“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 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 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


"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


"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'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


“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


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

Legendary Folk Singer


“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


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

Graham Nash
Singer / Songwriter

A Vision for Gender Equality in Eye Care

For over five years, Ama lived in a cloud of white haze. Her remote village in rural Nepal had no doctor, much less access to anyone trained in eye care.

Completely blind in both eyes, Ama was unable to care for herself and fully dependent on others for survival. When Seva outreach workers came to her village, they identified Ama's blindness as curable. Our outreach teams go to great lengths to find and help women like Ama, because they know that women are much less likely to travel to far off hospitals due to a variety of social and financial obstacles. Once identified, Ama received free sight-restoring cataract surgery at a remote Seva eye camp near her village. The cloudy haze that had rendered her helpless for so many years is now gone, and her world has been brought back into focus.

Blindness affects 36 million people worldwide and 75% is preventable or curable.

Just like Ama, many of the blind are elderly and living in poverty – and more than half are women.

Overcoming Gender Barriers

Seva-led programs work towards achieving gender equity by focusing on overcoming the traditional barriers to women and girls' access to eye care. These commonly include:

  • The cost of surgery: Women often have less access to family financial resources to pay for eye care or transportation to reach a hospital.
  • Inability to travel to a surgical facility: In many cultures where Seva works, it might not be seen as acceptable for a woman to travel alone, even to a hospital. For poor families, the additional cost of having to also send a male escort can present a prohibitive expense.
  • Differences in the perceived value of surgery: Cataract is often viewed as an inevitable consequence of aging and women are less likely to have social support in a family to seek out care.
  • Lack of access to information and resources: High female illiteracy rates, especially among the elderly, decreases the chances that women will learn about available eye care services in their area.
Initiative for Women and Girls
Seva is leading the global initiative to eliminate gender inequality in eye care.

Our first step was to document that inequality exists.

The second step was to identify the barriers that women and girls face to accessing eye care and to develop strategies to overcome these barriers.

Simple strategies are often the most effective. Seva provides counseling to families, offers free transportation and brings eye care to people's doorsteps through support of local community ophthalmology programs.

Sharing our findings and strategies with the global eye care community has been the third step, and we are happy to report that more and more organizations are now implementing these strategies to reach women and girls.

Women Helping Women
Seva, with the support of our donors, has reduced, and in some areas, eliminated gender inequality in eye care primarily through active engagement with local women, women's groups and networks. The Women Helping Women approach is efficient, sustainable, and remarkably effective.

In central and western Nepal, for example, Seva eye care programs have achieved gender equity in large part due to the implementation of community-based Female Community Health Volunteers. These women are local leaders who are trained to detect eye conditions in their villages and to assist people, particularly women, to utilize available eye care services. In these regions, Seva is now serving an equal number of blind women and men.

In contrast, throughout the remainder of Nepal, blindness among women remains significantly greater than among men. To rectify this problem Seva has helped to establish the National Gender and Blindness Program, which gathers, analyzes, and promotes effective community-based strategies.

In Nepal, and around the world, the compassion of Seva's donors is turning the tide on gender inequality. Each year, our eye care programs are successfully increasing the number of women receiving sight saving services.

We look forward to the day when all women will have equal access to eye care.

Your donation to support Seva's programs will provide eye care to women and girls in need >


Related Articles

Gender Equity

In developing countries, women and girls are far less likely to have access to eye care services because of the barriers they face. From lack of education and financial resources to limited decision-making power, Seva and our partners help women and girls overcome barriers.

Female Leaders in Eye Care

Supporting women to become leaders in the field of eye care, and increasing women's access to eye care, are two of Seva's top priorities. We are proud to feature these five women and their inspirational stories.

Lumbini Eye Institute's Surgical Team is 70% Female

In addition to the life-changing impact the surgeons have on each person they serve, this particular Seva-supported surgical team represents another major success 70% of the surgeons at Lumbini are women.

Gender and Sustainability: Seva Influences the International Eye Care Agenda

Thanks to leadership from Seva's Dr. Suzanne Gilbert, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) has formed new working groups to take up two key issues in the Vision 2020 campaign to prevent blindness — gender and sustainability.

Seva's Vision for Gender Equality in Eye Care

Every five seconds a person goes blind somewhere around the world, and every minute a child goes blind. Even more disturbing is the fact that two out of three people who are blind are women and girls; most of them living in areas of developing countries where they have limited and unequal access to sight restoring services.

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