Family Volunteer Services (FVS), under the management of James and Esta Smith, has been active in Nepal for the past three and a half years. One of its primary mandates is to assist in meeting the educational needs of the disabled and disadvantaged of Nepal. To this end FVS helps administer several projects throughout the country.
Richard Smith (left), from Taiwan, and James Smith (right) presenting donated orthopedic instruments to a new hospital in Nepal.
One of our more significant partnerships is with the Nepal Disabled Association (NDA), based in Kathmandu. FVS workers provide free English & music/drama classes for approximately 100 disabled children from low income families. We repair and maintain classrooms, as well as contribute sponsored school supplies, uniforms, and educational equipment.
FVS also works in cooperation with the Community-Based Rehabilitation Village Programs in the Kaski District, administering school programs, as well as providing special education scholarships for the deaf, and vocational training equipment.
A year ago FVS became aware of the plight of the Nepal Orthopedic Hospital (NOH). This small, newly constructed hospital needed orthopedic equipment and supplies. FVS felt called to help. Staff members contacted FVS in Kaohsiung, Taiwan for assistance, which resulted in the formation of the Nepal-Taiwan Cooperation Project.
Nepali mother and child in one of the villages we visited
Initial endeavors from this project have been very successful. The Po Cheng Orthopedic Institute of Kaohsiung donated nearly $25,000 worth of orthopedic instruments and equipment. Airlines have generously transported it all to Nepal without cost. The Nepal-Taiwan Cooperation Project is presently collecting another $50,000 worth of orthopedic instruments in Taiwan.
The directors and staff of the Nepal Orthopedic Hospital are very appreciative of this assistance. Dr. Anil Shrestha, the Medical Director & Orthopedic Surgeon writes: "As you must know, our hospital is very small, a twenty-four bed hospital catering mostly to patients in the lower socio-economic class. We have very limited staff and trained manpower. We feel very encouraged by getting support from organizations like yours, and we do hope that the support will continue in the future."
Family Volunteer Services continues to assist the NOH. The Nepal-Taiwan Cooperation Project is arranging a fully supported medical fellowship that would enable one of the doctors from the Nepal Orthopedic Hospital to go to Taiwan for further training. FVS also plans to help establish a computer network system for the NOH, which will be donated by Taiwanese companies. Upon completion, it will be the first hospital in Nepal to have a computer network.
This initial shipment of equipment has been an important step, but it is only a small beginning; there is much yet to be done.
The Nepal Orthopedic Hospital in Jorpati receives another $25,000 shipment of orthopaedic instruments and surgical implants donated from the Po-Cheng Orthopedic Hospital in Taiwan.
We recently returned from the Everest region of Nepal, the Okhaldhunga district, and found the people living there sadly in need of all types of health facilities.
This area, consisting of a population of over ten thousand, receives a total yearly health budget equaling a mere $150 for its six to nine villages! Not surprisingly, this amount is nearly depleted in the first month of the year.
We quickly became aware that even basic health education was lacking in the areas of personal hygiene, food preparation, sewage disposal, etc. Many of the children had infected burns as most cooking is done by wood fire. Serious cuts and gashes, many of which become infected, are also very common, as most men carry large knives used as all-purpose tools. Being a mountainous area, falls resulting in broken bones are commonplace. Sadly, most of the time the families are unable or afraid to take their child to a hospital, resulting in deformities and disabilities.
The nearest health facilities are a one-day walk. Dental health care is only available in a nearby mission hospital which is a two- to four-day walk, depending on the strength of the individual, and if he or she is being carried. The only eye check-ups available, should anyone from the area have the time and money to travel, is all the way in Kathmandu, the capital.
We had to fly into the Everest area and hike for one day to reach the remote village.
The infant mortality rate in the villages that we surveyed is between fifteen and twenty percent. These dear folks lack even the most basic training in pre-natal care and delivery. For example, we interviewed some women who were walking around months after delivery with the placenta still in their womb!
We interviewed concerned village people who had the desire to undertake medical training, so we will be linking them up with medical centers in Katmandu, the Red Cross and various NGOs to facilitate this much needed training. We are presently trying to raise funds to build them a simple healthcare building where medical supplies could be stored and dispensed, and patient examination and treatment could take place, as well as health classes be given.
Interviewing villagers about the need for medical facilities
This facility can be built for only $3,000 using local materials and local labor. For another $3,000 we can stock this facility with basic supplies and medicine for a one-year period, plus set up a medical training and health education program and pay for the training of local volunteers to man this health facility.
One very important advantage that we feel will make this proposed Village Health Center a success is that we have the full cooperation and participation of the local community. In presenting this project we have stressed the need for the locals themselves to make commitments and be willing to do what they can to make this happen, as well as to ensure its long-term success.
Okhaldunga Health Post-Our trained village health worker, Mingmar Sherpa, has been providing basic medical services to the over 10,000 inhabitants of the Patle VDC, Okhaldunga District in the Everest Region. Family Volunteer Services has been providing a regular supply of medicines.
If you are interested in contributing toward the Village Health Center or in helping the disabled in the disadvantaged population of Nepal, kindly contact Family Care Foundation. Designate checks or money orders for FVS/Nepal Project, payable to "Family Care Foundation." Thank you for your concern.
More Family Volunteer Services Activities
Hamro Ghar Boarding School for former child carpet-laborers: (remedial education program): We've continued our weekly classes here at this free boarding school. We have been able to coordinate fruit donations from the local market to enhance the children's diet with good natural vitamins. Also some play equipment was donated for the children's outside activity time.
Bhakteshwori Primary School, Manakamana, Gorhka District: Regular classes are resuming this month with an additional teacher that we were able to sponsor. We plan for a visit in October to donate more books & supplies for the new school season.
Manakamana, Gorkha District--We’ve arranged the sponsorship of a much-needed teacher for the Bakteshwori Village Primary School in Manakamana, as well as bringing them books, pencils, and other school supplies.
Visiting an orphanage behind Thamel to bring the children donated school supplies, and make fun balloon hats and animals.
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