Greetings from Himalayan Education Foundation (HEF)!
With the aim of building healthy and resilient communities in the hills, HEF partners with Himalayan Naari, a women’s self-help group based in Chaukori. During 2021, several donor organizations contributed to Naari. This support enabled the group to take up two important projects: Women and Girls Health Initiative and startup of a Naari Store.
Medical Camp for women and girls
Dr. Kathleen Bollerud, HEF board member and the founder of Himalayan Naari, remarks, “the women and girls of the community have long recognized the need for health care and health education in rural areas. Paxworks and Keepers of the Earth Foundation (KOEF) in conjunction with generous local support from the Siment Foundation and a local medical team made this care possible now”.
In October, 2021, a Medical Camp was conducted at Himalayan Inter College in which 29 Naari members and 178 school girls participated. Health check-ups were done by a team of eight health workers headed by Dr. Manisha Samant from the Community Health Center in Berinag.
Medical tests and Health check ups at the camp
A session on women’s hygeine and health
An educational seminar on women’s health and hygiene was conducted by Dr. Manisha with the help of Devbala Bisht, Principal, HIC, Mamta Takuli, Coordinator, Himalayan Naari and our new associate, Aishwarya Vatsal.
Books and medical Kits- Just for girls
As part of a holistic approach to women and girls’ health, the Naari women and the school girls are focusing on menstrual health and the use of sustainable products. PaxWorks has generously assisted the Women and Girls Health Initiative by providing funds for a pilot project to make washable, reusable menstrual pads. With Paxworks support, Naari is able to purchase a heavy duty sewing machine and materials for this pad project. The Siment Foundation also provided 400 sample pads for the community.
The Naari women will begin this effort by making pads for the self-help group and the school girls. Julie Phippen, the founder of Sewpportive Friends, a volunteer project which provides pads to marginalized communities in Africa, is planning to come to Chakouri and provide training in pad production.
Himalayan Naari Store – A new start up venture
Now in another major step forward, visitors to Chaukori, a famous tourist place in the Himalayas, can directly purchase the creations of Naari artisans from the newly opened Himalayan Naari Store.
Sheetal Arya – the new sales manager
With support from Paxworks, Naaris have furbished a beautiful space to sell their products.
Customers can also interact with the members and learn about the process of making woolens and how the activities of the Naari group are benefiting the local community.
Naari artisans at the center
New Naari Associates
We also want to welcome Aishwarya Vatsal, an advocate who has joined Himalayan Naari recently. In the fall, Aishwarya and her husband moved to the local community and became involved in our efforts. With her legal background and excellent writing, Aishwarya is bringing important skills to our local team.
Himalayan Naari combines local knitting knowledge with fashionable designs in making our products. This year, Leslie Voiers, a colorist from New Hampshire has joined our Volunteer team. Leslie is helping to select the color palette of our 2022 collection. This should make our products even more interesting.
Leslie is a textile designer located in Harrisville, NH. She has designed hats, clothing, blankets and rugs. In addition to her work as a colorist, Leslie has been a teacher and author of books about fibers and weaving.
With these initiatives and our new partners, we look forward to a productive and exciting new year.