Success Story: Seva Foundation

Success Story: Seva Foundation

Every 5 seconds, someone goes blind.  

80% of this blindness is preventable or curable.

Datso is 12 years old and lives in Tibet with her family and new baby brother, but Datso is not like other 12 year olds. She is sad most of the time because cataracts in both eyes have caused her to go blind.

Her family heard about Seva Foundation's eye camp in their region and brought Datso to the hospital. Her uncle told Seva staff, “When other kids are playing outside of her home, she just cries and cries. She can’t stop asking us why she is different and why she has to be blind.”

Living in the dark

Datso’s life as a blind girl has been hard and very lonely. “I am blind and don’t deserve any friends,” she said. “I am not capable of doing anything but sitting in my home with my grandparents all the time. Nobody is willing to play with me. I can’t see now and I am afraid that I will never see again,” she continued. With all these thoughts running through her head, her self-esteem was very low.

After cataract surgery on both eyes, Datso and her family were overjoyed that she could see again. “I feel like doing everything now but, first of all, I need to see my new baby brother at home!”

Around the globe there are an estimated 19 million children under the age of 15 who are visually impaired. Seva Foundation and their donors know that 80% of this blindness is preventable or curable, and that when a child's sight is restored — their life is changed forever. This is why Seva Foundation is dedicated to the expansion of pediatric eye care services around the globe.

Seva's donors give the gift of sight

Seva Foundation builds the capacity of local eye care programs to serve children living in the many of the world's poorest communities. From children living in remote villages of Cambodia and Bangladesh, to students in underserved Native American communities, Seva's programs provide vital eye care that reaches those who, until now, were unable to access even the most basic of services.

Through school screenings in poor communities and the distribution of free and low-cost eyeglasses, at-risk students are now able to see the blackboard and read the pages of their textbooks. Seva knows that good vision is a key factor in their education. With the world in focus, these children now have a fair chance to succeed in life and to achieve a better future.

photo by Jon Kaplan

More than a screening

Seva Foundations's pediatric screenings also regularly identify many children who require more complex intervention. Thanks to Seva Foundation donors, over 130,000 children are provided with eye care screenings each year and thousands are provided with surgery to prevent future blindness.

For more information on how you can support Seva Foundation, please visit

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About the author:

Jon Behar

As COO, Jon helps coordinate The Life You Can Save’s various projects and set the organization’s overall strategic direction. He founded and continues to run our Giving Game project, a global philanthropy education initiative that teaches people skills to give more effectively and makes these lessons tangible by providing workshop participants with real money to donate to the charities of their choice.

Prior to joining The Life You Can Save, Jon spent ten years at a prominent hedge fund, working primarily in the areas of risk management, portfolio optimization, and algorithm development. He has also served on the board of directors for GiveWell, a widely-respected charity evaluator.

Jon now lives on Bainbridge Island, WA with his wife Meghann Riepenhoff (an acclaimed artist) and their dog Oso.

The views expressed in blog posts are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Peter Singer or The Life You Can Save.