Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Thank you Rotary!

Sherri presenting program to KC Rotary Club 13

Rotary has been an amazing partner for the HealthEd Connect schools in Zambia!  Providing sturdy desks and benches in 2011 soon after the school at Chipulukusu was established, the Kansas City Rotary Club 13 and Ndola (Zambia) Mukuba Rotary Club have continued to bring assets and improvements to both Chipulukusu and Kasompe schools.

In August of 2017, a two-year Rotary proposal effort came to fruition with the arrival of electronic iSchool tablets -- fully loaded with the government curriculum for all 7 grades -- which provided exciting interactive lessons.  After participating in a week-long training, the teachers enthusiastically introduced the tablets to the children.  Remember, our schools service orphans and vulnerable children.  Until now, these tablets had only been available in private schools.  Our communities are ecstatic and proudly boast of being the first two community schools in the entire Copperbelt Province that has these tablets.  School attendance has already improved with children eager for their turn on these electronic wonders.

Sherri recently had an opportunity to share the results of the iSchool project with the Kansas City Rotary Club 13.  Several of the members were so impressed by the programs, they immediately expressed an interest in traveling to Zambia to see for themselves!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Proactive Sinkhani

Sixty baby trees finding a new home

While a decision is being made regarding the type of building material (mud-brick or cement block) to be used for the new Sinkhani community center in Malawi, the women are moving ahead.  Being environmentally conscious and wanting to beautify the plot of land given to them by the Chiefs, the Sinkhani are not content to sit still and wait for things to happen.

Instead, they are rolling up their sleeves and planting trees.  The trees may be little seedlings at this point, but some day they will be an aesthetic delight and provide welcome shade as they mark the perimeters of the property surrounding the Sinkhani community center.

With 97% of the country using charcoal (a wood product) for cooking and heating, deforestation has been occurring so rapidly that flooding, soil erosion and ultimately water shortages have became common place.  In 2017, the government began deploying soldiers to protect the forests and also implemented a plan for long-term reforestation.  The Sinkhani share the government's concern and are stepping up to do their part.  They're doers! 

Why wait for decisions to be made on high when something tangible can be done today?   Because of their concern,  60 baby trees are now enjoying the loving care and nurturing of the Sinkhani health workers.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Ethical Dilemma

African chief pondering the trade offs
Making the "right" decision is not always easy.  As HealthEd Connect prepares to replace the unsafe little community building in Malawi where the Sinkhani weigh babies, we've run into a major ethical dilemma.  The original intent was to build the new structure with hand-made mud bricks that the villagers themselves would make for their building.  The African chiefs involved in the project are excited and have enthusiastically pledged several thousand bricks from each of their areas.  Ecologically sound, right?  Use locally available mud averting the need to import cement and other non-friendly ecological materials.

The government is now saying, "Not so fast."  The mud bricks may be creating a bigger environmental problem than the purchased cement blocks.  The reason?  The bricks are stacked with a hollow center for a wood fire to "fire" the bricks.  So far, so good.  Unfortunately, it takes a LOT of firewood and, as a result, the country is rapidly becoming deforested and the government is rightfully concerned.

The trade off?  Use natural materials and fully involve the local community promoting ownership. Or purchase cement blocks in an attempt to save the forests but potentially create non-friendly ecological materials for the future.  Stay tuned for the ultimate decision.  It's still under discussion.

What's your advice and opinion?  We'd love to hear from you.

Monday, April 2, 2018

A Circle of Women: An Update from Nepal

​Our volunteers join hands with local women to play and learn.

In our HealthEd Connect travels to the ancient Kingdom of Nepal we have encountered innumerable beautiful and meaningful traditions. However, as in every society, some ancient traditions can cause harm. An archaic tradition that affects the lives of many women in Nepal considers menstruation to be an unholy and unclean time in a woman's life. In many areas of Nepal, it is still required that women isolate themselves for several days. 

For the past two weeks, our loving volunteers have used a gentle educational platform to help local women from the poorest parts of Kathmandu to understand how proper care and concern during menstruation can help women remain healthy and productive. Using fun activities, dramas, and health information, they covered topics such as menstruation hygiene, pre- and post-natal health, nutrition, and community sanitation. 


Our HealthEd Connect Representative, Pinkey Malla, explains:

"In our society, when girl first have menstruation then there is culture to keep them away from house for four days, not to touch boys, can't go to kitchen, they have to stay at one separate room. People say that girl is now unholy. Also, every menstruation time she keep at separate place, not have proper food, not good place to sleep and rest. This culture happening since many years. Some educated family's concepts are changing but still in city or village this activity is happening. So by making two types of drama, we are educating women what to do with girl when she have 1st menstruation and how to keep hygiene during menstruation period."

​Women listen attentively to lessons on hygiene, sanitation, and health.