Letter from the Executive Director

In any crisis, leaders must balance two equally important responsibilities: solve the immediate problem and keep it from happening again. The COVID-19 pandemic is a case in point. The world medical community needs to save lives now while also improving the way we respond to outbreaks in general. The first keeps most of us up at night, and the latter has crucial long-term consequences.

The long-term challenge – improving the word's systemic ability to respond to outbreaks – isn't new. Seva Founder Dr. Larry Brilliant's own TedTalk in 2006 warned the global community that another pandemic whose speed and severity rivaled those of the 1918 influenza epidemic was a matter not of if but of when. While we don't know the future, we know COVID-19 is reshaping the world and our lives every single day.

Seva's role in the eye-care ecosystem over the past 40 years has been to build the community trust and the world-class systems that may help in this emerging world scenario – especially for those most overlooked. What might this mean for our work moving forward? It is true, our staff and partners face uncertainty. It is also true that Seva staff and partners face this uncertainty with the strength of Seva's steadfast commitment to compassion in action. We continue to work tirelessly with our partners around the world to deliver programs that transform lives by restoring sight. We keep the safety of staff and patients as a top priority. 

Our work does not stop. The need for Seva's work is more important than ever before. 

This newsletter will give you an overview of all that our network has accomplished this year, and the big ideas that are coming. Read on to learn about the new clinics our partners have opened serving the most needy in Bangladesh. Read about the new "What Can You Do With $50?" video from the legendary rapper and vision care advocate Bowlegged Lou. Find out about country music star Corey Smith's new song about losing his vision, and his journey towards regaining his sight. And learn about the wonderful B.B. King tribute concert at the Capitol Theater, benefiting Seva and hosted by our own founder Wavy Gravy. I hope these stories, songs, and videos brighten your day. 

Above: Photograph of Seva co-founder Wavy Gravy on stage for the B.B. King tribute concert at the Capitol Theater, NY.

We are all in this together. The way through this is together. Stay healthy, safeguard the health of others around you, and keep the disease from spreading around your community. When we do, the Seva-systems and community built on the principle of selfless service will be there. 

Keep calm and Seva-on,

Kate Moynihan
Executive Director

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