SEE International Provides Critical, Transformative Eye Care and Surgery Worldwide | Good for Santa Barbara

Posted on November 17, 2021
| 15:00

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It’s no secret that the past year and a half has been full of challenges. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, local nonprofits need your support more than ever.

Our Good for Santa Barbara Nonprofit section provides all the resources you need to donate this holiday season, including a comprehensive giving guide with a list of local nonprofits that need your help. help this Tuesday I give.

In this interview, Noozhawk spoke with Rachel Tennant, Director of Development at SEE International, to learn more about how the nonprofit is dedicated to providing essential and transformative eye care and surgery in the world. whole world.

SEE International

Question: What is the name and mission of your non-profit organization?

Reply: SEE International provides essential and transformative eye care and surgery worldwide and right here with us. We bring together medical volunteers and partners to care for those who need it most. Our teams work alongside local doctors.

Question: How long has your association been in business?

A: SEE International was founded in 1974 by Dr Harry Brown.

Question: What was the inspiration behind your non-profit organization?

A: Upon graduation, Dr Harry Brown embarked on a year-long trip around the world with his wife, four children and mother, working as a visiting ophthalmologist in Johannesburg, South Africa; Northern Gujarat, India; and Kabul, Afghanistan.

Question: How is your non-profit organization primarily funded and what are your greatest needs?

A: SEE receives the majority of its funding from individual donations, but we also receive support from organizations like the Alcon Foundation or Johnson & Johnson Vision. SEE not only continuously strengthens existing partnerships, especially with local organizations, but also constantly seeks new funding opportunities aligned with our mission and values. Thanks to this diversity of funding sources, SEE is able to guarantee continuous service without depending on any particular group or organization.

Question: What is the impact of COVID-19 on your non-profit organization?

A: Despite the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, SEE is proud to have remained engaged in our vital work of restoring sight. Although travel restrictions prevented our volunteers from attending international clinics in 2020, SEE has used this time to adapt our programs and find new ways to meet the needs of the communities we serve. To ensure that our international efforts continue during this time, we have focused on providing our international partners with the essential consumables and equipment needed to continue providing vision restorative surgeries in areas in need.

Question: In what ways does your nonprofit use its funding?

A: SEE uses its funding to fight preventable and treatable blindness by providing short-term international clinics, training for aspiring humanitarian ophthalmologists, and national eye care services, including our local Santa Barbara Eye Care Program.

Question: How do people get involved / volunteer for your nonprofit organization?

A: In the 47 years since our organization was founded, we have restored sight to more than 650,000 people in more than 45 countries. At SEE, we value support in any way we can. There are many creative ways that someone can help us transform someone’s life with the gift of sight! Here are some suggestions for other ways to support SEE’s sight restoration efforts:

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Santa Barbara Vision Care Girls Inc. event (SEE international photo.)

Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers – Create and run your own fundraising campaign! Gather your friends and family and inspire people across the country to join us in our efforts to provide essential eye care to those in need. With Peer-to-Peer Fundraising, you can create your own fundraising page and invite others to join, bringing people together to transform lives through the precious gift of sight.

Share us on social media – Awareness is one of the first steps in taking action against preventable blindness. By sharing our content or tagging us on social media, you can not only educate others about the need to make vision care more accessible around the world, but you can invite them to join us in taking action with it. we !

Volunteer at HQ – Do you live in Santa Barbara or nearby? Sometimes we need practical help with our operations and administration.

Question: Can you share a story or two of people whose lives have been changed because of your organization?

A: One of the many patients who have recently benefited from SEE’s efforts was six-year-old Olivia, who dreams of one day being an art teacher. A few years ago, when she was only three years old, Olivia put on her grandmother’s glasses to “play teacher” with her cousin. After spending time wearing glasses, she told her family that they actually helped her see better. Her parents then took her to an SEE clinic for screening, only to find that she needed her own glasses. Now, three years later, she’s back for another pair. During Olivia’s date, her mother noted how important it is for her daughter to see: “Our vision is everything,” she said, “[Olivia] really love to draw and paint and I want her to be able to do these things. With her brand new pair of glasses and school supplies, Olivia has everything she needs to not only be successful this school year, but to keep doing everything she loves! “

Jhari Singha is a 70 year old woman from the village of Altapur in Karandighi, India. Sadly, the only living family she has is a single son, as her husband passed away 11 years ago. Prior to her husband’s death, Jhari had no mobility issues and her eyesight was clear. However, her vision gradually deteriorated over the years and it became difficult for her son to care for her. Despite the care provided by his son, Jhari lived in fear and began to struggle to communicate as his vision waned, saddened by the loss of his independence. Worried about her mother’s worsening condition, Jhari’s son took her to a doctor, who diagnosed Jhari with severe cataract in his left eye. Jhari and her son could not afford the treatment she needed, so she was quickly enrolled in a free surgical program in partnership with SEE. Soon after, Jhari underwent free cataract surgery funded by SEE International. Her son reports that her vision has improved significantly and he is happy to say that since regaining her sight, Jhari has regained her confidence.

Question: Why should donors trust your organization and are there other ways to help besides giving?

A: SEE places great importance on transparency with all of our individual donors, as well as with organizational funders. To this end, SEE received the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Guidestar in 2021, as well as an Encompass rating of 100 out of 100 from CharityNavigator. For anyone who would like to see this transparency for themselves, we recommend that you read our annual or financial reports at https://www.seeintl.org/annual-reports/.

Question: Can you tell us a short term goal AND a long term goal that your nonprofit has for next year?

A: In the short term, SEE is focused on maintaining the reach and quality of care for our existing programs. This includes programs such as our local Santa Barbara Eye Care, direct supply support from our partners in India and Nepal, and training courses on manual small incision cataract surgery. Our goal is to serve a total of over 30,000 people in 2021 through all of our programs.

Our long-term goal is to continuously reduce the global epidemic of preventable blindness. Each year, volunteers from SEE’s Global Network of Eye Care Professionals travel to where it’s needed, donate equipment and supplies, provide training, and use their expertise to help host physicians alleviate the burden of vision. blindness in their area.

To do this, we are constantly scaling up our educational programs, exploring new partnerships with eye care professionals and institutions that share our goal, and increasing our direct support to existing partners who need our help in treating patients with disease. such as cataracts.

Click here to support SEE International’s mission to improve access to high quality eye care and surgery worldwide.

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