Visualiza is an indispensable partner of Seva’s efforts to increase access to eye care throughout Latin America. For over 15 years we have worked together. Time after time, they have proven their heroic dedication to the people of Guatemala.
Their strategy emphasizes world class science combined with fostering trust among the communities they serve. Their grassroots model aligns perfectly with our values as an organization.
Their results speak for themselves: Visualiza’s eye care system serves more than 4 million Guatemalans, and performs 36% of all cataract surgeries in the country.
If any organization can bring access to vision care to everyone in Guatemala in 10 years, it’s Visualiza. We intend to do all we can to help them.
The Visualiza team provides high quality eye care to the people of Guatemala. As a training institute, they have also made a significant contribution in building all cadres of workforce in eye care for Guatemala and other countries in the region.
Through a mix of good business practices and compassionate patient-centred care, Visualiza is now a leading eye care provider in the country. The Visualiza team takes eye care to the rural and remote regions of the country.
Their professional and passionate eye care team who work to ensure that eye care is available to all who need it. Through their inclusive care giving design, combined with their commitment to provide eye care to all, they are uniquely positioned to scale their impact in eye care in Guatemala and beyond.
Thulasiraji Ravilla, MBA
Director – Operations
Aravind Eye Care System
Executive Director, LAICO
Christian Blind Mission has partnered with Visualiza to reduce preventable blindness in the Petén region for many years and more recently also in the surroundings of Guatemala City.
We praise Visualiza’s efforts to improve access to eye health services to persons with disabilities in marginalized areas of the country.
Christian Blind Mission (CBM)
I met the Yee brothers, Mariano and Nicolás, in 2001 at a Sustainability in Eye Care workshop I taught in Costa Rica. I liked their spirit a lot and felt they would be great to work with to develop sustainable and equitable eye care in Guatemala.
We met again in Guatemala in 2002 and we did a 10-day planning session where we came up with a plan to combine their private practice in Guatemala City with their public health eye hospital in the El Peten region.
That work commenced shortly thereafter with support from International Eye Foundation, the Seva Foundation, and Doug Villella, Executive Director of Vision for the Poor. This established what has become Guatemala’s largest eye care program and one of the largest in Latin America.
Visualiza has done tremendous work to reach tens of thousands of Guatemalans in the country’s lower economic strata every year with accessible, affordable, and high quality eye care services, especially sight-restoring cataract surgery. I feel honored to have worked with Visualiza from the beginning and very much look forward to being a part of their journey as they grow to address the problem of blindness and visual disability in Guatemala and beyond.
David Green Consulting
Usually, when one thinks of a business partner, one thinks of commitments, deadlines, and a cordial relationship. For us at the Instituto Mexicano de Oftalmología IAP (IMO), when we consider our relationship with Visualiza, we think about so much more. For instance, we think of your steadfast support and the crucial knowledge you have shared with us when we have requested training for our administrative, medical, and paramedic personnel in visual health. We appreciate Visualiza’s far-reaching experience in these areas, which has helped our people to learn so much.
We also think of Visualiza’s outstanding competence and level of organization as a shining example of how to successfully maintain close attention to patients in its daily work and through the expansion of its services in its hospitals and provincial centers. We admire Visualiza’s creativity in finding multiple ways to provide comprehensive care for the people of Guatemala and also of Mexico. But above all, we think of Visualiza as an organization with a great heart, constantly implementing a range of initiatives to ensure that it can always serve one more patient.
All of the above just barely summarizes what an outstanding organization Visualiza is, and how much it means for the IMO to have you as a colleague and ally for over 10 years and to look forward to a bright future together.
Dr. Ellery Marino López Star
President of the Board
Instituto Mexicano de Oftalmología IAP
Giving to Visualiza is one of the best per dollar returns on a charitable donation you can find. But then having known Vincent Pescatore, the founder of Guatemala’s Farm of the Child orphanage who garnered our gifts as well and inspired the Visualiza mission, I’m not surprised at the talent and tenacity his magnetism and charisma attracted.
From the time of our first gift to fund the early Vincent Pescatore Eye Clinic in the Peten rainforest to our most recent gift that made planning and presentation of the Visualiza National Rollout possible, we have watched our commitment to the suffering poor of Guatemala expand in ways even we could not envision.
My father started our foundation to reduce suffering among the world’s poorest people. Visualiza does precisely that, and in a way that also creates dignity and fosters hope for the larger Latin American region.
We are proud to be and to remain among Visualiza’s most faithful supporters.
Robert J. Frisby Foundation
I first became aware of Visualiza through my friendship with Dr. Doug Villela, an optometrist in our home community of Erie, Pennsylvania and his work with Vision for the Poor. It has been many years since I first learned about Visualiza’s work and its commitment to improving sight for the poor who have limited access to healthcare and vision services.
My interest as a donor was initially motivated by Doug’s enthusiasm and commitment to his work and efforts. Over the years, however, my interest has grown deeper as I follow Visualiza’s success in providing quality care that is both professional and culturally-relevant.
In February, 2019 I had the great privilege to accompany Doug and his team on a trip to Guatemala. What I experienced was both personally moving and profound. Visualiza’s network of quality eye care facilities and healthcare professionals was truly awe-inspiring. As we moved throughout outlying neighborhoods of Guatemala City setting up screening clinics, I was continually amazed at the need and patience from those willing to stand in line for hours to receive services, not only for themselves but also for their children. Everyone was treated with great care and compassion. Furthermore, I witnessed first-hand how Visualiza’s treatment could literally change a person’s life prospects by outfitting them with appropriate glasses or more-involved procedures like cataract surgery.
I believe Visualiza not only has the organizational capacity to bring their grand 10-year plan to fruition, but also feel confident that the individuals involved promote their work with the highest level of professionalism, integrity, compassion, and enthusiasm. As a donor, I have absolutely no doubt that my financial commitment is supporting Visualiza’s mission and helping to grow the exponential reach of their work. I can speak first-hand from my visit that every dollar donated will be applied to its highest and most efficient purpose as well as create opportunities and enhanced life prospects for the neediest Guatemalans.
Simply stated, Visualiza is an amazing organization doing incredible work and I support their impressive plan 110%. I whole-heartedly will continue supporting their work as best I can now and in the future.
Amy Cuzzola-Kern, PhD
Kern Family Foundation
In addition to operating a state of the art eye care hospital and surgical facility, Visualiza’s leadership is passionate about their commitment to providing eye-care for the poor. Their striving for medical excellence is matched by their commitment to provide the same level of quality care to both poor and private patients alike.
Visualiza has the experience and high reputation in both advanced medical care and equitable and inclusive social service. They’ve developed a funding and an operating model that allows them to deliver on both missions and have continually expanded their reach in low-income communities, including impressive gains in pediatric outreach and care. They are also creative innovators – as seen in the mobile clinics deployed to regions, and the structure of identifying patients and providing appropriate care at local, regional and national locations based on acuity of care required.
We have contributed to Visualiza over a 20 year period, including funding a significant expansion of their pediatric outreach work in the Peten region. The organization delivers on what it proposes to do and has allowed the foundation to be successful in achieving its goals. We have visited Visualiza several times of that period – both in Guatemala City and in the regions – and have been impressed with the commitment and compassion shown by doctors, nurses, outreach workers and general staff to providing quality care to the poor of Guatemala.
Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation
I have known and have financially supported the good work of Drs. Doug Villella, Mariano Yee, and Nico Yee, Vision for the Poor, and Visualiza for over 30 years. I remember being elated to find that Vincent Pescatore was the original inspiration for this amazing social service enterprise: One of my sisters had adopted three children from Vincent and Zulena Pescatore’s Farm of the Child Guatemalan orphanage.
In the year 2000, Dr. Villella and I joined a team of volunteers and trekked to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa to raise funds to build an eye clinic in Guatemala. A few years later, I responded to one of the many mission trip invitations Visualiza had offered to me and other benefactors to see with our own eyes the work they are doing in Guatemala and other countries to give the precious gift of sight to millions of people young and old.
I visited the very Eye Hospital that many benefactors and I helped to build. I put on hospital scrubs, went into the operating room and witnessed several cataract surgeries which literally restored the sight and gave back their former lives to men and women who cried tears of joy in the post-op recovery room.
I will continue to support Visualiza and I encourage anyone reading this to do what you can to help. Your sacrificial gifts dramatically improve the lives of countless people who need our help.
Visualiza has been at the forefront of this work for decades. They have the experience, the knowledge, the teams in place, and most of all, the desire to virtually eradicate preventable blindness in all of Guatemala in the next 10 years. It is an ambitious, amazing, and awesome goal and I could not be happier to encourage them in achieving this goal and to ask you to help them.
God bless the good men and women of Visualiza, the people they will help, and you, who make it possible!
Bishop Joseph L. Coffey
Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA
As an entrepreneur, I appreciate how true it is that success is built with hard work, personal sacrifice, and strong partnering skills. The Visualiza team has invested over 20 years creating, field-testing, scaling up, and running a now proven self-sustaining model of eye care.
Along the way, Visualiza attracted financial investments and technical support from international organizations and foundations, non-governmental entities, civic services, governmental representatives, private businesses, and dedicated individual donors. They leveraged these partnerships to extend model testing and implementation into countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.
I believe Visualiza’s example will lead to the expansion of other medical care services across the developing world as well. It’s success is certainly a critical player in the current struggle to help Latin Americans build infrastructure and opportunity.
It’s an indescribably hopeful feeling to tell people I give time and money to a “going concern” that verifiably alleviates human suffering. This Visualiza expansion will succeed: I will be a part of that.
Nino R. Vaghi Foundation
The evolution from biannual mission trips to different villages and towns to the current sustainable and permanent eye care facilities is one of the most impressive projects that I have ever witnessed. Knowing that each dollar donated goes directly to the eye care needs of the region and the country is why I originally donated and why I continue to donate to Visualiza through Vision for the Poor. Past performance would predict success with the 10-year expansion program and again is impetus for continued support.
Frank Villa, O.D.
Having run a number of “mission” trips to Guatemala in the 1990’s, I experienced first hand the extreme need for all forms of eyecare, especially in the Quiche’. Remarkably, Mariano Yee (while still doing his residency) worked with our ophthalmologist during one of our clinics.
When I learned that Visualiza was forming to provide a sustainable, long term solution to eye care in Guatemala, I realized my efforts should be focused on supporting this project through the Vision for the Poor organization.
I have always appreciated their low-pressure approach to fund-raising (I call them), low overhead and lack of a fundraising bureaucracy. I prefer that my donations go to the project at hand.
Randy Minard, O.D.
As a volunteer ophthalmologist with Visualiza’s early medical missions, I was overwhelmed by the number of Guatemalan people suffering near and total blindness unnecessarily. Everywhere you went there was no access to basic medical care. No hope of getting prescription glasses, much less a simple 10-minute cataract surgery that could literally restore their sight.
I was deeply moved by this team’s determination to turn medical missions reaching a few thousand people into a sustainable, self-funding, locally-controlled operation reaching millions. It seemed so daunting, but there was no question that it was the only serious way to eliminate treatable blindness in a developing country with that scale of medical distress.
Every donation I give gets multiplied because it helps put something permanent and self-sustaining in place. I am confident that Visualiza will complete this expansion plan in Guatemala.
Frank Fatica, D.O.
Visualiza has been a true “game changer” in the manner that vision care is provided in Central America. Beginning in 1995, we traveled to Guatemala to provide eye care, glasses and medication to the poor in remote areas of the country via small volunteer clinics.
Decades later Visualiza has free standing, self sustaining clinics that will continue into perpetuity. The model has evolved to a very cost efficient and productive means of helping tens of thousands of people on a regular and reliable basis. This has been accomplished through the leadership of Visualiza and the cooperation of an amazing team on the ground. They have created the framework and foundation to provide sight-saving services to large populations in a very cost-effective manner.
I feel strongly that supporting Visualiza via donations is an extremely good way to put compassionate money to work. Helping everyone have the opportunity to see will allow for a better opportunity for people to lift them from poverty through education and the ability to work and become a more productive member of society. Your contributions are truly appreciated and will be put to good use to help make the world a better place.
Robert Prazer, O.D.
I support Visualiza for two reasons: what it does, and how it does it. First, the good it does is concrete, tangible, and lasting. Second, how the contributions are spent is clear and direct.
Correcting vision can be life-changing. It dramatically improves the quality of life for both the individual and their family members. It allows the individual to be better able to actively participate in society.
My visit to Guatemala and to Visualiza’s eye hospital and rural vision centers made it clear where contributions go and how they are used. The facilities are built to serve and although lacking the high-tech sophistication of United States medical facilities, they are efficient and focused on maximizing the available resources to provide the most services to the most people with what they have. The staff are compassionate and dedicated.
The need for the services Visualiza provides is widespread, and to the extent of its available resources, Visualiza has demonstrated its ability to meet this need. I have watched Visualiza expand its ability to serve while staying true to its self-sustaining model, and have every reason to believe it can achieve its goal of offering eye care services throughout Guatemala.
Dan Pastore, Esq., CEO
My wife and I have been longtime substantial donors to Visualiza. At one point we even visited their headquarters in Guatemala.
We found their facilities to be first rate and ever improving. Their outreach programs are well established. Most importantly, their founders and staff are extremely dedicated, caring, and forward looking.
We would encourage others to support Visualiza and their plans. Such a worthwhile cause!
Kent & Mary Taylor