Where to Listen?
You can listen to The Power of Sight podcast on your favourite app or streaming service or click on the icon beside each episode below.
In this first episode we look at “why sight” is at the forefront of Seva Canada’s mission. Almost everyone will need access to eye care services during their lifetime. Seva, an international development organization, has restored the sight of over 5 million people and helped prevent and treat visual impairment for millions more in low- and middle-income countries.
Sight is so much more than just good vision. For many in low- and middle-income countries, blindness and visual impairment means poverty and loss of opportunity. When you give the power of sight, you also give access to education, employment and the foundation for a better life.
1.1 billion people live with vision loss and 90% live in low- and middle-income countries where access to care is limited. And the need is growing. Estimates predict that by 2050, due to an ageing and growing population, vision loss will increase by 55% or 600 million people! Unless there is significant investment current eye care services worldwide are unlikely to cope with future needs.
“As in most of the countries, in Nepal, blindness is a big issue, but what I see different is the care that is provided in developed countries and support you have. We don't have that in this country.” Parami Dakhwa, Seva Nepal Program Manager
In part two of this series we look at the importance of ensuring development with dignity in Seva Canada’s pursuit of providing quality eye care to people in low and middle-income countries around the world.
As writer and international development researcher Jonathan Glennie said “Dignity is perhaps the one thing that human beings across the globe, in myriad different contexts, most instinctively recognize and long for.” Well intentioned, foreign-led development in low and middle income countries continue to leave behind unintended consequences that can be wasteful and even detrimental.
Seva Canada recognizes that fostering dignity among its partners, giving leadership roles, autonomy to make decisions, and equity in achieving development, isn’t simply measured by the growth of programs and the number of eye patients successfully served. More importantly, development must advance human dignity both for local eye care professionals and the very poor people they often serve.
Can dignity be measured? No, but everyone recognizes it when it is afforded to us.
Everyone, regardless of where they live, their income, religion, gender and sex, deserve access to high-quality eye care. Seva Canada and its donors believe everyone deserves an equal right to sight.
The majority of the world's blind are women and girls, a fact that was discovered by Seva Canada-supported research. All eye care programs supported by Seva Canada help women and girls overcome barriers to accessing eye care; barriers that include a lack of awareness, access to financial resources, fear of a poor outcome and limited decision-making power within the household.
When everyone, including women and girls, can see and are able to lead healthy, productive lives, they can help lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Entire communities have a chance of a better, brighter future.