Posts Tagged ‘Himalayas’

All Lives Have Equal Value: The dZi Foundation

Photo: dZi Foundation

The dZi Foundation has been around for more than a decade, empowering communities to achieve their goals, withing an organic framework initiated within the community (as opposed to outsiders coming in and telling a community what they need). They focus on underserved, remote communities in the Himalayas and build sustainable, locally driven projects that better education and health and reduce poverty. The dZi (zee) Foundation is named after the ancient Himalayan etched stone beads that bestow health and protection upon the wearer.

While leading a trek in Nepal, one of the founders, Kim Reynolds, came upon a safehouse for girls that was about to be closed down, so upon her return, she partnered with Jim Nowak and formed the foundation, to save the girls’ home. That led to more worthy (and always challenging) projects, and today, dZi serves 18,000 individuals in poor, remote Himalayan communities in India and Nepal. Their “Revitalize a Village” (RAV) programs build communities with infrastructure (clean water wells, sanitation systems, schools, bridges, etc), teach various skills within the community for sustaining the programs (non-profit founding, management, accounting, project development/evaluation, etc), and plant the seeds of growth so livelihoods can solidify and flourish. They also provide education sponsorships for youth to pursue higher learning, and still have strong commitments to safe havens for girls.

As your year ends, and you are looking for those donations to round out 2010, think about supporting dZi, and ten mark it on your calendar to do so again in 2011, after you’ve learned LOTS more at their website.

dzi beads

Women’s Humanitourism

Susan L. Eckert ASMP/AdventureWomen Inc

Susan L. Eckert ASMP/AdventureWomen Inc

It’s the world’s oldest adventure travel company for active women over 30, and it is providing unprecedented cultural access to a still little known destination. AdventureWomen, Inc. has created a custom, women-only excursion to Bhutan that includes hiking the Himalayas, cultural exploration, and jaw-dropping sightseeing. Most significant is the element of giving back that is built into the itinerary. There are three humanitarian projects for participants: blanket and clothing donations to Buddhist nunneries and monasteries, sponsoring and attending a special ceremony at a sacred temple, and donating reading glasses to women weavers to help in their work.

Part of the trip description is : “Throughout this Bhutan journey, travelers are immersed in the culture, history, and Buddhist practices of this amazing country. Participants visit the friendly Bhutanese people in their traditional pastoral hamlets; walk to spectacular ancient dzongs, monasteries and Buddhist temples; and ogle at sweeping vistas of scenic valleys and the snow-capped Himalayas. Culturally and spiritually, this modern-day “Shangri-La” is a profoundly rich country where human relations and Buddhist beliefs outweigh economic indicators—where “gross national happiness” is promoted by the King of Bhutan as a measure of his enchanting country’s progress.”

Dates are October 17-30. I’m desperate to go to Bhutan, and doing it in a way that also makes a contribution to the local communities seems dreamy to me. I would SO do this trip if I were able. Have fun!