiles off their faces of the hope they felt for the first time in their lives.

Fact: Two out of three of the world's blind are women.


Sign up to receive Seva's latest news about restoring sight and transforming lives via email or delivered to your door.

   Please leave this field empty

* We will never sell or share your email address and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Follow Seva:

Seva Foundation Seva Foundation Seva Foundation Seva Foundation Seva Foundation

Contact Us | Search | Privacy Policy | Our Supporters | Job Opportunities | Sign In

Seva Foundation 1786 Fifth Street Berkeley, CA 94710 phone: 510-845-7382 fax: 510-845-7410
2017 Seva Foundation. All rights reserved.