Seva News

“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


"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 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

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Ama's Story
ama video.jpg
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
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
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...
We asked Dr. Chundak Tenzing, Seva's Sight Program Director: "What does 'Seva' Mean to you?

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Sight in Cambodia
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
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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The Launch of A New Initiative!

For over 30 years, Seva Foundation's Native American program has addressed a broad range of community issues from cultural preservation to educational and economic development, conservation, and health and wellness. This year, we are proud to announce the launch of a new focus, the American Indian Sight Initiative (AISI), a U.S. based program focused on addressing vision needs among Native Americans.

aisi_thumbEnews.jpgThis initiative stems from Seva's efforts to streamline our mission and tap into our global expertise in providing vision care, while still honoring our commitment to serving American Indians. There are many parallels between the eye health needs of Native Americans and the underserved communities we support around the world. Despite the existence of U.S. government supported tribal health programs, unmet eye health needs among our Native population are significant:

  • Only a minority of tribal health programs have an eye care provider on-site.
  • Tribal health programs that provide vision services do not have adequate funding, staffi ng, or equipment.
  • Due to their limited resources, most programs cannot conduct outreach activities, so providers must wait for patients to come into the clinic.
  • Language and other cultural barriers prevent American Indians from seeking eye care. Few eye care providers are American Indian.
  • Many American Indians cannot access existing eye care services due to limited incomes and transportation as well as long waiting lists.
  • Unless American Indians have insurance coverage, they must pay out of pocket for eyeglasses, which are still out of reach for many on a limited income.

American Indians are at greatest risk for diabetic eye disease, such as diabetic retinopathy, due to having the highest rates of diabetes among all racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. However, only half of American Indian diabetics get a recommended annual eye exam.

Seva Foundation's current focus is on expanding eye care services to Native populations living in California and New Mexico. We are exploring providing support for American Indian vision technician training, making glasses more affordable, and telemedicine opportunities in the provision of prescription eyeglasses and diabetic retinopathy screening.

School Screening Program in New Mexico

Seva Foundation and Helen Keller International's ChildSight® program are partners in a school screening initiative in the Gallup, New Mexico, area that provides students with professional vision screenings and, if needed, a pair of prescription eyeglasses, all at no cost to their families.

Native American children tend to have a higher rate of astigmatism, one of the three types of refractive errors, the others being nearsightedness and farsightedness. Astigmatism is caused by an irregular shape of the cornea or lens. In the 2012-2013 academic year, 5,209 students were screened and 1,501 (29%) were provided with a pair of prescription eyeglasses. In addition, 221 (4%) were referred for follow-up care. Compounding this high prevalence is the critical level of rural poverty within the Navajo Reservation. These vision screenings are a bright spot in a community where vision care is neither affordable nor accessible to the vast majority of families.

By providing children a free pair of eyeglasses, we're not only providing them with ability to see clearly we're also giving them back their potential to learn, to earn a living, and to engage with the world.

Related Articles

Native American Vision

Seva's Native American Vision focuses on the most common and treatable eye health issues found in American Indian communities. We work with our partners to increase access to eye screenings, eyeglasses, and eye care.

JoVonna Rosetta: American Indian College Fund Student of the Year

JoVonna Rosetta grew up on the Santo Domingo Pueblo near Santa Fe, New Mexico. After losing her glasses halfway through high school, she was unable to cover the cost of a new pair. Without glasses, JoVonna's grades suffered. "I was sitting in the front row and still couldn't see the board," she laughs, recalling her teacher's solution to sit next to a classmate who takes good notes.

Listen to Interview with Jack Blanks on Santa Fe Public Radio

Santa Fe Public Radio recently interviewed Seva's Executive Director, Jack Blanks, about the launch of our new Native American Vision. The podcast of this interview is available online and we invite you to learn more about this exciting new initiative serving Native American communities throughout New Mexico.

Native American Vision: Training the Next Generation of American Indian Eye Health Professionals

For over 30 years, Seva and our donors have been committed to improving the health and wellbeing of American Indian communities throughout the United States.

The Launch of Seva's Native American Vision

For over 30 years, Seva Foundation's Native American program has been providing support to Native American communities. This year, we are proud to announce the launch of a new focus, the Native American Vision, a U.S. based program focused on addressing vision needs among Native Americans.

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