(music and birds chirping)
These villages are in total isolation.
One wall of this valley are
the Ganesh Himal.
The Himalayan mountains.
And the other side of that would be Tibet.
These hills are as tough
climbing as the mountains are.
This is very very difficult terrain.
It is brutal living here.
People here were considered cavemen
or what they call people of the jungle
and looked down upon.
A lot of these folks have absolutely nothing.
So many children were dying
in these villages.
So no government support was here.
No services were here.
No healthcare, no nothing.
Nobody wanted to
come up the hill to help them.
I tried to not look at the children's
faces. Sometimes the kids are
well, too far gone.
You can't save them.
People weren't living very long
in rural Nepal.
One in five kids were dying by age five.
One in ten women were dying in childbirth
and their life expectancy was very low.
The government had promised medicines
for so long and yet,
where they live, if you get a fever
one day you could be dead.
You just could die up there.
They know for sure what their
basic needs are.
What is next for them
or what would help them
is kind of lost for them.
because they are living day to day.
But then you ask them a lot
okay, what do you think
would help you in your life?
Based on that we've organized our efforts
to help them with that.
We target three main programs
healthcare, education and income.
There are almost about thirty projects
we are doing at a time.
For each of them
there is a committee, a subcommittee so
the people are involved.
Let them make the decisions
Actually getting to say what they want.
Yeah, the mission is very simple.
It is just help people
Jargon that most social organizations
But we actually do it not just talk about it.
We call them medical treks.
We invite international volunteers.
We've had almost 600 doctors come
into our program.
Many of them come multiple times.
Some come almost every year.
It's as huge as an Everest expedition.
There's already an advance team of
fifty porters will be taking almost
thirty baskets full of
medicines and some of the
heavier equipment in advance.
Then there will be fifty others who
will be with us
carrying the food, to the tents,
the tables and the chairs.
To get this whole team of people over
two high mountain passes.
Through snow and ice and what have you
to enter this valley called the
Aku Kala Valley in central Nepal.
We have to drive about ten hours.
This winding dirt trail to
get ourselves up to the first camp.
From there onwards it is
walking over passes through the
It is not easy.
There are only two ways in Nepal.
Up and down.
And very rough terrain.
This is not like a regular trek route
where you have tea houses and
the trails have been fixed.
It goes over these two high passes
In the middle of really nowhere.
Every step you have to be careful
where you put your foot down.
And also the ledges. They are steep
slopes, several thousand feet drops.
If you fall off
to reach this village area called
Tipling, Shertung, Lapa and Chala.
Generally, a trek will last four to five
medical days at these specific villages.
It is a good week overall to two weeks
to get in and out.
During these treks we will see
anywhere from 800 to 1000 patients.
And that's only one aspect of the trek.
One of the most important parts of
these medical treks is actually doing
the educating of the healthcare workers here.
That is one things we spend a lot of time on.
The most important thing to us
because we are providing health service
for these people.
(if he told you he has difficulty...)
You know it's almost like having a resident
work with me.
In 24 hours or whenever that was,
I am not going to be there anymore.
So it is a matter of him
being able to take as much away
from what I am able to provide for him.
The stress he must be under 24/7 here
being the only provider in Tipling.
Called any and all times of the day
about medical conditions that would make
us pause in the United States.
Then he just tackles them and goes right on.
You want that attachment to not be
attached to the tooth anymore okay?
What we are going to do today a lot of
is her do a lot of the work and me
be here to help her and get her through it.
Talk a little bit about what's the right
tools to use and how to go about it.
What I love about her is that she is
so eager to learn the new instruments and
how to use them. She is not afraid.
Every time I say "Do you want to try something"
and she always says yes.
And it's really fun to see her the two days we've been
working with her how each day she is getting
better and better and more confident.
Working with all of these healthcare providers
they get it. That is awesome to see.
The healthcare was, I would say
the hub of the program. That's a good start.
But with that comes literacy classes.
If you don't understand about health
and hygiene and the connection
between them it is all lost.
We said okay, the wives are the people
we really need to work on, the mothers.
They are very receptive.
They are very concerned for the children
for the family and they are like the
main people in the villages.
Help them with toilet building and about
latrines and about clean water.
That's how we stepped into literacy class.
We started the latrine project.
The women's groups started getting
very excited about it.
Over a period of time we tried
twenty or thirty projects.
This failed and that failed.
We did pretty miserably.
We said income generation.
How can we help them make a little
more money so there is more money at home
means more food and then it helps the
kids directly in their health.
And eventually we got partners and friends
who said okay maybe this will work.
Then we went into environmental handicrafts and
goat raising and a bunch of other stuff.
Every time we found somebody who has the
brains or the talent or the interest and we
just took those people in and we started
So right now we have about eight teachers
trained and teaching in the villages.
Bahudur Bishikama is a teacher
now in Shertung. He is the first teacher
from a blacksmith family.
We are very proud of him.
You know the lives of the Nepalese
and providing healthcare in these
rural areas is tough enough to begin with.
It was just compounded many fold with
challenges once the Maoist Insurrection
and the guerrilla warfare started back in
1996 and lasted until 2006.
Between sixteen and twenty-thousand
that's the estimate, died from this
guerrilla war and unfortunately, many
of those were innocent men, women and
It effected not only the rural Nepalese
but also us as an organization.
We had staff members that were
kidnapped and held ransom.
We did get them back.
But we were extorted to get them back.
The Maoist as well as the government
forces put pressure on us not to treat
the other warring side telling us that
we could not do what we were here to do it
and that was to offer healthcare for all.
HHC managed to build a hospital in
Ilam overcoming many obstacles
that a war would throw at any organization.
That's a project that is dear to our hearts
because of all the efforts and also
because of the time it was started when
civil war was so huge and so devastating
We can't allow civil war to
beat us down.
We said let's just go ahead and do
Hundreds and hundreds of people
showed up to participate as stakeholders.
It was very touching and
heartening to see that people were
so involved and so enthusiastic in spite of
the civil war.
April 2004 we were able to launch it.
It was the beacon of hope for
the people then in the midst of all
this battle and people dying.
And that even out of all of this
we have to continue with this.
There is hope here and that is
what we persisted with.
Through the darkest moments of this war
we stuck to what we did best
and that is give healthcare, education
and income generation opportunities
to these villages.
How Himalayan HealthCare navigated these
difficult times has made me realize what
a special organization Himalayan HealthCare
is. We are resilient, we are responsive.
And now it is one of my more
proud moments of being part of
Himalayan HealthCare, seeing
how we negotiated this line we had to walk.
I always believed that NGOs are not
about empire building.
NGOs are facilitators and catalysts and
they fill gaps.
Times have changed. Since 2006 after
the end of the civil war new governments
have come in and all of the different
political parties have come together
to write our new constitution.
Healthcare and education seems to be
something the government is promising and
starting to deliver a little more.
As the villages and the Nepalis are
evolving and changing, we have to change
Fill in those slots and make up for those
deficits so that the people have long
We are looking to individual
entrepreneurs and see how we can hone
their skills and help them write out
We are going to do that more and more
especially with women.
If we train young people
to take over a lot of the projects
that we do and they will continue with
the work and that will enhance or create
better and bigger things beyond what
we have started.
I've been in Tipling where this started
in 1992. The leaders of that village
community are young people in their
twenties who actually have been around
and grown up in the environment of
opportunity provided by
So now you have a whole set of people
who are leading the village and the
communities because of the influence of
So I have really seen first hand
the kind of change that has taken place.
One reason I keep coming back to this
organization and I am so committed
to it is the work it does and at
the end of the day, the results that
"up top, up top!"
We've really made a difference in the
lives of the Nepalese
helping them help themselves.
You know, everytime we come back
there is things you can see that they
have done and improvements
they've made and you know still
there's a lot more to do.
(so we looked at his creatinine)
(so we can use it in this case or no?)
I think Anil Parajuli is the heart
and soul of Himalayan HealthCare.
He founded it.
He's been working day in and day out
ever since 1992.
He's really got passion for serving
the people of Nepal.
He has done a good job
of developing a vision to
develop healthcare for
villages that have never seen
anything like it.
And good stuff too.
Not imperialistic culture invasion but
simple stuff. Hygiene, toilets, the stuff that
really saves lives.
Anil is universally well respected
and liked in all of these villages.
You see with the Blacksmiths, the Kamis
that he is educating them where they
have not been educated before.
With women, he's set up
Women Empowerment programs in the
His educational component has had
a direct effect on their healthcare.
We've been able to lower some
of the infant mortality rates in
some of these villages from
two-hundred per thousand
down to around twenty per thousand.
(this is the start of it)
He knows sort of the next step
in the process.
He has a lot of great foresight in
terms of working with the people
and what his next steps are gonna be.
This is something that other
organizations, I think, should really
look to emulate because it is
something that could tremendously change
the landscape for care in many
impoverished rural areas elsewhere
in the world.
Himalayan HealthCare is proud of
what it's been able to do for
the people for all these years.
But we are very humbled by
all of our work.
(so I don't see any signs of a secondary infection)
(it's much better)
There's such a thing as altruism.
There are people who like to do things
(If this comes back...)
It's the heart more than anything.
You just have that passion to go
We are not doing any rocket science
and I have not created these things
in my head really.
But the passion and emotion yes definitely
that is the key ingredient in doing all
Because without that
it's not going to work.