Here is one of 13 stories in the October edition of the DIR Monthly Report.
Helping, fixing, and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. when you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.
Dr. Shalini Sahai
–(Rachel Naomi Remen)
I was born in India, the oldest of 3 children in a family with great emphasis on education. I completed medical school in India and then went to USA with my husband where I did a pediatric residency. For the past 10 years I’ve been practicing with a health care organization in California.
In 2009, while I was on my yearly visit to India to see my family, I was introduced to Dr Frederick Shaw. At that time he had been running the Janta Colony program for about 5 years and had already achieved spectacular results in reducing infant mortality and malnutrition in children. The simplicity of his approach to these complex issues was very refreshing and the results undeniable. I was very inspired by his program and for the following 2 years, I spent some months working with DIR in India. Dr Shaw later invited me to join the Board of Directors of DIR which I happily did and I’m still part of it.
I’ve come to realize that every person seeks to find meaning in his or her life. More often that meaning comes from something outside one’s self.. For me, this meaning has come from being a part of the DIR family, serving to give back to my community in whatever ways I can.
Once I asked Dr Shaw while we were driving in his car on a hot summer day in India: “Dr Shaw, what makes you want to do this, at your age, away from your family, in a foreign country where you don’t even speak the language?” And he replied : ” It’s very simple really, I know how to do this; while there is a need for it in the world, how can I not do it?” His simple words affected me profoundly and will always be a source of inspiration for me.
With gratitude, Shalini
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.