summer 2013 news

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The Mountain Fund Summer 2013 News

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News from The Mountain Fund on what we are doing this summer in Nepal.

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Page 1: Summer 2013 news

The Mountain FundSummer 2013 News

Page 2: Summer 2013 news

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Dear Mountain Fund Fan,

This summer is going by too fast! The events in Nepal are going really fast as well. In fact, every time I sit down to finish this newsletter something new happens and I have to make more space to include it. That’s a good thing though. Take a look at all that’s waiting inside this issue.

Her Clinic In this issue we have a brief mention of a new health program we are beginning to begin called Her Health. This is in the very early stages at this point and is probably a good six months to a year away. This project came about as a result of work done by our volunteers. We had several OBGYN doctors volunteer with us this year and they conducted a women’s health camp in a rural community. The results of the camp inspired us to do more for women’s health in rural Nepal.

Indrawattee Community Service Center. This is a new hospital project for us. The hospital has been in existence for several years but closed about one year ago due to lack of funds. Working with a local NGO partner of Mountain Fund’s we’ve reopened the hospital

as of mid-July. The hospital has 15 beds, medical laboratory, Xray and pharmacy. It’s staffed by a doctor, lab technician and two paramedics.

Volunteer Activities. We are having a very busy summer for volunteers in Nepal and they have been involved in a wide range of projects for us. Many of the volunteers have visited Her Farm and helped with building houses as well as planting rice. A group of ten volunteers recently assisted with the grand opening of the Indrawattee hospital and the full-day medical camp we held in conjunction with that opening. 238 patients came to the health camp in just one day.

Enjoy this issue of our news. We are providing two versions of the news to you this time; this written version and a narrated version as well.

Scott MacLennan, Executive Director

Volunteers, new health projects and Her Farm housing

Inside this issue

Page 3: Summer 2013 news

We are pleased to announce to our donors and friends that we’ve begun work on two new health projects in Nepal. The first is Her Clinic. Her Clinic will be located in Madavbesi which is in the Dhading District an hour walk away from Her Farm. This clinic will be a partnership with the Center for Integrated Rural Development, officed in Madavbesi and Helping Hands Community Hospital of Kathmandu.

Ideally located on the main East-West highway just two hours from Kathmandu, Madavbesi provides easy access to numerous small villages in the hills that surround it. We have a solid working relationship with our local partner in Madavbesi, the Center for Integrated Rural Development and a long history of working with Helping Hands Hospital, so the partnership is perfect for serving the needs of the community.

90% of women in Nepal will never see an OBGYN doctor in their lifetime. More than 600,000 women suffer with uterine prolapse in Nepal. There are few health facilities that focus on women’s health, especially in rural areas. In addition to providing basic health services for women this clinic will have regular visits by an OBGYN doctor from Helping Hands Hospital.

A key component of the clinic will be health education. Many women in the villages have very little knowledge of their own bodies and reproductive systems or antenatal health. This lack of knowledge contributes to the high rates of prolapse, sexually transmitted diseases and a host of other health problems arising from both lack of knowledge and access to care.

Our goal is to open by late fall. As always, that goal isn’t possible without your help and support so please consider helping to build one of the first women’s specific clinics in rural Nepal.

Two New Health Projects Underway in Nepal

Page 4: Summer 2013 news

Indrawattee Community Center Clinic

The Indrawattee Community Center is a hospital, located in the town of Sipaghat in the Sindhulpalchowk District of Nepal. It’s approximately two hours away from the capital city of Kathmandu and sits in a beautiful valley created by a river.

The hospital was built by a local committee on land donated by locals but a year ago it closed due to lack of funding. While the local patients pay for medical services here, the income generated by user fees aren’t sufficient to cover all the costs of operating the hospital. That’s a fairly common issue for rural hospitals. Provision of quality services can be costly as few doctors are willing to work in rural communities and those who will command higher salaries. While demand for medical services is high (40 people on a typical day) local economic conditions make it impossible to charge patients at fair market rates so hospitals like this need outside subsidies to function.

Working with Laxmi Pratisthan, a well-respected NGO in Nepal, we are providing monthly subsidies that allowed this hospital to re-open in mid-July. It’s unlikely, in the short term at least, that the hospital can become totally self sufficient due to the financial constraints described above. It doesn’t cost very much to subsidize this hospital and ensure that medical care is available in the community. Using historic patient counts that average 40 patients per day, our operating subsidy for the hospital amounts to 42 cents per patient, per day. That’s a small price to pay for bringing such quality health services to this community.

About this hospital This hospital has 15 beds for in-patient services, a delivery room, pharmacy, medical lab and Xray.

Page 5: Summer 2013 news

Pictured here are the deliver room and pharmacy at the hospital

Indrawattee Hospital

Page 6: Summer 2013 news

Volunteers Planting Rice

Her Farm continues to be abuzz with construction work. To have this farm fully functional as a home for homeless and abused women we first have to create all the infrastructure necessary for women and children to live here. In March a group of 29 volunteers from a high school in Canada came and helped us build a large, four-room home for women.

The 1300sf house was built completely with earth bags. This environmentally sound method of building uses rice bags, filled with dirt, compacted and then stacked like bricks. Barbed wire is used between rows like a mortar. Here’s a short YouTube on that. http://youtu.be/Nb_pzwIDL_A

News From Her Farm

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More housingThis house, currently under construction will be for staff at Her Farm.

More from Her Farm

Barn is completeWith two oxen, used for plowing, an Asian buffalo that produces milk and a bunch of goats, we needed to build a place to house them all. The two story barn is now complete. The livestock lives on the ground floor and feed is stored above.

Volunteer Housing Near CompleteLiving and working at Her Farm is popular with our volunteers. We’ve hosted some large groups and have more groups signed up to come. We now have housing for all of them that includes a large kitchen/dining room, sleeping rooms and 2 showers, 2 toilets.

Page 8: Summer 2013 news

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Operating Her Farm isn’t as easy as buying some land, sowing some seeds and waiting for a crop. I wish it was. For a single parent, making the choice to leave family and friends behind and start a new life is a terribly confronting event. It is often a case of the devil you know and the unknown. In Nepal, due to cultural practices it is even harder. Severing ties with family is akin to leaving the Titanic without a lifeboat.

Family and the circle of relationships stemming from family are the lifeboats. Without a circle of support, survival can be very hard, if not nearly impossible. Fear, lack of resources, lack of money, societal pressure all weigh heavy on the mind of a single parent seeking a new life. For these reasons, we need to be able to provide an entire system of support. In short, we need to be able to provide an entire family.

And go where?

“Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.”

Page 9: Summer 2013 news

What we are at work creating now, at Her Farm is an entire family of support. It starts, but hardly ends, with housing. Without a home to call their own, women simply will not entertain a move to Her Farm, so we’ve built a lot of housing at Her Farm to provide that home for the approximately 30 women and children who can live there.

Her Farm needs to provide support for the children as well. To that end we are now working to build a community center that will offer before and after school programs as well as day-care for children too young to attend school. This is important support as often the extended families in Nepal provide this to a woman and her children and Her Farm needs to replace that family support. Children, both those of the women living at Her Farm and from the village as a whole, can come before school and get a good breakfast, wash, brush teeth and head off for school ready to learn. This also helps to integrate our women, who are newcomers, into the village. Those too small for school will be kept in day-care. Past practice in Nepal was either the small children had to go to the fields with their mother, be cared for by a grandmother, who now is missing from the picture, or an older daughter

would be kept home from school to care for younger siblings. The day-care center will offer early childhood education in a wholesome environment, thereby freeing mom up to work at the farm and ensuring that older daughters are attending school, as they should be.

It takes a village to raise a child, according to Hillary Clinton, and she may not be far off the mark with her comments. It takes an entire family, that we can be sure of, and the family provides the extra hands needed to care for young children, teach them, and feed them while mom works the fields. For Her Farm to be a real home for women and children, we’ve set about implementing a plan that provides all these supportive programs so a woman can feel like this is home, she’s not alone and does have a family to help her start anew.

Soon all of these pieces will be in place at Her Farm. Soon, we will truly be Growing Hope in the Himalaya. Don’t forget, it doesn’t happen without your kind support.

On the next page are some recent photos from Her Farm and Indrawattee Hospital.

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The Mountain Fund

Main Office 2716 San Pedro NeAlbuquerque, NM 87110505-830-9808

Web www.mountainfund.orgwww.mountainvolunteer.org