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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To Lumbini, With Love
Volunteer U.S. doctors train eye care staff in Nepal

When ophthalmologists Dr. Neal Shorstein and Dr. Naveen Chandra took a break from their hectic schedules at Kaiser-Permanente Hospital in Walnut Creek, California, they spent a week volunteering at the Lumbini Eye Care Program in Nepal, one of Seva's flagship programs.

Neal and Naveen had heard great things about the work being done at Lumbini, but seeing it firsthand still took them by surprise.

"It's one thing to hear about the program," says Naveen, "but when I actually saw the magnitude of what they do — such a small staff treating huge numbers of patients, the techs doing all the optical exams, the doctors doing hundreds of surgeries a day — it was just staggering.  The energy and passion they bring to their work is so inspiring."

"We were tremendously impressed with the expertise of the staff," Neal adds.  "The surgeons are highly skilled, and the entire staff is doing a great job.  And it's not just the sheer volume of patients they serve that's so amazing — it's the sensitive and caring way they treat each one of those patients.  That was wonderful to see."

Lumbini is a great example of Seva's approach to developing sustainable solutions that take root and grow. A key aspect of that approach involves investing in local people — training them to provide care for their own communities, and then supporting them in training others. Seva's volunteer program is one way we do that.

Collaborative Planning Works Best
"Seva doesn't present volunteers with predetermined objectives," explains Dr. Chundak Tenzing, Seva's Sight Program Director. "Our program partners have the best understanding of their own needs, and our volunteers know best how they can be of service. What we do is serve as a bridge between our programs and potential volunteers. We help them collaborate directly — then together, they can devise projects that really make an impact."

"The staff in Berkeley gave us a great orientation and put us in touch with the staff at Lumbini," Naveen recalls. "We developed a lively e-mail exchange and put together an agenda for our visit. It made for a very productive week, rather than just showing up and not understanding what was really needed."

"That meant we could teach what we do best," says Neal. "Naveen and I are primarily phacoemulsification surgeons, which means we use special ultrasound equipment. Not many hospitals in developing countries have phaco machines yet, but Lumbini does. They have several faculty members trained in phacoemulsification, but they were looking for more hands-on guidance — so we were delighted to provide them with exactly the kind of training they wanted."

Never Go Empty Handed!
Neal and Naveen arrived at Lumbini loaded down with over $36,000 worth of supplies and equipment. "The staff told us their needs," Naveen explained, "so we just started talking with the manufacturers and suppliers we know, and they came through with some wonderful donations." So did Neal and Naveen, who purchased some of the supplies themselves.

"So there we were," Neal recalls with a laugh, "going through customs loaded down with all this gear and supplies, including a dozen human corneas for transplanting — and schlepping this giant box with a diode laser we brought from the Seva office in Berkeley. We got some funny looks and raised a few eyebrows, but it all went through without a hitch."

Inspired by Lumbini's Success
Since their return, Neal and Naveen have kept in touch with the Lumbini staff, following up with post-op patient management and answering questions. Neal also hosted a visit from Dr. Sonam Dupdul of Seva's program in Tibet, arranging for Sonam to visit his operating room at Kaiser Permanente to observe modern surgical techniques.

"In the end, we felt we received more than we gave," said Naveen. "This is why we went into medicine in the first place! To be able to help at a grassroots level, and to see people who are so grateful for the benefits of the work — it makes me re-energized and passionate about what I can do next."

"I like to put my money where my mouth is," adds Neal, "so as soon as I got back, I immediately sent a donation to Seva. Then I sent an e-mail to all the ophthalmologists I know, asking them to consider making a donation. I said that I've seen firsthand where the money goes — and I can personally tell you it's going to very good use."


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