Nepal – Primary Healthcare Clinic with Friends of Shanta Bhawan (2018-2020)
On 1 January 2018, Sahakarini signed a two year agreement with the Friends of Shanta Bhawan (FSB) Primary Healthcare Clinic in Nepal. FSB is a non-profit, non-governmental medical out-patient clinic located in Northeast Kathmandu. The clinic provides high quality, patient-centered medical care to those in need, regardless of their financial status. Since 1983, over 30,000 marginalized and impoverished individuals have received subsidized primary health care services annually, with approximately 100 patients visiting the clinic per day.
The project with Sahakarini has two major components: the first will expand the clinic’s capacity to treat women and children; and the second will improve the clinic’s equipment and infrastructure to provide high quality diagnostic and treatment services.
The Executive Director states that the project will allow FSB to improve the clinic’s environment, modernize their outreach, expand their patient base and hire new doctors, which will improve the quality of services and promote the clinic’s longevity.
With Sahakarini’s support, the clinic was able to open a new pediatric unit and appoint a new pediatrician on 1 February 2018.
India – Adivasi Children’s College with Pipal Tree Trust (2015-2018)
Adivasi make up 8.6% of India’s population or 104 million according to the 2011 census. Many have been displaced by the conversion of forests as wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, construction of reservoirs, and other development projects, which denied them access to their traditional ways of making a living from the forest. Today most Adivasi children drop out of the government schools because their parents are forced to migrate in search of work, or because there is little motivation to go to school. Only a minority of them finish high school. The number of children who go for higher education is infinitesimally small.
Through one of our board members, Professor Varghese Manaloor, University of Alberta. Augustana Campus, we were introduced to Pipal Tree, a non-profit trust established in 1984. Pipal Tree initiated the Children’s College in 2011 near the Nagarahole National Park in Mysore district of Karnataka to assist disadvantaged Adivasi children belonging to Jenu Kuruba and Yerava Adivasi communities to complete school education.
When the Kabani dam was built in 1973 a large number of Adivasis from this area were displaced and became migrant agricultural labourers. Later the forest department evicted a large number of Adivasis from their forest homes on the pretext that human beings should not live in a wildlife sanctuary. They were seen to be a threat to wildlife. Their struggle for land and access to forest and its resources for livelihood still continue. The Adivasi children are rooted in place and in the community of that place. But they are not well cared for as community resources are limited. They are straddling the cultures of tribal and modern India and they have little hope of thriving without adequate access to nutritious food, clean water, shelter and education.
The programme provides shelter, food, medical care, and assistance with school curriculum, and supplements the school education with activities rooted in tribal values and modern needs. The vision of this programme is to provide an environment where an Adivasi child can actually dream of a life that is different from that of his poverty-stricken parents. The programme believes that Adivasi people and their children have much to contribute. Their centuries of wisdom about living sustainably on this planet must be harvested and they should be enabled to contribute to our shared future. The Children’s College aims to educate the children of the forest who may then help us all bridge the increasing divide between the earth based knowledge we need to survive and the mechanics of modern life.
The Sahakarini board has approved a project covering two years’ expenses in the amount of $21,000.00. We look forward to hearing how the project progresses and the effect it has on the lives of the children and their families.
Because Pipal Tree’s experience shows that girl children need more support in completing their education than boy children (due to several cultural and social factors which limit the mobility of girls), Pipal Tree made the decision this past year to select 7 girls to replace the 7 boys who were graduating and after the remaining boys graduate, to enroll only girls. All new students will be girls with the first graduates expected in 2018. The school reports that they receive more requests for girls to attend than they are able to accommodate.
As the work of the College becomes better known, there are many applications for new students.
Board members sent letters to the children and when Siddhartha, leader of Pipal Tree, visited here in November, he brought with him many painted bamboo pencil holders made by the children. These were among the most popular items at the 2016 Loaves and Fishes auction and have become treasures to those fortunate enough to receive one. According to Siddhartha, this phenomenon both amazed and amused the children.
Click on the following link to read a letter Siddhartha sent to Sahakarini about his visit. 2016 Siddhartha Letter to Sahakarini
Pipal Tree is working hard on ensuring that the tribal values that are the children’s heritage are promoted and at the same time, that the students receive help with their academics. Committees of children have been formed – Kitchen, Campus and Kitchen Garden Maintenance, Library and Daily Activities.
Click on the following link to read a U of A student’s reflection on her visit to the Children’s College. Reflection on visit to Pipal Tree Children’s College
Tanzania: Project SHINE – Sanitation and Hygiene INnovation in Education
Project SHINE is a collaborative research project between the University of Calgary (Global Health and International Partnerships) and the Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania. The project aims to build the capacity of youth and communities to develop and sustain locally relevant strategies to prevent parasitic infection and improve sanitation and hygiene in Ngorongoro Conservation Area schools and communities. Twenty-three million people in Tanzania lack access to safe drinking water, and over 4000 children die every year from diarrhea due to unsafe water and poor sanitation.
As part of its work, SHINE has formed a working relationship with the Canmore-based Rocky Mountain Soap Company to teach community members to make high quality soap. An article about the soap-making project can be found in the Rocky Mountain Outlook.
Thanks to support provided by Sahakarini, Project SHINE has given rise to a new organization in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area called Nyuat, which means “hard working initiative”. Nyuat’s mission is two-fold: to reach the most marginalized in the community with education about the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene to health, and to make high quality soap that can benefit all and serve as a source of income generation. The group has named their soap Ewong’an, which means “from darkness to light”.
Community health educators accompany Endulen Hospital staff to parent and child field clinics. Soap making has been established. The project has been expanded to include the distribution of 80 biosand filters so that there would be clean water for both drinking and hygiene purposes as well as for the soap making. Technicians have been trained to distribute the biosand filters.
The next focus of the group is on sales and marketing of the soap for income generation. Entrepreneurial training will be provided and a sales and marketing plan developed. The objective is for the project to be self-sustaining within five years.
Updates are available on the Project SHINE Facebook page.
Visit the Project SHINE website! Here you can learn more about the SHINE approach to empowering youth and communities in addressing water, sanitation and hygiene challenges, the communities and schools we engage with, our partners and the team.
You can also order high quality, uniquely Maasai soap handcrafted by Nyuat, a community-based social enterprise in Tanzania that stems from the project. Check it out, spread the word and be a part of the journey!
Uganda: Kitile Sand Dam Project (2017-2018)
Based on the successful construction of three earlier sand dams, Sahakarini has undertaken support for a fourth sand dam in cooperation with the Utooni Development Organization. The Kitile Community Sand Dam is located in Machakos County, Kenya.
Sand dams are low tech, proven, sustainable methods to mitigate the problems endured daily by Kenyan subsistence farmers due to climate change, minimal rainfall, flash flooding and vulnerable food production methods. The dams are effective in providing water for agricultural and domestic use during the dry seasons.
Dams are constructed by local peoples with assistance and advice from Utooni. The project will enhance community development through the work of the community-based organization, while the dam will provide a water harvesting system, and a shallow well to allow some water to be filtered to minimize contamination. The project will also introduce conservation agriculture; upgrade poultry and beekeeping practices; teach small scale irrigation; enable tree planting; and encourage land terracing.
Dr. Varghese Manaloor, Sahakarini Board member and U of A professor at Augustana with expertise in sustainable agriculture and economics, confirmed the value of sand dams on a recent visit to Kenya.