Thirty-five years ago, Seva’s founders had a vision – a world in which no one is needlessly blind or visually impaired. They partnered with a man from India, Dr. Venkataswamy (Dr. V), who also had a vision - an alternative healthcare model providing low-cost, high-quality, self-sustaining eye care accessible by everyone regardless of income. Those who could pay subsidized those who could not. Dr. V founded Aravind Eye Hospital by turning his former home in Madurai into an 11-bed hospital. Since then, with the support of our donors, Seva Canada has revolutionized eye care worldwide. Thanks to you, we have:
- Determined that cataracts are the leading cause of blindness
- Discovered that 2 out of 3 of the world's blind were women and girls
- Introduced innovative surgical techniques for use in remote areas
- Evolved Dr. V’s model of eye care in over 15 countries with local partners
- Opened offices in Nepal, Cambodia and the Tibetan Areas of China
- Lowered the cost of surgery so most people can afford to pay
- Trained countless eye care professionals and advocates
Here’s a glimpse of what two days of restoring sight and preventing blindness looks like today.
- Hari Thapa, an optometrist and pediatric refraction expert from Lumbini Eye Institute in Nepal, took his research findings to a conference in the Netherlands to argue for more support for people in his country marginalized and undertreated for ocular albinism.
- Priya Adhiseshan, a young, female, pediatric program director and Fulbright Scholar returned home to India to start the pilot phase of a study testing the value of presbyopic (reading) glasses on the productivity of field workers picking tea in Assam.
- Dr. Vivian Yin, a Seva Canada Board Member and University of British Columbia, Department of Ophthalmology faculty member, attended the national meeting of the Canadian Ophthalmology Society and used the findings from her population-based survey of eye conditions in a central zone of Nepal to advocate passionately for improved access to eye care for women and girls worldwide.
- Roshan Bista, a Seva Cambodia staff member, documented and reported on how many patients accessed community-based eye care – put in place to service over 80% of the rural population’s ongoing needs - for the first time.
- Richard Rasoloniaina, a Community Outreach Coordinator in Madagascar, reported on a full year of his program’s new pediatric outreach strategy, where close to 2,000 children were referred by local community members to an eye care professional for the first time.
This is just two days of the 35 years we have restored sight and prevented blindness together. Two days of work from the thousands of work days you have supported through your donations, your volunteer hours and your belief in our shared vision – a world in which no one is needlessly blind or visually impaired. We aren’t done yet. There is still lots of work to be done to realize our vision. We know that with your support, it will become a reality.
Our thanks to you,
Seva Canada’s Board and Staff