Region: Nepal, South and Southeast Asia
Author: Yutaka Okamoto & Students at Chiba University of Commerce, Tokyo, Japan
Consortium Member: Virtual Foundation - Japan
Status: Funded and Ongoing Budget: $14800 Collected: $14800 Needs: $0
Result: The Japanese contributors are supporting efforts to improve the quality of life in this remote community in Nepal, by developing a sustainable health care partnership.
Donors: Dr. Masato Akutsu; Yutaka Okamoto; Dr. Takemi Ichimura; Dr. Yayoi Takei; Tomohiro Kagamitani. (A grant of the remaining $1500 needed to fully fund this project was provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.)[September 1999]
Comment: The first phase of this project - installing an efficient, sustainable solar energy source in the village of Tangden - was a resounding success. This health care initiative demonstrates the donors' long-term planning and commitment.
Due to the fact that there is no sociocultural heritage in Asia corresponding to the philanthropy of the modern West (the English word is imported into the Japanese as “hirantorofi," for instance, because there is no Japanese word for it), the principal task of Virtual Foundation-Japan is to introduce the very concept of philanthropy to ordinary citizens in Japan. Working with university students is an example of Virtual Foundation-Japan's effort to help Japanese youth get involved with the process of developing Asia's own concept of "civil society."
Since spring 1998, Yutaka Okamoto of Virtual Foundation-Japan has developed and successfully executed two projects in Nepal: the Tangden solar lighting system project, in which students at Chiba University of Commerce participated both as donors and participants as an integral part of a seminar course on philanthropy; and an initiative to install solar lighting systems in two Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayan mountains, funded by private citizens.
On the strength of the Tangden project’s success, the Chiba University students are currently making preparations to continue work in this remote Nepali village and launch a community health project there. Financed by private citizen donors, a team of four experts will visit Tangden to make a preliminary feasibility study for developing a long-term sustainable Japanese-Nepali health care partnership.
1) To continue a Virtual Foundation-Japan initiative which has already brought solar energy to Nepali villages, thereby protecting the environment, improving health, and preserving the quality of life;
2) To develop an enhanced health care system for the village of Tangden incorporating both western clinical medicine and the traditional, holisitic approach of Nepal;
3) To establish a long term and sustainable partnership between Japanese medical experts, students who developed the initial VF solar energy project and the residents of Tangden; and,
4) To continue developing the Virtual Foundation-Japan as a model of philanthropy.
During late August 1999 a team of four consisting of Yutaka Okamoto from Virtual Foundation-Japan, Dr. Ichimura of the Tokyo Life Science Laboratory, Dr. Takei of Obihiro General Hospital, and Mr. Tomohiro Kagamitani, Chiba University student leader, intend to complete the planned feasibility study tour in Nepal with respect to the prospect of developing a new concept of health care.
An innovative aspect of this project is that it is designed to combine both Western and Oriental medicine together so that the health care provided will be more in tune with the traditional culture and life style of the Tangden community. In addition, such a combination promises to be much less costly and more manageable in such remote communities in the Nepal Himalayas. Once established and found to be effective, this concept will apply to remote communities throughout Asia.
One outcome of the project should be that Tangden residents will have some access to western medicine for acute medical care needs and diagnosis. Through the feasibility study we will explore the possibility of using internet communications (powered by the village's solar energy supply) to deliver western medical diagnoses. Upon return, members of the study team will prepare a report containing opinions and recommendations as to what types of health projects may be desirable and feasible in the Nepal Himalayas.
Tokyo-Kathmandu-Tokyo air fares $4,800
Nepal traveling expenses $10,000
(Traveling expenses in Nepal are comparatively high due to the extreme remoteness of the village of Tangden requiring helicopter transport.)
Total Budget $14,800
[Please note that because this project was devised by the Virtual Foundation, the budget does not contain any Virtual Foundation administration costs.]
$8500 from Dr. Masato Akutsu
$1200 from Yutaka Okamoto
$1200 from Dr. Takemi Ichimura
$1200 from Dr. Yayoi Takei
$1200 from Tomohiro Kagamitani
Total Requested from Virtual Foundation $1500