Seva - Compassion in Action
Your Compassion Can Change The World
Your Compassion Can Change The World
Your Compassion Can Change The World
Your Compassion Can Change The World
Seva News
Seva Foundation

"Seva's efforts create hope and happiness worldwide for so many people in difficult conditions. I've always been amazed and cheered by their good works and I've been very happy to help them in their fundraising efforts."

Bruce Hornsby
Singer / Songwriter

Seva Foundation

“We've always admired Seva's focus on serving indigenous people in the U.S. and around the world. Seva knows how to work with communities in ways that truly benefit those in need. We are honored to be involved with their mission and look forward to contributing to their efforts for years to come."

Tea Leaf Green
Musicians

Seva Foundation

“I congratulate Seva Foundation for the magnificent work they continue to do."

Odetta
Legendary Folk Singer

Seva Foundation

“Seva has given so much help to so many thousands of people for so many years — such a wonderful example of love in action.”

Bonnie Raitt
Singer / Songwriter

Seva Foundation

"For 30 years Seva has made an extraordinary contribution to the world — not only through their international programs, but here in some of the most impoverished communities in North America, on Native American reservations. Thank you Seva."

Jackson Browne
Singer / Songwriter

Seva Foundation

"Seva takes the impulse towards generosity and turns it into compassionate action that helps people in real need. I honor my friends and relations by giving to Seva in their name — the entire world benefits. I hope you'll join me."

Peter Coyote
Actor / Writer

Seva Foundation

"Compassion and caring for people in need - that's simply a moral necessity. But it's not always easy to do. Seva makes it easy. They know how to put your donations to work in ways that truly benefit people."

Joan Baez
Singer / Humanitarian Activist

Seva Foundation

"When we met the folks at Seva, we knew we were among kindred spirits, joining to bring people together in service to others. Whether preventing blindness in Nepal, assisting native peoples in Guatemala and Mexico, or helping our own Native Americans, Seva has been there to help alleviate suffering and improve people's lives. Long may they rock!"

Phil Lesh
The Grateful Dead

Ama's Story
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Two out of three people who are blind are women and girls. Your compassion restored Ama's eyesight, and is helping to increase access to eye care for women around the globe.

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A Seva Story
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This micro-documentary explains the origins of Seva and our work to prevent and cure blindness around the world.

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Let There Be Sight
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Witness a Seva Eye Camp in the Himalayas of Nepal. In Let There Be Sight, Seva donor Turk Pipkin chronicles his journey with a Seva medical team to a remote surgical eye camp in Nepal's Himalayas where hundreds of people had their vision restored. Special thanks to musician and long-time Seva supporter Jackson Browne for use of his song "Doctor My Eyes."

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What Does Seva Mean...
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We asked Dr. Chundak Tenzing, Seva's Sight Program Director: "What does 'Seva' Mean to you?

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Sight in Cambodia
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Many Cambodia children do not have access to eye care services. Seva trains Cambodian doctors and provides infastruction so that Cambodia can provide care to it's own citizens. Last year, over 70,000 children in Cambodia received eye examinations as a result of Seva's work. 1/2 of children who go blind in developing countries will die within the first year. By preventing and treating blindness, Seva provides opportunities for life to children around the world.

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For a Chance to See
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Dhana lives in one of the most isolated, impoverished villages on the planet, Bajura, Nepal, a stunning but unforgiving landscape he has not seen for five years. Dhana Kadka is blind due to cataracts. Despite this, he walked 10km through the rocky terrain of far west Nepal by feel and memory. Kadhka learned that a group of Seva-supported eye doctors were coming for a special visit. So he made the perilous journey on foot for the chance to see.

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Seeing a New Future in Cambodia
Seva helps build services to prevent and cure blindness

Think about this... In Cambodia, a country of nearly 14 million people, there are fewer than ten local ophthalmologists working today — and Seva Foundation helped train half of them.

That says a lot about the state of eye care services in a country still recovering from the ravages of wars that happened more than 30 years ago.  It also tells about the importance of Seva's role in building the infrastructure required to prevent and cure blindness among the people there.

Seva is working to fill a tremendous need. There are about 160,000 Cambodians who are blind — and as is true in nearly all poor, developing countries, 80% of this blindness is due to preventable and even curable conditions such as cataract.


Right now, there are about 90,000 Cambodian people of all ages with cataract blindness, and 22,000 new cases are added each year. But only 13,000 people per year are able to obtain sight-restoring surgery. Thousands of others are blind from similarly treatable conditions, and many suffer from low vision which could easily be corrected with glasses. Women are twice as likely to be blind as men due to an historic lack of access to eye care, a gender imbalance that is typical in many places around the world.

Seva Making a Difference
Thankfully, the situation is improving now that Seva is helping to build a new care center while strengthening the existing eye care services in three of Cambodia's neediest provinces: Battambang, Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey, all located in the northwest corner of the country. With technical and financial support from Seva, the number of cataract surgeries in Cambodia has doubled over the past five years, and the pace of progress is expected to accelerate.

"Cambodia lost so much during the war and conflict in recent years," explains Dr. Chundak Tenzing, Director of Seva's Sight Program. "Now, it's as though they have to rebuild their health care system infrastructure from the ground up. But there's already been real progress and we can see the way to keep improving."

A Comprehensive Approach
Dr. Tenzing explained that Seva is using the same strategies that have proven successful in building all of our programs. "We always focus on building partnerships with local organizations, including governmental agencies, other nonprofit groups, local clinics and the doctors there. And we also focus on building the local capacity of doctors and staff. Ultimately, they have to be able to provide the services themselves — they can't be dependent on outside help to care for all their patients."

Building Cambodia's eye care infrastructure requires a comprehensive approach, and Seva is working on multiple initiatives simultaneously, including:

Government Clinics The government operates eye clinics in every province, but lacks the resources needed to be fully effective. Seva provides funding and equipment for clinics in three northwestern provinces. We also provide subsidies that enable clinic doctors to supplement the low salaries provided by the government. Last year, over 6,500 people were examined, and about 900 patients received sight-restoring surgery at these clinics.

Battambang Ophthalmic Care Center Seva is the lead partner in launching this new eye care facility, which opened its doors in September 2007. With two ophthalmologists and a support staff of 14, the center conducted 1,144 sight-restoring cataract surgeries in just its first six months — more than most government clinics can do in an entire year.

Eye Camps Sponsored and trained by Seva, teams of outreach workers visit remote communities to conduct free eye exams. Patients that need treatment are referred to nearby clinics, where visiting Seva doctors spend a week doing surgeries and other procedures. Last summer, nearly 2,000 people were examined and over 500 patients received surgery.

Angkor Hospital for Children Seva supports the pediatric eye clinic at this hospital in Siem Reap province. Last year, over 3,000 children were examined at the clinic and 9,300 children were examined in nearby schools. Over 250 children were treated with surgery, and about 285 were given free corrective glasses.

Professional Training Cambodia has no schools that can train ophthalmologists. Local doctors are sponsored by Seva to attend training at the Lumbini Eye Institute, our longtime partner in Nepal.

Volunteers Recruited and coordinated by Seva, volunteer ophthalmologists and optometrists travel to Cambodia to provide lectures and hands-on training for local staff.

The Challenge Ahead
"We are very pleased with our progress so far," says Dr. Tenzing, "but we still have much work to do. For example, just to keep up with the new cases of cataract blindness, we need to get up to about 25,000 surgeries per year. That's a big challenge. But we know that with the support of all the wonderful Seva donors and friends, we can help Cambodia build an eye care system that can be sustained for the future."

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