Guest blog by Tea Chandra

What is the thing in the world that makes you most happy? To be in love? Maybe. To have lots of money? Yes, for many people. Well, I think a little differently…

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#GivingTuesday is less than a week away, and this year, we want to make it easier than ever for you to save forests and save lives.

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Orangutans are at threat of becoming extinct. There are many reasons why orangutans are going extinct. But believe it or not, your everyday actions can help limit those threats, even if you’re on the other side of the world from the rain forests where orangutans live.

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This weekend, Health In Harmony’s incoming Executive Director, Jonathan Jennings, joined the Board and Staff at our annual retreat in Stevenson, WA. Jonathan had the opportunity to spend the weekend learning more about our organization as we look to the year ahead, and thoughtfully shares his reflections below. He currently serves as Deputy Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders, Canada with over 15 years of experience managing relief and development projects around the world. He also has a BA in Biology, MS in Conservation Biology and Applied Ecology, and MA in International Politics and Security. He will officially begin working at Health In Harmony at the end of January.

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Guest blog by Felona Gunawan

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I never moved to the United States. It was partly to satisfy this curiosity that I decided to go to Sukadana, Indonesia for my rotation as a Johnson and Johnson Global Health Scholar. I was both nervous and excited. Nervous because I was not sure what to expect: will people still be able to understand my elementary level Indonesian? Have the social and political climates changed much from when I moved in 1999? How much can a doctor with Western training that depends so much on technology contribute? Thankfully, a lot of these fears quickly dissipated soon after my arrival in Sukadana. Not necessarily because these challenges were not present, but more so because of the amazing and dedicated staff and community. Moreover, my experience in Sukadana has allowed me to reconnect with the humanitarian aspect of medicine that is often lost in the practice of Western medicine.

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This weekend, the ASRI staff was all hands on deck to help with a BIG transition – moving the clinic into the new hospital building!

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The effects of climate change seem to become more evident every day. Each season, the weather patterns seem to grow more extreme. Extreme heat means more droughts and damage from forest fires. More heavy rain means uncontrollable flooding. Drought means fewer crops, less water in the rivers, and less snow in the mountains, which means less water in our reservoirs come summertime. Preventing forest fires will slow climate change because of the amount of carbon dioxide that is released through large-scale fires.

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This is part two of a two-part series exploring the right to health, how the right is connected to our mission and to our goals for scaling-up, and how your support is vital to our work. You can read part one here.

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Receiving an invitation for the Independence Day Ceremony in the Presidential Palace was something that Pak Noor never dreamed of. Yet, on August 17th, 2016, he was there – invited by Indonesian President Joko Widodo as one of the “Outstanding Farmers” representing the Kayong Utara Regency in West Kalimantan. So, who is Pak Noor?

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This is part one of a two-part series exploring the right to health, how the right is connected to our mission and to our goals to scale-up, and how your support is vital to our work. You can read part two here. Read More

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Guest blog by Vince O’Hara

Only 17% of my fellow Americans are “alarmed” by climate change, according to a recent survey. More than half (55%) rank climate change last among 23 competing political priorities.

As someone alarmed by climate change, this news is alarming. When I look around and see rising temperatures, increasing carbon emissions, declining forestsdying seas, booming human population, mass displacement, and surging migration, alongside an admirable yet insufficient international agreement that assumes that we will make fundamental economic shifts by mid-century or otherwise face unimaginable heat, I cannot help but be alarmed.

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If you are like me, then you too are proudly watching as the Community Hospital and Training Center (CHTC) rapidly approaches completion.

If you are like me, you love hearing stories from community members and volunteers about how the projects at ASRI are affecting them directly and changing the way they see the world.

If you are like me, you are also looking at the future wondering, how can we do more?

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Guest blog by Maggie Gumbinner

Last month, a group of nine Health In Harmony supporters traveled to Sukadana in West Kalimantan, where our partner ASRI operates, as part of the 2016 Friendship Tour. On the trip, they met members of the ASRI staff, saw the rain forest that they helped reforest, talked to the patients whose lives were saved at the clinic, and watched the hospital grow before their eyes. Below, Health In Harmony Board Vice President and trip participant Maggie Gumbinner shares her reflection from the trip.

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Why rain forests are important is a question with a complex answer. Rain forests are Earth’s oldest and most complex ecosystem. Fifty percent of the world’s plants and animals are found in rain forests, and scientists estimate that there may be millions of plants, insects, and microorganisms still undiscovered.

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In Indonesia, doctors must pay to complete their medical residency, creating a wide gap between those who can afford specialized training and those who cannot. Not only is this an inequitable system, but it means that rural areas are often void of skilled doctors. A small group of Health In Harmony donors has already given $110,000 to three former ASRI doctors currently completing their residencies. These doctors plan to return to ASRI and serve as required specialists in the Community Hospital and Training Center for five years. But they need $74,000 to finish their education. You can help keep them in school with a donation today.

Below, we share the stories of these three doctors.

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A fundamental part of Health In Harmony’s mission is to improve the health of the people we serve. By building the Community Hospital and Training Centerin rural West Borneo, Indonesia, our organization, in partnership with ASRI, is able to provide the education and services that Indonesians need to provide health care in Indonesia, allowing people to stay healthy and live longer.

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Over the past two weeks, a group of nine Health In Harmony supporters have been traveling around Sukadana in West Kalimantan, where our partner ASRI operates. On this trip, they’ve had the opportunity to meet members of the ASRI staff, see the rain forest that they helped reforest, talk to the patients whose lives were saved at the clinic, and watch the hospital grow before their eyes. Below, Health In Harmony Board Vice President and trip participant Maggie Gumbinner shares a series of beautiful photos from their journey. Next stop: Bali! Read More

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Sitting on giant blue plastic tarps to protect from the ever-damp ground, I was among about 100 villagers in the chief’s front yard, gathered to watch two new short films about to be projected onto a giant white sheet strung across the front porch. The films, about the relationship between human and environmental health and how the villages could benefit by taking care of both, starred some of their neighbors.

I was really nervous. I had produced and directed these films. Read More

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We’re back with another edition of Research Rundown! This month, Health In Harmony Research Director, Bethany Kois, interviewed Herfina Nababan, a volunteer who recently returned to ASRI after seven years to conduct 71 in-person interviews with members of the community for a realist evaluation aimed at uncovering Health In Harmony’s theory of the change. Below she shares how ASRI has changed since her last trip, and what brought her back after so many years! Read More

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July’s latest and greatest reads on deforestation, global health, and everything in between. Read More

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