Roots of Health

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A few months ago, my friend Ami Evangelista Swanepoel and her husband Marcus packed up their New York City life and set off for her native Philippines to start a nonprofit organization called Roots of Health (Ugat ng Kalusugan). Roots of Health’s mission is to improve the health and lives of women and girls and their communities in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

landfillplayground

Boy playing on collected recylclables, photo via Roots of Health

In order to best direct their efforts in this monumental task, Ami and her team have been conducting surveys in rural areas not served by health centers to assess the areas of greatest need and determine those best matched to what Roots of Health can do to help.  I and others have been following their progress via the Roots of Health blog where this week Ami describes the issues facing a community living beside a landfill.

Earlier this week we returned to an area in Santa Lourdes called Purok Matahimik which means “quiet place”, also known as “Pulang Lupa” or red earth because of the color of the soil, and is also simply known as “Dumpsite” because of the community’s proximity to the Puerto Princesa landfill. This community is a top runner for where we might begin our services as it is quite isolated and very poor and has high numbers of malnourished children.

Photos from our visit are here.

It appears the links between my lives as a garblogger and reproductive health nonprofiteer grow stronger every day. I guess it’s not surprising, health and trash are universal connectors. Click here for Ami’s full post and survey results. And click here to visit (and fan) the Roots of Health Facebook page.

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