Promoting Health & Education in Himalayan Regions

Jim Nowak, a local mountaineer living in Ridgway, and co-founder and Executive Director of the dZi Foundation, spoke at a recent meeting and showed a moving video about the many humanitarian projects the foundation has underway. dZi began when Jim and his wife, Kim Reynolds, were inspired to support a safehouse in Kathmandu for girls at risk while on one of their many trekking and climbing trips to Nepal. In the years since then, dZi has also become involved in numerous educational and health projects.

As part of this year's international projects, ASTRA will be raising funds for Friendship House in Kathmandu, a Girls' Education Program sponsored by dZi. These girls have been rescued from the fate of human trafficing and attend a school where most become nurses, midwives, or health assistants of some kind. The girls at the home will use ASTRA funds to identify and fund worthy local projects, thus helping ASTRA pass on the habit of community service to others. Judy Snedeker announced that an anonomous donor has given $1,000 to ASTRA toward this project. In previous years, ASTRA funded an Infant Nutition Program and a teacher in the Nepalese village of Nuntalla through dZi.

Other health-related projects by dZi have been to provide dental clinics and eye clinics for children. The organization also supports schools, trains teachers, and helps bring clean drinking water to villages.

Over the years Altrusa of Montrose has supported several projects in Nepal, including sending books and high quality clothing to poor villages where Val and Terry Burnell are well known. We have also assisted ASTRA by collecting supplies and personal items for them to deliver to Nepal.