Thank you to those who were able to make it on Wednesday.
We enjoyed a delightful talk by Susan Erdmann.
Susan talked to us about Seva, a Vancouver based organization whose mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness in the developing world.
Susan has an artistic and creative background and these skills came out in her presentation. She ran a successful design business in Vancouver. After having travelled throughout Asia, in particular the Himalayas, she wanted to do some volunteer work with a NGO in these areas. She started off as a donor, then volunteering and eventually becoming a board member for Seva.
She plays a key role in both raising funds and public awareness through presentations on the photos and stories she has collected on Seva's work in Tibet and Nepal.
Her talk on Wednesday focused on the culture and history of the Tibetan people Seva is helping.
75% of the blindness in these regions is caused by cataracts. Poor diet, altitude and sun exposure are contributing factors. 14,000 Tibetan go blind every year. Seva has been operating for 20 years in Tibet. Seva helps train the local doctors (6 ophthamologists) to enable them to be self-sustaining. Seva funds an average of 7000 cataract surgeries annually.
Susan's presentation was visually outstanding. Her beautiful pictures of the Tibetan plateau were jaw dropping. Her narrative was poetic as she described the environment, weather patterns, plants and vegetation, wildlife, birds, and the culture of these colourfully dressed people. One thing that resonated with me was how friendly and welcoming the Tibetan people are. Susan explained how important it is for each individual to contribute to the well being of their community. It is devastating for those who are blinded by cataracts as they feel helpless, useless and a burden to their family, friends and community. Often another family member has to give up their chance at education or work to help their blind family member. Some would rather die than survive. Thus, this 3 minute surgery is life changing for them. They say if you restore sight to one person, you give back 2 lives to the community. An inspiring story.
We have a break for summer and our next meeting will be on September 14th with Avis Harley, children's poet and illustrator.
Also on the fall schedule:
++++ I have to clarify this date +++October 11th: Mario Canseco, pollster ...will give some insights on pending American election
November 9th: field trip organized by Juliet
November30: final meeting: future of mCentred
Have a super great summer.