|This article relies on references to primary sources. (December 2012)|
|Motto||Compassion in Action|
|Purpose/focus||Prevention of blindness and diabetes|
Seva Foundation is an American non-profit international health organization based in Berkeley, California, that was founded in 1978 by public health expert Dr. Larry Brilliant, spiritual leader Ram Dass and humanitarian activist Wavy Gravy. Other notable co-founders include the founder of the Aravind Eye Foundation Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, and Nicole Grasset, the senior adviser for the WHO smallpox eradication campaign. Steve Jobs also participated as an adviser at early Seva meetings and provided the first significant cash donation along with an Apple II to enter and analyze eye care survey results in the original Nepal program.
Seva is best known for their work restoring eyesight to over 3 million blind people suffering from cataract blindness in places like Tibet, Nepal, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Seva also works on health projects in Native American communities throughout the United States.
Vision and Mission
Seva is a Sanskrit word meaning service to others. The Seva Foundation defines its vision as "A world of healthy and self-reliant communities".
Its official mission statement reads:
Since 1978, Seva has been a leading innovator in building partnerships that deliver cost-effective, culturally-informed health services for some of the world's most vulnerable—including women, children, and indigenous peoples. Seva finds and strengthens dedicated, capable partners. Seva's goal is project sustainability and self-reliance so our partners continue delivering services long after our involvement has ended. In Asia, Africa, and Latin America Seva helps end preventable blindness, and in the United States supports Native Americans in re-building healthy, diabetes-free communities. Seva's work is made possible by the generosity of donors and volunteers inspired by the spirit of service.
There are 39 million people around the world who are blind. 80% could see again if they only had access to an eye doctor. Most preventable blindness is caused by cataracts, which can be removed via cataract surgery. The surgical procedure takes around 15 minutes to perform, and the Seva foundation Seva has reduced the cost of cataract surgery to just $50 with the use of high quality low-cost intraocular lenses produced in conjunction with Aurolab, the manufacturing division of the Aravind Eye Hospital
Over the past 35 years, Seva has helped more than 3.5 million people to regain their eyesight. They are active in 14 countries providing direct services in Tibet, Nepal and Cambodia, and through affiliates such as Vizualiza in Guatemala and the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO) in Tanzania.
Center for Innovation in Eye Care
The Center for Innovation in Eye Care lead by Dr. Suzanne Gilbert is a global action network of eye health organizations and affiliated professionals who seek to reduce needless blindness. The goal of the center is to accelerate development of durable eye care programs that optimize use of human and financial resources in undeserved communities. The center works towards accomplishing the goals of the VISION 2020: The Right to Sight initiative laid out in 1999 by the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.
Native American Community Health Program
For over thirty years, the Seva Foundation has been partnering with Native American communities on grassroots health projects. A particular focus has been on preventing an epidemic of diabetes.
- "About Seva Foundation". Seva Foundation. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
- "Celebrating 35 Years of Service: Seva Foundation's history of Compassion in Action". Seva Foundation. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- "Programme d' éradication de la variole dans la République de Djibouti : évaluation de la situation actuelle et exécution des activités de surveillance : 6 novembre-30 décembre 1977 / par Nicole Grasset". World Health Organization. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- "Remembering Steve Jobs: The Seva family joins the world in celebrating Steve's life". Seva Foundation. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- "Sight Program". Seva Foundation. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- "American Indian Sight Initiative: Expanding eye care for Native communities". Seva Foundation. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- "Visual impairment and blindness". WHO. June 21, 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
- "Aurolab". Aravind Eye Care System. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- "Where We Work". Seva Foundation. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- "Center for Innovation in Eye Care: Seva Foundation Sight Programs". Seva Foundation. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- "Vision 2020: The Right to Sight". International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- Boyle, Erin L. (August 25, 2008). "Foundation seeks to treat blinding disease linked to HIV/AIDS". Healio. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- "Native American Community Health Program". Seva Foundation. Retrieved December 11, 2012.