Health in Harmony

The vision for Health In Harmony began more than 15 years ago in the forests of Gunung Palung National Park where Dr Kinari Webb recognized the direct link between the environmental destruction wrought by illegal logging, the desperate state of human health in the communities around the park, and the impact of rain forest loss on health worldwide. Our comprehensive approach works at the intersection of human and environmental health to provide sustainable change in communities around the world.
Jul 24, 2013

Six Years of Health

A goat recipient and Dining for Women visitor
A goat recipient and Dining for Women visitor

Dear Global Givers,

I hope you are enjoying a sunny and adventurous summer. It is an exciting season for Health In Harmony and our program partner ASRI with an anniversary, a generous matching donation challenge, an upcoming marathon, a rewarding site visit, and ASRI Kids’ second summer. For us, this summer has been a time to celebrate ASRI’s anniversary and the success we have achieved through partnership with you. ASRI opened its clinic doors six years ago and began providing quality, affordable health care to the communities around Gunung Palung National Forest. Today, more than one third of the individuals living in those communities have come to ASRI to benefit from that care. The results from our five-year survey completed earlier this year gave us even more reason to celebrate. We see the health of the people and the ecosystems improving hand-in-hand.

The only limit to this success is physical space. Serving so many patients in addition to providing trainings in organic farming and other alternate livelihoods is stretching Clinik ASRI beyond its capacity. We recently received a building permit for a new Community Health, Surgical and Training Center and are working on a fundraising push. One very generous donor, Jan O’Brien, gave $10,000 to the center - a gift we are currently tripling for ASRI’s birthday! A gift that size would build the dental suite or three outpatient rooms or the radiology lab. Wow! You can read more about the progress on the new clinic on our website and blog.

HIH and ASRI staff is helping with the July fundraising goal by participating in the Portland Marathon, in our headquarter city in October.  ASRI Cofounder Hotlin Ompusunggu, fresh off a marathon in Indonesia, will run with Volunteer Coordinator Kari Malen and her husband Loren Bell, and donations to the team will go to the new clinic. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the team’s training and ways to donate. 

Since we last wrote, Kelsey has also posted albums on Facebook with photos from Michelle’s April trip to Sukadana with a group from Dining for Women. The women participated in a deeply meaningful Goats for Widows gifting ceremony that was the highlight of a powerful and emotional journey making connections across geography and language.

Finally, summer is also the season for ASRI Kids. This was the second summer for the program, and the children, families and our leaders continue to be very excited by the opportunity for local kids to learn about making paper, recycling, rainforest ecosystems and, the yearly highlight, taking a field trip into the national park. Even though these children live right on the park’s border, most have never visited, and they saw orangutans and other spectacular wildlife for the first time on this trip. This year’s class also had the serendipitous opportunity to meet Dr. Birute Galdikas, premier primatologist and the founder of Tanjung Putting National Park. One of the ASRI Kids cofounders, Ana Sofia, wrote a wrap-up of the summer with some great photos – you can read it on our blog here.

None of the success in health, reforestation or environmental education we have seen in the past six years could have happened without your support. When people like you see the connections between human and environmental health, lives and forests are saved. Please continue following our blog, our Facebook and our Twitter for the latest news about our July matching donations, the Portland Marathon training and more happenings in Portland and Sukadana. 

Thank you!

The vision for our new health center
The vision for our new health center
ASRI Kids in the national forest
ASRI Kids in the national forest

Links:

Apr 30, 2013

And a very happy Earth Day to all!

Bridge - intended for people, used by orangutans!
Bridge - intended for people, used by orangutans!

Dear Global Givers,

How was your Earth Day? We hope it was as green as ours and thank you to all those who chose to give in honor of our planet! Since January, thanks to you, so much as happened for us here at Health In Harmony and at our project partner, ASRI.

Some of our biggest news is that ASRI has secured a construction permit for the new, expanded Community Health and Training Center to expand the healthcare and training services offered. This was a long process of working conscientiously with local authorities, and we are thrilled to begin construction this summer.

Daring dentist and ASRI co-Founder Dr. Hotlin Ompusunggu is raising funds for a dental wing in that new community health center, by running in the Borneo International Marathon, to take place on May 5th! We've been calling it the "Marathon For Molars." (And, earlier this year, as part of her ongoing dental education of the community, there was a toothbrushing competition for the local kids. See photo below.)

Meanwhile, reforestation has continued apace. In February, reforestation at Laman Satong was completed, placing over 7350 seedlings in a 2 hectare (about 5 acre) plot of previously degraded land about two hours away from Sukadana. Reforestation has also been completed at the Sederhan Corridor (a gap between two areas of forest near Sukadana, ASRI's home base) - over 5000 seedlings! - and orangutans have been glimpsed using the plank bridge put up for humans to use during reforestation - we are so excited that orangutans, which spend over 95% of their lives in the trees, will be even more able to travel between these previously isolated forest regions once the trees grow!

The highly popular sustainable agriculture (organic farming) training programs continue. An ex-logger attested personally to the effectiveness of the program, saying, "The truth is that five years ago we were all loggers. We usually got one crop of rice and the rest of the time we logged. Now no one in this village logs because we now get two or three crops of rice and are making money in other ways. When I think back to how poor we were then, its amazing the change now that ASRI has made in our lives. And now we know about how important it is to protect the trees that produce oxygen." Wow. What an amazing shift!

And it's not just anecdotal - ASRI staffer, Agus Supianto, confirmed with his most recent survey of the villagers that since the program's inception in 2007, we have gone from three to TEN non-logging villages out of the thirteen surrounding Gunung Palung National Park!

In news of other alternative sustainable livelihoods training, Goats For Widows continues its success with increased animal stewardship trainings and distribution of goats to even more widowed women. In late April, cross-global connection is continuing, with a delegation from Dining For Women (a giving circle spanning the United States that selected HIH as the featured program in September 2012) visiting ASRI! Photos soon to come.

PS - Our director Michelle, and volunteer manager Kari, are currently conducting our annual site visit to ASRI - Check out Michelle's blog posts at the HIH Blog! We'll be sharing photos too: try Facebook or Twitter for more updates.

Dr. Hotlin Ompusunggu training for the marathon
Dr. Hotlin Ompusunggu training for the marathon
Tooth brushing competition
Tooth brushing competition
The Sederhan corridor, now reforested!
The Sederhan corridor, now reforested!

Links:

Jan 30, 2013

What a way to start the year!

Eye examination before cataract surgery
Eye examination before cataract surgery

Dear Global Givers,

First of all, we want to share with you the remarkable results from our Five Year Survey! The survey was completed to quantify our partner ASRI's effectiveness, measured against the 2007 Baseline Survey. The survey, including 1500 to 2000 participants (some questions got more responses than others) shows that, since ASRI's founding:

  • child immunizations have increased 24% (thanks to the efforts of ASRI's mobile clinic) 
  •  prevalences of common disease symptoms (fever, cough, diarrhea, and weight loss) have decreased across the board
  • households reporting that they engage in logging have decreased an amazing 68%! 

..and these are just some of the results. You can read the survey here in summary or full versions.

Secondly, we closed out 2012 with enthusiastic support from all of our donors - and an enthusiastic "hello" and thank you to those of you who are joining us for the first time, having participated in Gifts for Good. Thanks to you, several families will get supplies, training, and assistance starting up their kitchen gardens. And thanks to all of you, our partners at ASRI continue to do amazing work - since we last wrote to you, together we have:

  • treated cataracts (one man may have fallen in love with Dr. Kinari Webb when he first glimpsed her face after years of blindness)
  • planted trees (thousands of seedlings on about 5 acres of critical orangutan habitat)
  • provided animal husbandry trainings (widows soon to receive goats are excitedly preparing for their goats' arrivals) 
  • and treated more patients than ever, thanks to a renovation on the ASRI clinic in late 2012! 

Finally, we wanted to share with you that our Founder and President, Dr. Kinari Webb, gave a TEDx Talk in Jakarta! Watch the talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eOspm19pgY and if you find it interesting (which we are sure you will…) - share it with your friends, and let us know what you think!

 

 

The joy of sight!
The joy of sight!
Preparing seedlings for planting!
Preparing seedlings for planting!
Renovating the clinic (now complete!)
Renovating the clinic (now complete!)

Links:

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