Arti laughs easily as she grabs the handle of a golf club bag that makes her look tiny in comparison. Like many of her friends in Janta Colony, she looks younger than her 18 years; a thin frame and small stature are often the life-long signs of stunted growth caused by malnutrition in early childhood.
According to World Health Organization estimates, diarrheal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years; globally, it is responsible for killing 760,000 children every year. Diarrhea is also the major cause of malnutrition in children under five years old. A significant proportion of diarrheal disease can be prevented through safe drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene.
I first learned about Developing Indigenous Resources (DIR) during the early years of my medical residency at a public hospital in Contra Costa, California. Dr. Fredrick Shaw (Founder & CEO) was kind enough to meet with me, and I quickly knew that DIR’s focus on public health, education and social change would fit my passions and interests.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 61 million Indian children suffer “stunted” growth due to malnutrition in early development. Aside from small physical stature, stunting is linked to cognitive impairment, difficulty in school, reduced economic opportunities in adulthood and reduced maternal reproductive health.
Raising awareness – and indeed funds – is a continuous challenge for a small NGO like Developing Indigenous Resources (DIR). In early 2013, the US Board agreed on the need to expand our activities in these areas, and to explore new avenues and tools including online fundraising sites that would allow us to reach a broader network.