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Healing Humla Nursing Fundraiser

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On July 12 from 2-5 p.m., Glimpses of Humla, a fundraiser for the Humla Nursing Education Project ,will be held at First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh in Shadyside, 605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. The fundraiser is sponsored by the Olmo Ling Bon Center and Institute, and One World Blue LLC.

One Nurse, One Country

By Rege Behe

To get to the Humla region of Nepal requires endurance and faith. A single airport serves the remote region located in the northwest part of the country, and it's literally on the side of a mountain.

"It's actually one of the scariest airports in the world," says Mary Carroll. "Basically, you land right into the mountain, and take off from a short landing strip. You have to put a lot of faith in the pilot."

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But Carroll, a registered nurse who made a trip to Humla last year as part of a humanitarian effort, would go back in an instant if she could. Not only because the people who greeted her group were warm and welcoming, but because of a critical need for basic healthcare. There is one hospital in the region (about the size of Connecticut) that serves over 50,000 people.

To remedy the lack of care, Carroll, who works fulltime at the Squirrel Hill Health Center, is part of an initiative to raise funds to train nurses in the region. The Humla Nursing Education Project covers the tuition for students who hope to become nurses in exchange for a commitment to serve in region.

On July 12 from 2-5 p.m., Glimpses of Humla, a fundraiser for the Humla Nursing Education Project ,will be held at First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh in Shadyside. The fundraiser is sponsored by the Olmo Ling Bon Center and Institute, and One World Blue LLC.

Adding one nurse might not seem like it would make much of a difference, but Carroll insists the need for healthcare is so dire that the student, Sangita Lama, will have a huge impact when she completes her studies. Many of the villages in Humla have no running water -- water must be transported from streams and springs -- so dysentery is often a problem. If a villager is injured, often there is no one who can suture a wound or set a broken bone. Some people have to walk three or four days to get the most basic of healthcare. And there are few women (or men) trained in midwifery, a topic close to Carroll's heart.

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Sangita, who is studying at the Nepal Institute of Science and Medical Technology, will likely be put to use all the time.

"We are still working on how we can support her work," Carroll says. "We would like to make sure it's sustainable."

Carroll admits that after the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal earlier this year, some questioned whether it was prudent to continue the program. But Humla has long been overlooked in comparison the rest of the country -- only the hardiest of mountain climbers and trekkers venture there -- and the cost to support Sangita so minimal: A mere $1200 will pay for one year of tuition. That's nothing compared to impact Sangita will be have on the residents.

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"Glimpses of Humla" will feature photography, music, food, crafts, a short film and stories from visitors to Nepal. Rafflle items, photos and crafts will be available for purchase. The suggested donation is $15, $10 for students.

The First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh is located at 605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213.

To make an online donation: https://www.blupela.com/initiative.php?id=127/Humla-Nursing-Education-Project

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