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MarliSmith

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DEVELOPING INDIGENOUS RESOURCES
December 18, 2009

I learned about DIR through Prof Garry Fehr at the Institute for Indian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley (Canada). Dr. Fehr emphasized that it is a unique model that is showing excellent results in achieving its goals to improve health, social and economic conditions in the slum. As a photojournalist, I was interested in doing a project on DIR and spent four weeks in total following the Health Promoters. Without exception, the HPs demonstrated that they have a sound knowledge of local health and nutrition; it also became obvious that the residents see them as a first point of contact on related issues. Even more impressive was the sense that the daily visits to each neighborhood in the slum is strengthening the sense of community and increasing general knowledge. Of particular interest is DIR's efforts to educate children, many of whom are the primary caregivers for younger siblings because parents are away working long hours. DIR is doing great work, but it is also KEY to note in developing the skills of the local people, DIR has created a means by which the community itself is solving its own problems. Dr. Shaw also made use of me beyond a photojournalist by having me teach English classes and assist with the annual report.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

women who followed the nutrition advice of the HPs. By switching from processed foods to seasonal produce, one woman said her 4 children have moved from the red (seriously undernourished) to the green category on growth charts. And she has saved money!

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The sense of community/family that exists between DIR and its HPs, and between the HPs and the slum residents.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Well educated, well organized yet also willing to pitch in no matter what the task.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Improve the future for about 10 million children in impoverished regions of India and other developing countries.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & Photography, teaching English, editing/layout of annual report.