SAVITRI – India

You gave this girl a chance to give back.

Savitri, a 12-year-old girl from Rajpur, India, loves to cook and play games and her favorite subject at school is science. Though eager to learn, she struggled to see the blackboard, falling behind in class and relying on friends’ notes.

Vision loss robs priceless time from children. Kids who cannot see fall behind in school, often face being shunned by their peers, and have to grow up more quickly. Vision loss can also lead to delays in their early development, impacting their learning to crawl, walk and even talk.

Your support enabled Savitri to receive a pair of eyeglasses free of cost and today she’s back to excelling in school.

90 million children and adolescents still live with vision impairment today.

Savitri aspires to become a doctor and give back to her community!

NELLY – Guatemala

Nelly can play ball with confidence now.

Nelly?is a bubbly 5-year-old girl who loves to play soccer. She has dealt with visual problems since birth.

When she was 11 months old, her mother took her to Esquintla Vision Center in Guatemala, where she received her first pair of glasses to get her through until she was old enough to undergo an operation.

At age five, Nelly received surgery to correct strabismus, improving her eyesight by 80%. When she is old enough to have the second surgery, her vision will be fully corrected.

Today, Nelly can play ball with confidence (and without tripping) and has better focus in her everyday life. With the strides she’s made, Nelly’s mom is hopeful she can start studying next year.

MALIK FAMILY – India

Four generations of the Malik family can see again.

Four generations of the Malik family from West Bengal, India were born with congenital cataracts. Work, school, and everyday life for the entire family was shrouded in a blur.

Sarama, 62, was born with congenital cataracts – a genetic condition. Like her mother and siblings, she could barely see. She’s had a series of accidents; once, while walking in the field, she held up a snake thinking it was a dried coconut leaf. Sarama’s two sons and two grandsons also lived with cataracts.

But your motivation to create change helped lift Sarama and her family from darkness. Through our partner in the region, Sarama, her sons, and grandsons were all provided with sight-restoring cataract surgery. Practically overnight, each of their lives changed. “I can see so clearly! I can even see tiny insects now for the first time in my life!” exclaimed Sarama. “I cannot express how happy I am!”

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EVERLY – USA

A girl in focus at the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic.

Native Americans suffer disproportionately from higher rates of preventable and treatable eye conditions due to a lack of access to affordable, quality eye care.

Four-year-old Everly struggled to focus or complete her schoolwork – her mom became worried.

Through one of Seva’s Native American Vision partners in the USA, she was diagnosed with hyperopia, a condition where one eye becomes weaker over time if not treated.

Your support provided Everly with the care necessary to put her life back into focus and help to make her future a lot brighter.

With local partners in New Mexico, Alaska, Washington, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, we are reducing the barriers to quality eye care in Native American communities.

NARI – Cambodia

Nari’s glasses are her favorite thing.

Nari and her family live in an area of Cambodia which floods seasonally – so much so that the entire village is built on stilts. In the rainy season the paths through the village become traversable only by a boat. Nari’s mother told us it’s very dangerous to be blind in their village – you could fall into the river or off of a tall building because everything is built above the high water level.

When Nari started having constant tears in her eyes, her mother took her to the hospital in Siem Reap. With Seva’s support, Nari received medicine and her first pair of glasses. Her mother says that the glasses have not only helped Nari feel more comfortable, they have also allowed her mother to worry less about her daughter’s safety and she now has more time to take care of the whole family.

She told us that Nari loves her glasses so much that the only time she’s without them is when she takes a shower. The whole family is grateful to supporters like you for helping their little Nari toward a brighter future.

KEHKASHA – India

From dream to vision: a 17 year old girl's story.

“We always had to ensure she reached school early, so she could get the front-row seats. And even then, she had trouble reading from the blackboard,” says Kehkasha’s father.

For a seventeen year old, the world is full of joy, growth, and endless possibilities for a bright future. But at seventeen, Kehkasha’s life was put on pause. She had developed cataracts in both her eyes the year before, and her biggest dreams of receiving an education and finding a career to support her family became near impossible.

Your support allowed Kehkasha to get sight-saving surgery at a local Seva sponsored eye hospital.

Today, she’s back in the classroom with a clear view of the blackboard and her future is once again full of endless possibilities!

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SANDHYA – Nepal

You helped bring her vision to life!

Sandhya Dhittal, a 15-year-old girl from Bohore, Nepal, is bright beyond her years. She’s at the top of her class, loves studying English, and dreams of being a nurse – she wants to improve the health conditions of her village. Family-oriented, after school she supports her family’s business and tends to the crops they grow.

As beaming as Sandhya’s future is, it all came to a standstill when her vision deteriorated. Without clear sight, she would be unable to continue her education to become a nurse. Our Youth Outreach Team conducted a screening camp at her school and her worries were quickly put to rest. She was diagnosed with presbyopia and refractive error, and our team immediately helped her get the care she needed.

Today, Sandhya is back with clear vision, studying, spending time with her family, and preparing for her future. Thanks to you, nothing can stop her!

FATIK – India

Fatik can now provide for his family again.

As a farmer, sight is everything for Fatik Gayen. A father of three in India, when Fatik's vision deteriorated, his life was put at standstill. It affected his income, ability to work, and his family life.

He tried to access care, but he could not afford it. “I cannot see clearly. Once, I went to the local doctor who advised me for a cataract operation, but I have no money for it.” he devastatingly shared.

Upon hearing about an Outreach Eye Camp at our partner Sundarban Eye Hospital, Fatik was provided with transportation to and from the hospital and also received a cataract surgery free of cost, through your generosity.?

We asked Fatik, how will your life change now that you can see? “Now I have started all activities. After one month, I have started a kitchen garden, farming, cultivating the field, operating machine vans, and poultry rearing. Gradually the income of my family has increased." His life didn't just change – it transformed.

Fatik – and Seva – are most grateful to you. “I am grateful to the Eye Hospital of SSDC and the Seva Foundation for free cataract operation, and the transportation for before and after the operation."

MERCEDES – Peru

The best birthday gift for Mercedes.

Mercedes is a 28-year-old single mother of three living in Areguá, Paraguay.

She is budding with dreams, but living with blindness for over ten years due to cataract made each day more difficult than the next. It was a challenge for her to find work and when she did, she faced constant discrimination and bullying due to the visible difference in her eyes. This made it very difficult to put food on the table for her young children.

After years of hardship and self-esteem issues, Mercedes received the Seva-sponsored cataract surgery she needed. Your generosity helped Mercedes regain her vision – on her birthday!

Instantly and profoundly, her life changed. She now shows up confidently as her whole self and is living a new chapter of her life with a renewed spirit of accomplishment and joy.

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HAPPINESS – Tanzania

Happiness conquers fear!

One of the most detrimental barriers to people receiving critical eye care is fear of the unknown. People living in rural areas, particularly in low-income countries, often do not know how or where to find treatment when their vision starts to fail, and they don’t know what the outcome will be for them when they do receive access to resources.

Meet Happiness Tuvana, Program Manager at Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO), Seva’s partner in Tanzania. Happiness’s kind, soft- spoken demeanor is perfect for reassuring fearful patients.

“‘What will they do to my eyes? Will I be totally blind?’” she says, channeling patients’ fears. “They say, ‘Cataract surgery, at my age? No, let me die the way I am.’”

Having an empathetic person like Happiness perform outreach is essential to the work you support through Seva. She counsels patients and family members about the benefits of eye care and talks them through their fears.

Watch her video here.

PABLITO – Guatemala

Pablito now has a lifetime of opportunity.

Pablito, a boy who lives in Guatemala, suffered from congenital cataracts since he was born. At school he couldn’t see the blackboard and had to get up from his desk to write his homework. He couldn’t play like other children because he was afraid of falling or hitting something he couldn’t see.

Thanks to donors like you, a Seva partner hospital in Guatemala was able to provide help. They provided Pablito with cataract surgery free of charge. He can see clearly now and play care-free with his siblings and friends.

Now he is a child with more confidence in himself – he can see the blackboard without problems and according to his teacher, he is having a much easier time at school.

By helping children like Pablito see again, you give them a chance at an education, a way out of poverty, and a lifetime of opportunity.

SHAKEELA – Pakistan

This 14 year old girl can see a brighter future!

“I have found a new life,” proclaims Shakeela Bibi. “For me, sight is everything. It brought back my dignity and independence.”

For most of her life, Shakeela did not realize she had a vision problem. A 14-year old girl living in Pakistan, Shakeela had to drop out of school after two years because she could not keep up with her peers. She had trouble seeing the blackboard and would copy off of other students’ notes instead.

As she grew older, her vision got worse. Her mother had passed away, and her father, a popcorn salesman, had to care for her when he wasn’t at work.

Luckily, a woman in her community suggested that she visit a local Seva sponsored eye care center. Shakeela took her advice and learned that she had a cataract in one of her eyes and received free cataract surgery thanks to the generosity of donors like you.

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AHMADI – Tanzania

100 years young!

Ahmadi Mtizi is a 100-year-old maize farmer from Tanzania, and thanks to donors like you, he can see again.

Maize farming is a tough job, regardless of age. Ahmadi, still strong at 100 years, took pride in caring for his family. However, when he began to lose his vision he also lost his ability to provide for his family.

Ahmadi soon learned of Seva’s local vision screening camp, where he was diagnosed with a cataract. Thanks to a local Seva partner clinic, he happily returned the next day for sight-restoring surgery at no cost to him.

After the surgery, when the doctors removed his eyepatch, Ahmadi was spellbound. “I am very happy. Very happy,” he said in English.

Today he tends to his crops, provides for his family, and continues to live independently and with dignity thanks to your support.

PARMILA – Nepal

"Selfless mother" helping women in Nepal.

Meet Parmila, known as the “selfless mother” by the women of one of the most remote river island settlements in eastern Nepal.

Parmila is part of the Female Community Health Volunteers (FCVH) in Nepal, a committed group of individuals who conduct health outreach efforts for those in need. Our Youth Team approached FCVH to integrate eye care services within their efforts. Respected and trusted by the local community and understanding their health needs, Parmila helped our Youth Team set up counseling sessions, run awareness camps, and conduct door-to-door screening for women. She made everyone feel at ease while receiving high-quality care. After just the first round of screening, 15 women received successful surgeries and now live bright, confident lives!

Because of her bravery, will, and determination, the health condition of women in her community has improved exceptionally – she is a hero to them and us!

Read more of her story here.

SALINGU – Tanzania

Salingu got some wonderful news!

Three years ago Salingu’s good fortune began to fade. His vision was failing and he was desperate.

Getting around in the countryside is hard when you can’t see. With no car and one bus a day he couldn’t get to the doctor on his own. When it rained he couldn’t get anywhere because the dirt roads flooded. One of his children had to quit farming and stay home to take care of him.

He felt isolated and helpless.

His children heard that an eye screening team would be visiting the area. At the Seva supported hospital in Singida, Tanzania he received cataract surgery to restore his sight.

At last he could see his grandson’s face.

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SAISIRI – India

Saisiri has a bright future ahead of her.

Saisiri is one of the many technicians who are now financially independent because of Seva's Vision Center program. Just a few years ago, she was an orphan living in Hyderabad, India. She wanted to pursue higher education but had no one to help her pay for it.

One day she went to the LV Prasad Eye Institute to get her eyes checked. While there, she asked for a job. The staffer who examined her told her about the free technician course, so Saisiri took the entrance exam and passed!

After she completed the one-year course, she had a stable well paying job at the Vision Center – and a job that helped improve the lives of people in her community

“If I had not gone to the hospital and done the course, my studies would have stopped. I am so happy. I can now stand on my own feet.”
– Saisiri

MILKA – Burundi

Milka has a bright future ahead of her.

Three-year-old Milka lives in a village in the small, war-torn country of Burundi just south of Rwanda. When Milka started walking at age 1, she didn't progress the way most children do and kept bumping into things.

An outreach worker told Milka's mother about a Seva-supported eye clinic in Bujumbura, Burundi's largest city. Her mother had never traveled to the city, but she put Milka in her fanciest dress and made the journey. At the eye clinic, Milka was seen by Dr. Levi Kandeke, Burundi's sole pediatric ophthalmologist who relies on NGOs like Seva to provide funding so he can take care of the many children with vision problems but whose families cannot afford eye care.

Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, Milka was diagnosed with severe nearsightedness and received a pair of pretty pink eyeglasses that correct her vision. Milka will be able to attend Kindergarten this fall and make the most of her education with clear vision.

Read more of Milka's story here.

EUSEBIO – Guatemala

Photo by Rebecca Gaal

Helping a hero!

Eusebio Caal Ichich, a dedicated husband and father, has worked as a firefighter in Guatemala for more than 16 years. A few years ago, he noticed his vision started to fade. Eusebio had cataracts in each eye – a devastating problem for a firefighter. As he did not have access to proper vision care, he could not find treatment. His supervisors demoted him – first transferring him to a desk job fielding phone calls, then making him a janitor when his eyesight became too impaired for that. When his vision deteriorated further, they simply fired him.

Fortunately, Eusebio heard of a Seva partner hospital, the Vincent Pescatore Eye Clinic. Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, he received surgeries on both eyes. After a quick, safe, and inexpensive procedure, he could see, in his words, "as good as new again."

When Eusebio regained his sight, he also regained a sense of purpose. Today, he is back to serving his community and saving lives as a firefighter.

Read more of Eusebio's story here.

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MOLLY – Uganda

What a Difference New Glasses Can Make

Molly Atim arrived at the Eye Screening Camp in the village of Amolatar in Northern Uganda after hearing about it on the radio and a friend recommended she attend the camp.

Unable to read or write due to compromised vision since 2013, Molly couldn't tear her eyes away from the laminated paper patients receive to test their prescriptions during eye exams.

After Molly was fitted for glasses, she had an unwavering smile across her face and told Seva staff, "I am very grateful. I am very happy now. I can now see, I can now read."

See more of Molly's story here.

WENDY – Guatemala

It is much easier now to read, to run and play. I can jump! I am happy now!

A very nervous mother brought her 9-year old daughter Wendy to a screening camp in rural Guatemala. Wendy had traumatic cataract caused by an injury to her eye at age 4.

After cataract surgery, she was fitted with a pair of prescription glasses, Wendy's follow-up exam showed that her vision had come back nicely and the surgery had been a great success! With vision restored, Wendy can now see clearly and is excited to be returning to school where her favorite subject is math. Wendy's future has been transformed thanks to Seva's services.

Read more of Wendy's story here.

SUNGA AND HIS DAUGHTERS – Himalaya

In a remote area of Himalaya a man named Sunga had 4 daughters. All of them were blind from cataracts.

The single father faced a heartbreaking decision; he could only afford to bring 3 of the girls to the Seva eye camp for cataract removal. The youngest daughter insisted that her older sisters get treatment, but once left home alone, she broke down and wept.

Upon learning that there was another blind daughter, a Seva staff member hired a motorcycle to travel the 75km to find her and bring her to the camp.

At the Seva eye camp all 4 sisters received cataract surgery. Nothing could take the smiles off their faces of the hope they felt for the first time in their lives.

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ABDUL – India

Three years ago Abdul's eyesight began to fade and he eventually went blind.

As a tailor, he could not work or support his family. A Seva outreach camp in rural West Bengal, India found cataracts in both eyes. He was able to have the surgery that restored his vision.

That was just the beginning of his incredible story. He wanted to help others so when he returned home he spread the word about his success. Amazingly Abdul gathered 18 people from his community and brought them to the hospital where he would receive surgery on his other eye and his friends would also have their sight restored.

Read more of Abdul's story here.

PARBATI, MAYA, AND GANGA – Nepal

All had been blind and now all could see.

Parbati stared at the concrete ceiling. She tried to stay calm and still. A doctor gently touched her shoulder and told her everything would be okay. And then, in just 15 minutes, it was over. Parbati, once blind, had received the life-changing cataract surgery that restored her sight.

The next morning, Parbati stood under the soaring pine trees of a Nepali mountainside. She was with Maya, her elderly mother-in-law, and Ganga, her 23-year-old daughter. All three women had been blind. Now they could all see.

For so many years, these three women from three generations of the same family suffered the burden of blindness.

The change to their lives was miraculous. Parbati, Maya, and Ganga can now live their lives to their full potential.

EDINA – Tanzania

She could see her husband smiling from across the room.

Edina Mboje began losing her vision in 2012.

She and her husband owned a restaurant in central Tanzania, but they were forced to close it because she could no longer work. Her son stayed home from school to help with her basic tasks, and her husband took on the responsibilities of cooking and caring for their children.

After years of searching for help, Edina learned about a Seva-supported screening camp in rural Tanzania. The cause of Edina’s blindness was cataract. Transported to the regional hospital, a simple 15 minute surgery restored her sight.

The morning after surgery, Edina could see clearly for the first time in years! The family reopened their restaurant, and their lives have been forever transformed.

Watch the video and read more of Edina's story here.

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RATTANA AND FRIENDS – Cambodia

I am happy now! I can read books and my grades are better!

Rattana was a happy child and a good student. When she was 11, an eye injury caused her vision to deteriorate. She struggled in school as reading became more challenging.

Rattana required surgery to correct her vision – surgery that was performed at a Seva supported hospital. Soon after, a Seva-trained outreach team visited Rattana’s school to screen and test the vision of all 350 students and staff. Rattana was not alone in needing eye care. In all, 17 students and 4 teachers were fitted with prescription glasses that week. Now they can all see the writing on the board.

Read more of Rattana's story here.

DOÑA JULIA – Guatemala

Doña Julia was unable to see or do anything, she was completely dependent on her children to cook and care for her.

She lives in the remote area of the Petén in northern Guatemala.

Blinded by bilateral cataracts for over two years, the lively 84 year old woman was unaccustomed to spending her days alone in her house. Surgery to remove both cataract restored her vision and her independence. Doña Julia now cleans her own house, threads a sewing needle better than her daughter, makes her morning coffee, feeds her chickens and best of all, delights in seeing her grandchildren!

SHAMIMU - Tanzania

When doctors in Tanzania found Shamimu, age 5, she was almost blind from cataracts in both eyes.

The only way she could see to do her school work was to rest her chin on the page with her eyes as close to her pen as possible. Without treatment she faced a grim future.

Shamimu was very nervous about going to the hospital. Not understanding eye surgery, her friends told her that her eyes would be replaced with goat eyes!

But after sight-restoring cataract surgery at the Seva-sponsored Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Shamimu could see again. Happily she was able to return to school with new confidence and a brighter future.

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AMA – Nepal

Ama is happy feeding her animals and caring for her crops and family now that she has her vision.

When Ama was a young woman an accident damaged her left eye beyond repair. Years later she developed blinding cataract in her right eye. Ama attended the Seva eye camp at Taplejung in north-eastern Nepal and had successful cataract surgery. Every time there is a Seva eye camp in her area she hikes down from her home in the mountains to visit with the doctors and nurses who helped her see again and to express her thanks and gratitude.

On a visit to her well-cared for home she was proud to show us all the activities she now is able to do, such as feeding her animals and caring for her crops and family, now that she has her vision. We expect to be seeing her for many years to come!

Watch a short video about Ama's story.

VISHNU MAYA - Nepal

Vishnu Maya was finally able to see the mountains she was carried over.

Vishnu Maya had become bilaterally blind with cataract. All she could see was fuzzy white, like a constant fog.

She could not work, cook, or even walk without help.

Her son carried her on his back two days through the Himalayas so that she could attend the Num Seva Eye Camp. Two surgeries completely restored her vision.

Walking home with her son she was finally able to see the mountains she was carried over just a few days before.

Watch a short video about Vishnu Maya's story.

PIL SAM – Cambodia

When you give one person back their sight, you give at least two people back their lives.

First she could not see well, then it got worse and she could not see at all. Pil Sam became bilaterally blind with cataract. She would sometimes burn herself when cooking. Eventually her daughter was required to stay with her all the time and help her with even the most basic tasks that she used to do easily.

By chance a neighbor heard about free eye examinations at Siem Reap Referral Hospital and told her about it. Her daughter wanted her to go, but Pil Sam was very afraid. Eventually she agreed to go. Pil Sam's life was transformed with cataract surgery and her daughter's life was too!

Now she can visit the local pagoda and take care of her grandchildren. She is very grateful to Seva and to her daughter for convincing her to go!

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CHIRING LAMA HAITYA - Nepal

Chiring Lama Haitya lives in a village in Nepal with his wife, four daughters and two sons. In this harsh mountain environment survival depends on seeing.

Cataract began developing on both of Chiring's eyes. At a Seva eye camp he had cataract surgery on his right eye and was able to see to work. The cataract on his left eye eventually rendered him blind in that eye.

One day a neighbor told him of another Seva eye camp in Kaldhari and Chiring set off running. It took him five days to reach the camp.

Here he is after surgery on his left eye, which gave him full 20/20 vision. Chiring's smile says it all.

Fact: The number one cause of treatable blindness is cataract.

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