Delivering Health in The Himalayas

Bodhi Tree Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization (Tax ID: 26-0824066) founded in 2007 by Mark & Sarah Ferris.  Our mission is to support and promote community-based activities that focus on maternal and child health in the remote Himalayas of Humla, Nepal.  We work in conjunction with local Nepal-based NGO’s (non-government organizations) and Nepal’s Ministry of Health to achieve our goals.

 

By providing Humli women with Safe Motherhood initiatives we can successfully decrease maternal and infant mortality rates, improve the health of the entire family, establish behavior changes, and increase overall productivity in the community.  Our projects include:

  • Organizing 5-day Safe Motherhood training courses that teach basic health education & midwifery skill to local women. We provide two classes per year and in different villages throughout the district.  Currently we have trained over 150 women who then share this valuable knowledge with the rest of the community.
  • Purchase and distribution of clean delivery kits that are culturally acceptable and manufactured in Nepal. We have delivered over 1000 birthing kits in three years! There are no roads in Humla so delivery is done on foot and with pack horses.
  • Distribution of prenatal/postnatal vitamins to pregnant & lactating women.  We will continue to work with Vitamin Angels & Nepal’s Ministry of Health to reach over 700 Humli women per year.
  • Our newest project involves the building of a chicken and egg farm to provide sustainable income for our programs. The sale of eggs will provide money to fund the Safe Motherhood classes and clean delivery kits. It will also provide much needed nutrition as well as employment for 1-2 local women.

  Humla is one of the most remote and poverty stricken districts in Nepal. It is located in the northwest corner of the Mid-Western region bordering Tibet. The district is isolated and accessible only by foot, animal or airplane due to rugged mountain terrain, deep gorges and inclement weather. Simikot, the district headquarters, lies at 2,900 meters and the rest of Humla varies between 1,500 and 7,300 meters. Humla is 5,655 sq.kms of which only 2% is cultivated. This lack of cultivatable land leads to food deficits for up to six months a year in many of the villages.

     Of the 75 districts in Nepal, Humla ranks 74th on the Overall Development index. It ranks 73rd in poverty and deprivation index and 72nd in the Women's Empowerment index. Literacy rates in Humla are 27% for men and 5% for women. There is limited health care available due to the lack of funds and personnel.

     98% of Humli women give birth in unsanitary conditions such as the cowshed. Often the only people there to help are the mother-in-law or another woman from the village. Only 2% of the population has a trained birth attendant at their labor.
Infant Mortality Rates here are 81/1000! This is extremely high especially compared to Nepal's average of 39/1000. 

EVERY DAY IN NEPAL 12 WOMEN & 75 BABIES DIE DURING CHILDBIRTH!


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