Thank you to everyone who attended Seva Canada’s 35th Anniversary Annual General Meeting (AGM) in December at the Creekside Community Recreation Centre. This year’s special guests were Dr. Asim Kumar Sil and Dr. Namrata Adulkar from India and Dr. Manisha Shrestha from Nepal.

The evening began with a thank you from Board Chair Laura Spencer to the Seva Canada community for their outstanding support of Seva’s work providing accessible eye care to people in need. After Norm Grdina presented the Auditor’s Report, Karen Chalmers was welcomed to Seva Canada’s Board of Directors and we said goodbye to long-time Board members Susan Erdmann and Nancy Mortifee. Susan has dedicated 16 years and countless hours to Seva and her unwavering passion will be dearly missed. Nancy also retired from the Board after 11 years of service including five years as Board Chair. We will miss her compassion and leadership.

Former Board Member Susan Ermann

Susan Erdmann © Amber Dukart

AGM attendees then enjoyed a moving short film showcasing Seva Canada’s milestones over the past 35 years. The film featured co-founders Drs. Bev Spring and Alan Morinis, Board member Dr. Marty Spencer, Program Director Dr. Ken Bassett and Executive Director Penny Lyons. The video highlighted Seva Canada’s origin story and the ways in which Seva donors have helped to improve and transform eye care worldwide.

Following the film, Penny took the stage to describe the advances Seva donors have funded over the years – from determining the leading cause of blindness and developing community-based ophthalmology programs to lowering the cost of surgery and training countless eye care professionals and advocates. Penny also discussed the newly released blindness statistics, estimating that due to the aging and growing population, the number of people who are blind is set to increase from 36 million to 115 million by 2050 if access to treatment isn't improved and increased dramatically. The majority will be women, and most certainly girls.

Our work isn’t done yet. Together we will to continue our efforts to achieve our vision of a world in which no one is needlessly blind or visually impaired.

To watch the video and read Penny’s speech, visit:

The evening concluded with a lively panel discussion with our honoured guests. Dr. Sil shared inspiring stories of his work providing eye care to people in rural West Bengal.

ED Penny Lyons with panelists at AGM

ED Penny Lyons with panellists (Left to Right) Dr. Manisha Shrestha, Dr. Asim Kumar Sil and Dr. Namrata Adulkar     © Deanne Berman

Dr. Adulkar and Dr. Shrestha, both in Vancouver to do fellowships, (Oculoplastics and Orbital Surgery and Pediatrics respectively), each shared their motivations for pursuing careers in ophthalmology and the impact that their fellowships will have on eye care in their home countries.

The evening would not have been possible without the help of our outstanding volunteers: Becci, Stéphane and Dawn. Thank you for your hard work and dedication – you are superstars!

See more photos from the evening here:

Please join us in the Fall at our 2018 Annual General Meeting on November 16th at Van Dusen Gardens.