Shakti Bhakti Dancers

Pemako Health Initiative invites you to an afternoon benefit featuring traditional, classical sitar by Joanne Mack (student of Ali Akbar Khan) accompanied by Steven Robertson on tabla. Chai and appetizers donated by Indian Gourmet. Presentation by Kathleen Morrow and two, short travel films of Pemako region, India.

Pacific Cultural Center in Santa Cruz
1307 Seabright Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Nov. 15, 2014 from 2 to 5 p.m.
Admission is $25 at the door and tickets in advance ($20) through EventBrite.

Contact me at or call: 408-847-6373.

In 2009 I had the opportunity to travel to the remote region of Pemakö of India.  I volunteered for Vision Builders a non profit organization supporting a school and small health clinic. The Pemakö region is located near the Indo-China border, a remote mountainous region along the Yangsang/Nygong River surrounded on three sides by snowy peaks and dense forests. The sky was a brilliant blue and I felt this was the most pristine and sacred land I had ever visited. After a two-day trek guided by Lopon P. Ogyan Tanzin Rinpoche, going up steep mountains and over numerous glacial rivers by swinging foot bridges or balancing on half-cut logs, we arrived at Payingdem Village.

Over the next nineteen days while visiting eight remote Himalayan villages, I evaluated over 100 women, men, and children for general health problems. I realized that women and families were in great need as they had no access to general healthcare, obstetrical care or emergency services for childbirth. While interviewing women, I learned that there was a high rate of maternal deaths and newborns and young children were dying from preventable infections. Two women that I interviewed shared their stories of being eight years old and watching their mothers bleed to death after giving birth. In addition, other memorable evaluations include an elderly man with congestive heart failure and a young woman with badly burned feet with gangrene. With no means of travel to Tuting for treatment, those needing treatment had to be carried on someone’s back for up to twelve or more hours down the mountain to reach the hospital in Tuting with limited emergency services. If a villager needed surgery or advanced care this would require traveling by Jeep for one to three days to reach a district or regional hospital. I was concerned by this lack of healthcare access for these villagers.

Pemako Health Initiative (PHI) is a US based non-profit 501(c)(3) health care organization and a Registered Charitable Society in Arunachal Pradesh, India. I developed a “Holistic Model for Family Centered Care” to be initiated in fourteen villages in the Pemakö region over the next 3-4 years.

PHI was founded on the belief that every family should have access to healthcare, clean water and a clean and safe birth experience. In addition, PHI’s mission is to address the most basic and pressing Family and Maternal Child Health needs in remote Himalayan villages beyond the reach of local services to promote healthy families from birth.

PHI’s training programs use the well-proven model of Training of Trainers.  Master Trainers will train Family Health Care Workers in water and sanitation and Maternal Child Health Workers in assisting women so that they can have safe deliveries, optimum newborn and child health in the first five targeted villages in December 2014 through February 2015. By training local villagers who will work in their own, villages will receive basic health care training to independently provide care for greater sustainability and long-term impact.