The dZi/Himalayan Dental Relief Project dental program strategy has schools return every 18 months for continuing care and education. This fall, for the first time in Ladakh, we saw school groups returning for their third visit. This third visit is important, as it is the best indicator of the dental program’s success or failure in both treatment and education of oral hygiene.

One school in particular stood out with outstanding growth in their oral hygiene. The Bal Saharam from the Leh valley was first seen in spring of 2004.  During those initial visits the 35 students had 99 filings done, with only 4 sets of perfect teeth. This fall the same students had only 28 fillings with 16 sets of perfect teeth. The positive improvement by this school reflects improved oral hygiene due to clinic visits and continuing oral hygiene instruction between dental clinics. Tom Grams, Dental Director for dZi Foundation partner, Himalayan Dental Relief Program, said the Bal Saharam School has by far the best oral hygiene of any school group we have seen in Ladakh.

Our dental and vision clinics are accomplished with tremendous volunteer support. This fall the Himalayan Dental Relief Program provided five dentists supported by seventeen dZi Foundation volunteers.  I invite you to be part of this rewarding experience. Volunteer opportunities are found on the dZi Foundation website.

The fall dental clinics provided basic dental services to over 800 school students from 11 different schools. Creating these healthy smiles and improved oral hygiene is accomplished through your support to the dZi Foundation.  

Thank you from the children of Ladakh,  Garry   

Here is a video of the fall dental clinic by dZi volunteer, Kimberly Mullin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4o9sgpZ1rU.

As the India Director my job is to make the most efficient use of our donors’ contributions overseas. To achieve this objective our programs need to be measured and evaluated. Proof of program success goes so much deeper than a smile or hug. It means: asking our project directors and local staff hard questions; making sure programs stay within our mission; and, as an organization, it means continually exploring unintended consequences, with cultural appreciation, understanding, and sensitivity to those we serve.

I will travel this fall with a group to redefine dZi Foundation program measurements. Our goal will be to put in place long-term evaluations to truly monitor program results. By putting improved measurements in place, we will be able to understand the full impact of our programs. With proper monitoring programs can also be modified to better maximize donors’ dollars. Thus fulfilling our ultimate goal to provide the best service possible to the individuals and communities we are serve.

I look forward to sharing with you in the coming months, stories of promise and success from our India programs.

Nearly ten years ago, when the dZi Foundation began working with the Friendship House in Kathmandu, our focus was simply keeping young girls off the streets and away from being trafficked into the sex industry. Now, our challenges include helping these girls – now young women – find employment and establish themselves as independent adults. Once our sponsored girls graduate from college, the difficult process of finding jobs and housing begins. The following update on three of our sponsored girls was submitted by our Program Director in Kathmandu, Prema Tamang, who is also a graduate of Friendship House and one of the first girls to be supported by dZi.

Jashmina B.K. is really a hard working and passionate girl, and she recently got a good job at Manisha Singh Punarjeen Niwash (MSPN) which works with HIV positive children. Rita has to take care of the children, take them to the hospital, buy medication for them and provide them with medication on a regular basis. Her salary now is good, but she anticipates that as her duties increase so will her payment. She has been living with some of her family members and is busy with her job and excited about her new turn in life.

Merina (Tirtha) Ghale has taken a temporary job at a manpower agency, and has been working there for more than a month. She is responsible for training people who are going abroad to work, and she provides training in plumbing, construction, and electricity. Her salary is low to start, but she is very positive-thinking and is confident that she will work hard to earn more than this.

Neelam Tamang has completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and took a training course on secretarial skills. She has secured a job as a Guest Relation Executive at the 5-star Everest Sheraton Hotel in Kathmandu. Her monthly net salary is quite good and she also receives benefits. She has been living with her own younger sister Poonam Tamang. So, Friendship House feels very proud to have reintegrated Neelam Tamang back into society. The positive changes in her life will allow her to live a dignified and meaningful live.

Jeeya Tamang has been staying with one of her friends from the Jiri Technical School, where she studied midwifery. Jeeya has been preparing for her public Service Commission exam – a nationwide exam that will allow her to practice in Nepal. The exam is in three weeks, and she is confident that she will be able to secure a government job if she passes.

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