Experience music by Jim Byrnes, food, entertainment and conversation all without your sense of sight. Seva Canada, an international development organization based in Vancouver, is celebrating World Sight Day on October 10, 2013 with a fundraising event where guests dine in complete darkness.  Every ticket purchased will provide a cataract surgery for someone who is needlessly blind in one of the poorest parts of the world.

Diners will join Seva for an evening of discovery at Vancouver’s most unique new restaurant, Dark Table. They’ll experience dinner served by Dark Table’s visually impaired staff, a special live performance by legendary blues artist and Juno award-winner Jim Byrnes, and a blind auction, all without their sense of sight. Prior to bidding, guests will be able to touch, hear, and smell items brought back from some of the countries where Seva works.

“It’s a really engaging and entertaining way for our guests to get a sense of what it might be like to be blind while gaining awareness of this global issue. Avoidable blindness is a solvable problem. We have the answers; the suffering is unnecessary. 80% of all visual impairment is avoidable through prevention, treatment or cure. We want to empower Canadians to join us in establishing long-term sustainable solutions to end avoidable blindness and visual impairment,” said Penny Lyons, Seva Canada Executive Director.

285 million people worldwide are visually impaired. Of those, 39 million are blind with 90% living in low-income countries struggling for life’s most basic needs. Two out of three are women and girls. Just $50 covers the cost of a 15-minute sight-restoring cataract surgery, $10 provides a pair of glasses and only $2.50 treats an infection that could lead to blindness. Seva has been working for over 30 years to restore sight and prevent blindness in the developing world and has given the power of sight to over 3.5 million of the world’s most marginalized people. “Seva Canada’s unique approach to international development is based on community ophthalmology; empowering the people and communities where we work so that eye care in the community is done for and by the community.

Seva focuses on achieving long-term change to improve people’s lives and communities now and in the future. Success to us is when foreign intervention is no longer needed. It involves a lot of planning, coordination with local partners, and ongoing research. The goal is to build local capacity and sustainability through training local doctors and providing technology and supplies so that the work continues on an on-going basis even after Seva is no longer involved,” said Dr. Ken Bassett, Program Director of Seva Canada. The event is being generously sponsored by Assante Wealth Management / CI Investments and Dynamic Funds.

About World Sight Day (WSD): Established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, World Sight Day is an international day of awareness, held annually on the second Thursday of October, to focus attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. It is part of Vision 2020, which raises awareness of our goal to end avoidable blindness in the world by the year 2020.

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