"The jobs always go to the city people: they have all the
advantages. They can't make the changes we need because they don't know the needs of the village people."
- Intern on why he took such a difficult job with our organization
HEALTH Inc. and all its international partners in the USA, UK, Canada and India are groups of dedicated volunteers. And our projects are managed by members of each branch of our organisation, on a voluntary basis. The structure allows us to keep administration costs very low and project success rates high.
Members, representing a broad spectrum of castes, religions, education levels, ages and occupations, take turns managing our small, village or institution-based projects each year. Interns and Future Leaders on HI scholarships, voluntarily support projects in their home areas, as a part of their "reality based" education.
We love this arrangement as it allows groups of women from remote areas to operate their own projects at the same time that they learn how to operate their own projects.
Some HI personalities include:
Cynthia Hunt, HI Founder
Magic means different things to different people. For Cynthia Hunt, the founder of HEALTH Inc and the Executive Director of the HELP Fund, it's all about good health and education. As a passionate artist, book publisher and educator, she helps communities form partnerships that support much needed change. And in her second home of North America, she helps teachers bring global education alive in classrooms across the continent.
She routinely hikes for days at a time through the rugged mountains of northwest India. She fondly refers to this as her "commute to work". She manages the international projects for HI.
Geylong Konchok Phandey, HI President
Geylong Konchok Phandey, who hails from one of HI's remote Sham villages, is a renowned Ladakhi language scholar. Author of many texts on the Ladakhi language, he is a dedicated supporter of the right of Ladakhi children to learn in their mother tongue and the fundamental need to conserve the rapidly-dying out Ladakhi language.
Geylong manages HI's Life Skills Education programmes and helps all HI projects produce tri-lingual learning materials, with topics ranging from agricultural diversification, mental health, girls' and boy's adolescent health guides and over 75 children's literature books to date.
HI's 2010 - 2012 Project Managers
Tsetan Angchuk, Secretary A Senior Teacher and Zonal Resource Person with 25 years experience within the Department of Education, Tsetan Angchuk is a firm believer in inquiry based learning and has facilitated over 200 teacher training programmes in his life. This year's project supports teachers and children in creating unique learning experiences and then sharing them during regional Education Fairs. Tsetan Angchuk is also coordinating the teacher training programme with the American Embassy School in New Delhi and volunteering on the HI Flood Trauma team, visiting schools in every flood-impacted village in the district.
Thinlays Dawa, Member Deputy Director of the District's Agriculture Department, Thinlays Dawa is working with HI's Future Leaders to create video educational materials on sustainable agriculture techniques and operating Agricultural Fairs to inform thousands of farmers across the district about the importance of incorporating new technologies and techniques into traditional agricultural practises.
Dr. Ghulam Mohd. and Dr. Ahmed Iqbal, Members Before 2008, the two districts of Ladakh had no mental health programme, although these two HI members saw hundreds and hundreds of patients each year at government hospitals with clear mental health issues. Determined to make a change, the doctors are now in their third year of creating a Ladakh-wide programme that trains Department of Health staff, creates awareness of mental health issues at the village level, provides universal free access to mental health care and produces a variety of mental health educational materials. A major goal in the 2010 project is to insure that all patients, regardless of income, can access psychiatric medicines that can support their recovery.
Future Leaders, Phunchok Thupstan, Organiser Phunchok Thupstan, Sonam Rinchen, Lobsang Stantak, Tashi Stanzin, Tsering Stobdan, Dechos Gyurmet and Tashi Phunchok (all former interns) remain HI members and operate Future Leaders projects and groups for HI. These range from producing outstanding documentaries for HI projects through the Domkhar Drama and Design Group, operating Summer and Winter Camps for youth, helping Women's Entrepreneur Groups in remote areas, and even working with a group of Microsoft Research-Bangalore volunteers on new platform documentaries. FL's participate in many of our India and Global exchanges, stellar examples of the future of Ladakh.
The Future Leaders support its own Youth Council within HI. Young, at risk boys and girls are learning leadership skills from their peers (who faced the same life challenges with courage and joy). The Youth have done remarkable things in the past 4 years: from organising sports clubs, to cultural events, to even winning the All Ladakh Youth Ice Hockey Tournament. Two youth, Jigmet Dawa and Tsetan Gyatso now serve as Youth Reps to the HI Board.
Members Volunteering to Projects
Sonam Norboo, Former Intern and Member Norboo is from the remote northern zone of Ladakh - over the highest motorable road in the world, and then a long walk to his village. Norboo dreamt of medicine but family responsibilities cut his education short. Working as a HEALTH Inc intern, he completed his pharmacist training and in 2009 gained his EKG training certificate. Norboo traveled (on foot) all over the district, helping villagers gain control over their health.
He now works for the Department of Health, managing the HI and BC Children's Hospital supported Paediatric Handicapped Unit based out of the Leh District Hospital. In his spare time, he enjoys helping with the District Mental Health Program.
Dorjay Raftan, Treasurer Former Project Manager, Dorjay is the owner-operator of a computer and desk top publishing business in Leh. Dorjay did everything in HI: designing solar buildings, advising women on agricultural projects and supporting the Book Team's publications. While we're thrilled he is now a business owner, we are also pleased that he remains a HI Executive Board Member, traveled to Montreal with the Future Leader team in 2010 and still helps us with health book publishing.
Jigmet Dadul, Member Another former Project Manager, Dadul is studying for his Masters in Journalism in Delhi and taking computer courses there, In all his spare time, he helps manage a Domkhari-owned, tourism business and translates for Future Leaders while on American Embassy School exchanges. In other words, Dadul has not slowed down one bit. He hopes to give remote people a voice in local news when he graduates and returns to Ladakh full time in 2012.
Ghulam Hussain Hussain is from a village that passed between Indian and Pakistani control. He grew up with little sense of security. Passionate about education and girls' welfare in his home village, he now divides his time between supporting Girl’s Coops in Nubra and working in pre-primary open schools in Denmark (where he moved with his wife and children). Having spent over ten years tramping to every village in Ladakh, he has inspired dozens of villages to reinvigorate their schools and thousands of children to stay in school.
Other Members supporting work V.P Sonam Rinchen is a powerful advocate for remote village projects.
Drs. Tsering Lhadrol and Diskit Dolma support our Women's Health Projects.
G.M. Sheik and Lobsang Tapkas offer valuable financial and management advise.
Teachers Padma Jigmet and Stanzin Dolma support high school education projects.
The two Tsering Dolkars and Lobsang Chorol give village women a strong voice.
The HELP Inc Fund Non-Profit Board Tom Hornbein MD (Chair), Professor Emeritus, University of Washington School of Medicine. Estes Park, CO
James C Hunt MD, Chancellor Emeritus, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. Maryville, TN
Michael Louie BA, real estate consultant. San Francisco, CA
Kathryn Mikesell Hornbein MD, retired pediatrician, child advocate, writer. Estes Park, CO
Ellen Lory Bryant, MSc, retired science and health teacher, Houston, TX
Cynthia I Hunt MSc, Founder, the HELP Fund - HEALTH Inc
Partners American Embassy School, New Delhi and Lower Canada College in our Global Classroom Initiative.
Volunteers from the Alberta Teachers Federation, School District of the Canadian Rockies, Microsoft Research, BC Children's Hospital Centre for International Child Health, Lux Treks, Shelby County Vocational and Rehabilitation Services, Omprakash Foundation and Canassist provide unparalleled human resource support.
Women's United and Girls' Coops All of our women's cooperatives joined together to create a marketing and learning organisation they call Women United. They've discovered the power of strength in numbers, learning together and sharing problem solving between villages.
Our Girls Groups have (very) small-scale, successful businesses producing much-needed solar lights, processed agricultural foods and heritage seeds.
School Partners Numerous Village Education Committees twinned with HI to build solar-heated schools and libraries, host teacher training and place dozens Magic Boxes of school supplies in their government-operated schools. Education improvements for all!
Our Kid's Coops operate kid-owned, year-round greenhouses at their residential schools. The children hope that one day we can introduce their coop concept as a part of the curriculum in every school.
Former Employees and Interns
Tsering Stanba, Former Director
Former HI Director, he is now the Director of the Ladakh Traditional Medicine Practitioners Society. Originally from a nomad family, Stanba, his wife and daughter live in Choglamsar, near Leh. Stanba took over the directorship of HI as it registered as a Society and grew in breadth and depth. Stanba's natural teaching and communication skills, along with his administrative training and international experience serve him well in his new post as it demands international travel and doing all executive and liaison work for the Society.
Stanzin is from a nomad family, with 7 brothers and sisters. He went to government schools in his remote semi-nomadic community. Absent teachers, beatings and rote-memorizing for exams was the norm. He dreamt of having an opportunity for a good education and becoming a teacher.
Stanzin took on HEALTH Inc internship for 3 years, traveling to the remotest villages and helping people to believe in themselves. He gained skills as a teacher, a leader, a group worker and in educational materials production. He now works as a teacher – in a village near his home – helping other remote village children achieve as much as he has.
Thinleys, like all our interns, hails from a remote village. He loves sciences - anything to do with sciences - making him a wonderful intern for HI. He was instrumental is helping us start our Disabled Children's programme, enjoyed participating in agricultural research with us and joined Tsering Stanba in one of our Global Classroom exchanges to Canada. Currently working in tourism, he hopes to teach one day.
Support a Group or Village
The Village Women of Kurimbik
These women felt that government services would never reach their remote village. Additionally, there was a serious rift in the village and cooperative work had proved impossible in the last 14 years. They asked HEALTH Inc to come to the village and help them form a cooperative. A joyous 3-day workshop, resulted in an achievable 3-year plan and women dedicated to setting aside differences. Forteen months later, their 3-year goals were achieved: a solar-heated school and creche, trained teachers, improved herd health and the highest-altitude tree plantation in Ladakh. More, the men are now united and the government eager to support a village that is the living testament to self-help development.
There are many more villages awaiting a sponsor to let them get started on this exciting journey Why not make it happen?