Spirit of Service

Letter from the Executive Director

Ram Dass' life taught many of us that when we get lost in service, in giving to others love, kindness, and compassion, we become closer as humankind. He was one of the north stars behind Seva's vision for over 40 years, and his legacy lives on in what we do every day.

At the end of January, we celebrated his life at a memorial service in San Francisco, the same venue where almost fifty years ago, he gave a series of lectures that became part of his seminal book Be Here Now. It was an evening of love, joy, reflection, and service, all qualities that Ram Dass exemplified throughout his life.

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Donor Shout-outs!

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Curt Hill is CEO of an innovative medical billing service that works exclusively with ophthalmologists. Rich Gosse has an extremely varied and interesting career but his most ardent passion is in helping others find love. Jahanara Romney and her husband, the world-famous peace activist Wavy Gravy, were among the original founders of the Seva.

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Valentine's Day: Love at First Sight

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In many low-income countries, marriage is an extremely important economic issue. Families need to pool their resources through marriages, so that their children, when they grow up, can strike out on their own and foster new generations. But if a young person has a sight-impairing condition, finding a spouse can be difficult. Conditions like cataract, strabismus, or trachoma often carry with them social stigmas, and can seriously limit a person's ability to provide for a family.

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World Sight Day Stories

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Maria Alejandra Ambrosio is a 60-year old mother living in Guatemala City. She sold chickens for a living. However, one day she noticed that her sight was becoming blurry – and it wasn't getting better. It made it difficult for her to go out and buy new chickens for her business, or weigh them so she could accurately price her wares. Eventually she couldn't do basic household chores, like doing the laundry or cooking. Before long, it was too difficult for her to even walk without assistance. Maria knew she needed help, but how could she hope to afford the care she needed?

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Synergy Series

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On October 17, Seva hosted the Synergy Series, an intimate series of discussions among eye care professionals, paraprofessionals, and volunteers. Doctors, researchers, activists, nonprofit workers, and volunteers traveled from far and wide to attend the talks at Berkeley’s David Brower Center. The overarching topic for discussion: "How do we get eye care to overlooked populations across the globe?" Now that Seva has celebrated its 40th anniversary, and served over 5 million people worldwide, where does the organization go next? How do we further hone our programs to serve isolated, and marginalized people around the globe?

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Hiking for Sight

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Seva's supporters have been holding Hike for Sight fundraisers for almost 40 years! From Waterton International Peace Park, Alberta, Canada, to New Mexico in 1981 and the Pacific Crest Trail in 2019.

"It wasn't until I started raising awareness for Seva that I truly reflected on the importance of sight throughout this journey. Not only for navigation and logistics, but there are days out there where it really is nature's beauty that encourages you to keep trekking," recalls Joe Gettler.

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