2020 Accomplishments

Dear Friends,

This year, I am more grateful than ever for your support. Your ongoing generosity to The Denan Project during these difficult times has made all the difference to the communities we support — some of the world’s poorest and most isolated people who need continued aid now more than ever. Through improved medical care, education, agriculture, and water accessibility, as well as economic development via micro-loans, our projects made meaningful advances in 2020, even with the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are indebted to our incredible on-the-ground partners at each of our locations and the strong relationships we have in place. These partnerships have allowed us to continue to provide uninterrupted, high-quality services, even while our in-person site visits have been suspended due to travel restrictions. Read below to learn more about some of the incredible work and accomplishments that have taken place at each of our project sites in the past year.

We thank you for your past donations and humbly ask you to consider The Denan Project in your 2020 charitable-giving plans. As always, because of the generosity of several Members of our Board of Directors who cover our overhead costs, we promise that 100% of every dollar you donate goes directly to the people and communities we support. In a year when so many are in need, we are particularly grateful for your support now. Your gift will continue to bring real, positive change to some of the poorest people on our planet.

Dick Young,
President/Founder, The Denan Project

ETHIOPIA

In response to the spread of the global Covid-19 pandemic, we purchased Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our medical team at our hospital so that they would be prepared and protected. Currently there are about 90,000 cases in the country of Ethiopia, with a few but increasing number of cases in the Somali region. As a way of encouraging people to stay closer to home during the pandemic, we re-established our medical outreach program to distant villages, with a medical team and ambulance bringing medical care to people in remote villages. UNICEF has supplied all medicines for this program. The effort has decreased the number of people coming to our hospital each month, without impacting the total number of people we treat overall. In addition to Covid screenings, we are also seeing an increase of cases of malaria, pneumonia, and gastrointestinal diseases because of the current rainy period.

Ethiopia 2020

While impacting health to a degree, the strong rains of the fall season will have a positive impact on crops and the region’s agricultural development. The Elders micro-loan group is running the tractor program, and we are pleased that the community has taken over this important initiative.

The economic benefits of our micro-loan program also continues to bring important improvements to Denan. We have distributed 48 micro-loans to date to groups of 10 people or more, benefiting approximately 500 families, and we continue to have a perfect record for repayment in this community.

PERU

Peru

The Covid-19 virus has hit Peru quite harshly, and the country is second only to Brazil with more than 890,000 cases reported. No cases have been reported in the communities we support in Uratari and surrounding villages, likely due to the quarantine imposed by the government. The government has supplied protective equipment to our health center and medical staff, and we continue to see many patients each month. We feel fortunate to be able to provide critical health-care services to these communities at this time.

All schools are currently closed in Peru, but the students in our area are receiving lessons at home via radio from 4-7pm each school day. The Denan Project provided the funds to purchase radio time for this innovative project, and we are hoping to continue to do this through the end of this year.

SPECIAL THANK YOU

Our economic development programs continue to bring much-needed funding and entrepreneurship to the community. Most of our microloans are given to women’s groups and focus on the raising of cuyes, a delicacy and a vital source of protein in the region. In addition, we now have two programs focused on growing the grain quinoa. Both these initiatives allow the villagers to add new sources of protein to their diets, while simultaneously bringing in a source of income. A third recent program will focus on growing tarwi, a local legume, and a separate group is focusing on bee-keeping. All current micro-loans are scheduled to be repaid in full and on time.

MONGOLIA

In Mongolia, there have only been a few hundred cases of Covid so far, as international borders have been sealed. Luckily there have been no cases as of yet in the areas in which we work, and The Denan Project has provided complete PPE and sterilization supplies to the hospitals we support. We will keep close watch on any news of the virus, as it is unlikely the government would be able to adequately provide additional protective equipment if needed.

Our two hospitals in the remote towns of Tariat and Erdenemandal continue to serve their communities well. Because of the improvement of medical care and facilities we have been able to provide, we are seeing fewer overall cases per year, which is a positive development. The hospital is currently in need of various anesthesiology equipment, and we hope to be able to make these provisions in the near future.

MONGOLIA 2020

We also continue to provide essential advanced training in various specialties, as well as equipment to traveling doctors, including an ambulance. The mobile medical tools we supply allow members of local communities and distant herder settlements to receive earlier diagnoses and prevent disease by delivering treatment in their homes.

One of our areas of continued emphasis continues to be medical and dental education. The dentists and dental facilities at each hospital have greatly improved oral health for the communities and the remote herder encampments. The hospitals also work with schools to better educate students about dental health, and the high-school student health club we support provide important basic medical information to other students and their families. Happily, eight student health club members from the previous year have chosen professions in the medical sector and are now studying health sciences at universities. It is our hope that our investment in early education will pay great dividends for the community on their road to self-sufficiency.

Field Report: It takes a village, sometimes even a continent. Education on the high Andes.

Out of the four medical centers that The Denan Project (TDP) is funding in some of the most impoverished parts of the world, namely Ethiopia, Peru and Mongolia, I must admit that our medical center in Uratari, Peru speaks to me the most. Perhaps it’s because I saw the community people building it themselves, brick by brick…perhaps…

In addition to the routine due-diligence activities, this time I had a special reason to be there. I wanted to work with the six high school students from The Pingry School (including three volunteers of TDP) who are visiting TDP sites as part of their leadership program organized by The World Leadership School.

[This report was originally written during my visit to TDP’s project sites in Peru in late June, 2018 in order to share the experience with my fellow board members and other volunteers at TDP.]

Day 0: A Country of Mountains, Jungle and Ocean

Soaking in the ocean air after a 17-hour journey from Munich to Lima. So began my third visit to this enchanting nation where you can climb the High Andes, turn to the Amazon rainforest, and touch the Pacific ocean.

Day 1: All Roads Lead to Anta

In order to get to any of the five villages on our agenda, we had to go through Anta, one of Cusco’s 13 provinces. In fact, the municipal office of Anta is our partner who’s been handling our local fund distribution so that we can save on money transfers from the US, and local transactions related to medical and micro-loan programs. So, our week-long agenda started out with going over the accounting records with the municipality of Anta.

Day 2: From the Ground Up

After another quick stop in Anta, we started the day with a meeting with the community in Churo. We huddled together and went over the details of a micro loan project the community wanted for raising cuys (guinea pigs which are a major source of dietary protein for the community people as well as a source of income). From Churo, we traveled farther to a neighboring village of Pampahuaylla.

As soon as we entered Pampahuaylla, I could see why this community is considered richer than Churo, our previous stop. A new elementary school, cheerful kids on the street and all others huddled around the only TV in the village to watch the Peruvian team playing in the World Cup 2018…it was lively!

This is where Elio (TDP’s first scholarship student who earned a college degree) came from. We visited Elio’s family and, over some meat and potato, shared our mutual pride in Elio’s success. With a mechanical engineering degree he earned, Elio was getting started to build his own business.

Day 3: Welcoming Pingry School Students to Uratari

Learning together with the volunteer students from the Pingry School was my main reason for the site visit this year. I was curious about the experiences the US high school students would have with the local communities, especially with the local students.

The visit started with a community-wide welcoming ceremony. Although I’ve experienced the warmth and hard labor the entire community puts into welcoming TDP volunteers before, I was deeply moved by the excitements and warm interactions between the students and the villagers.

Day 4: Breaking Potatoes Together

After my first overnight experience at the Uratari Medical Center (shared a room with the resident nurse), I joined the Pingry students to visit the neighboring village Choquemarca, the poorest community in the Limatambo district of the Anta province. We were joined by the TDP medical outreach team headed by Dr. Yair. Choquemarca’s biggest problem is the absence of a water supply. Facing this all-too-common issue across many small communities in developing countries, I was happy to hear that the community of Uratari was exploring ways to share their water with Choquemarca.

In between micro-loan program discussions and medical outreach visits, the team was treated with the local specialty of meat and potato, prepared and served in the way that only the originals can. (Right, potatoes are originally from Peru.)

Dr. Yair (right) examining a patient during TDP’s medical outreach in Choquemarca

Day 5: High Aptitude for Higher Education

As part of TDP’s support for school education, the Golden Condor awards (with cash incentives) are given to top three students in the 8th, 9th, 10th 11th and 12th grade students in Uratari. Our visiting students were joined by the entire community in the schoolyard for the award ceremony.

Day 6–7: TDP Goes to the Peruvian Congress

Discussing TDP’s proposal for building a boarding school with the President of the Peruvian Congress (center)

Back in Lima, a different topic was high on our agenda. Past few months, the TDP team has been working on a proposal to build a boarding school in Uratari (right next to the existing school, above). Our goals were: i) to give the children in neighboring remote villages a chance to get a higher education (there’s no high school in villages like Pampahuaylla we visited on Day 1, above); ii) to proactively reduce the possibility of the high school in Uratari having to shut down at some point in the future.

Our meeting with the Peruvian Congress was to get the support for the boarding school initiative — together with the Pingry School students. Thanks to Congressman Wilbert Rozas, who originally helped TDP select the project site in Uratari, we were able to meet with the Education Committee Chairwoman Paloma Noceda, and the President of the Peruvian Congress Luis Galarreta. After a series of discussions, the team was able to gain the support we were asking for — and walk away with the specific next steps!

Changes are coming…sometime too fast, sometimes not fast enough. I don’t know what changes I’ll see when I return to Uratari next time. Perhaps a shiny new boarding school. Perhaps another ambulance vehicle at the medical center. Perhaps…But I do know this much, the men, women and children of the community will gather around in a big circle and tell us all about it. The changes that happened. The changes they want to bring about.

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