Health in Harmony - Saving Forests • Saving Lives

 

What is our 83-person staff and volunteer team up to?

Mar 17th, 2012
Orangutan Mother and Baby

Orangutan Mother and Baby. Photo by Sachi Oshima.

SAVING LIVES AND VITAL HABITAT ONE PRECIOUS STEP AT A TIME

At Health In Harmony, with our partner ASRI, we are forging a model that is measurably changing the face of global health and conservation. How? By saving lives and restoring vision at Klinik ASRI, while simultaneously working side-by-side with and training health care providers, traditional birth attendants, and midwives in exchange for restoring the rain forest, protecting critical orangutan habitat with community-based guardianship, teaching healthy, sustainable organic agricultural methods, and providing goats to widows. And, we are getting ready to build a beautiful community hospital that will serve as a center for conservation education, training, and a foundation for replicating the Health In Harmony model.

Imagine this new world as you read the story of Ibu Lena whose husband died of tuberculosis five years ago, right before her youngest of five children was born.

Ibu Lena with her goat and one of her children

Ibu Lena with her goat and one of her children.

They live in a one-room shack with almost nothing. They sleep on a thin woven mat which is the only furniture they own – but Ibu Lena’s greatest sadness was that she couldn’t pay for her children to go to school. When ASRI learned of Ibu Lena, she was offered a male and female goat as part of our Goats For Widows program.

Four months later twin baby goats were born. Ibu Lena gave one back to ASRI when it was old enough and that goat in turn was given to another widow in desperate need. The other goat, Ibu Lena sold and used the money for uniforms, pencils and paper so that now three of her children can go to school.

But there’s more. Ibu Lena also sells the manure to neighbors – who used to be illegal loggers but are now growing organic vegetables, thanks to training Health In Harmony donors made possible. Today, her village is one of those free of illegal logging.

This is one piece of the overall decrease in logging in almost all of our 30 villages, and an increase in villages that have completely ceased logging. From late 2010 to 2011 we went from 7 of 30 villages not doing any logging at all, to 10 out of 30!

Ibu Lena’s story reminds us that with one seemingly small gesture, we can graciously express our commitment to true community health and healthy livelihoods for all. Moreover, Ibu Lena reminds us that through our growing circle of contributors – volunteers and donors – we can create change that is far more than the sum of its parts. We share our deepest gratitude with Ibu Lena and with you for your support. In the months ahead, we’ll be bringing you breaking news about the hospital and ways that you can express your commitment to changing the face of community health and conservation.

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