Thanks for visiting. I depart for Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry), India on December 15, to serve at a small NGO (nongovernmental organization) called Prime Trust for approximately five weeks. This small NGO is located on the coast of the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu. Prime Trust is dedicated to improving the lives of women and children through Self-Help Groups (SHGs) facilitated through microfinance tools. Programs including educational awareness campaigns aimed at women's rights, domestic violence education, HIV/AIDS awareness and health education motivate and assist the women in the community and surrounding area.

I hope to keep you posted of my experiences and share pictures with you of my journey. Feel free to post comments, suggestions, tips, your own experiences, good will wishes and prayers. Godspeed!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Diabetes - New awareness campaign possibility

"In a shocking revelation, the 20th annual World Diabetes Congress of the International Diabetic Federation has said that India leads the world in the looming epidemic of diabetes. The country currently has the highest number of 50.8 million people suffering from diabetes, followed by China with 43.2 million and the US with 26.8 million. By 2010 almost seven percent of India’s adult population will have the disease." Source: http://www.zeenews.com/news578818.html

Siuce I just discovered that India has this growing diabetes epidemic, I will try and also develop a short, concise education campaign to familiarize some of the SHGs (self-help groups) and other Puducherry residents on the complications of diabetes, diabetes screening and some preventive measures. We will be hosting a small free medical screening and educational clinic where volunteer docs and nurses will administer various screenings and hand out health info to attendees and we'll incorporate the HIV/AIDS, cancer and now diabetes disease info into this event.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dilli Haat Market in South Delhi

Lotus Temple

Qutb Minar

Dear co-worker, Manju, her 7 month-old precious girl, Ami, her mother and I in front of world heritage site in south Delhi - red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar built in early 13th century - Indo-Muslim art representation.

Typical traffic in south Delhi - camel and elephant join us

Elephant and camel - on highway in S Delhi.

Me in front of Lotus Temple and pool....very serene place of the Bahai faith.

India Gate - Memorial to fallen

Here in India! Delhi first.....

I finally made it - just over all together a 26 hour flight approx. Lovely co-worker friend, Manju and family, showed me around south Delhi. Enjoy some pics!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Microfinancing - It's a POSITIVE tool!

There's always the naysayers out there, but it helps to keep us honest in some respects.

Check out this article on microfinancing: http://www.devex.com/articles/the-maturation-of-microfinance

Here's a quote from the article:
"Tejany is particularly pleased with one recent statistic: the percentage of women in micro-borrower families that are involved in some sort of business has increased fivefold in the past two years.

'There's no doubt about it," he said. "The smaller loans are better.'

Reducing poverty is not only about money; it is also about, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen put it, "expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy." Social and political freedoms, certainly, but more importantly the things many in the developed world take for granted - public safety, basic education, public health and infrastructure. Dubbed 'microfinance plus,' these more holistic initiatives are making considerable headway with South Asia MFI's."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Prep Time

The fundraising letters to send me off to  Prime Trust were a great success! Thanks to all who contributed! You helped me raise over $2300 in just a couple of months, and I have now purchased the air tickets.

Most recently, I have received 5 of the 6 immunizations that were recommended. I'm sure I got way more than I deserved....but I will be set to go abroad for years to come now.

Next on the list is applying for a visa. According to the India visa website in Houston, it shouldn't take more than a week or two which is good news since the journey is now about 6 weeks out.

Soon, I will begin making a list of all essentials to pack and if anyone has suggestions, feel free to send word.

For more info on the NGO, go to www.primetrust.org.