Thursday, August 28, 2014

Local ‘Denan Project’ Members Visit Hospital Project in Mongolia

ROXBURY – Three Litchfield County representatives from the Woodbury-based charity The Denan Project recently returned from Mongolia, where they met with staff and patients of a new hospital to which the charity provides critical support.

Dick Young, founder and president of the project and long-term Roxbury resident, made the trip with Washington residents Jeffrey Barist and Richard Wool as well as other TDP volunteers.

The hospital is in Tariat, an isolated village approximately 400 miles from Ulan Bator, the country’s capital. The new hospital replaced a dilapidated 1960’s Soviet-built facility. The journey, made by four-wheel drive trucks, across dirt roads and rutted tracks, took 17 hours of hard driving, following a nearly 24-hour long trip by plane.

The Denan Project, established by Young in 2004, provides health care, education and other critical assistance to highly disadvantaged people living in poor, remote areas of Mongolia, Ethiopia, Peru and Burkina Faso, giving medical services free-of-charge to more than 50,000 people treated annually.

The charity has been critical in moving the Mongolian government to recognize the need for a new hospital and allocate the necessary resources. Working with its partner, Save The Children Japan-Mongolia, the Denan Project has provided funds necessary to purchase essential medicines, provide heat in winter (when temperatures can reach 40 degrees below) and materials for public-health initiatives.

Educational materials have been written in Mongolian and distributed by local medical personnel to people without the most rudimentary knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking, alcohol-consumption and a diet consisting of mainly fatty meat and dairy products.

“It was extremely gratifying to see the fruits of The Denan Project’s efforts in Mongolia,” said Young. “TDP was founded 10 years ago to help bring isolated, rural communities access to free medical care, as well as to provide education, agriculture, water resource development, food security, and microcredit loans. The importance of medical facilities and services like these can’t be overstated.”

The immediate Tariat area has a population of approximately 3,000, but the hospital serves more than 30,000 people annually, most of them coming from outlying areas.

Through the support of The Denan Project, health problems have been greatly reduced. In fact, at a meeting with Gandiimaa Riimaasdi, the director of the Provincial Department of Health and Hospitals, TDP volunteers learned that infant and child mortality rates have decreased by 150 percent since TDP involvement began in 2010.

“What I saw was a real partnership, where western philanthropy was being well used by dedicated indigenous practitioners,” Barist said.

Richard Wool added, “What impressed me most was the incredible accomplishment of the The Denan Project in helping to bring quality health care and dietary information to a region where it never existed.”

“I am extremely proud to point out that 97 percent of TDP’s funds to go directly to its projects,” Young said. “Our all-volunteer organization has no overhead costs and minimal expenses, and TDP’s supporters pay their own way to make visits to our charity’s various projects around the world. Only through our supporters’ generous contributions can we make such a real and impactful change, even on the other side of the globe.”

Young said that as proud as he is of the group’s accomplishments over the past 10 years, much work is still needed.

“ Although the new hospital is a great improvement over the previous one, it still lacks central plumbing as well as important medical equipment such as an autoclave to sterilize vital surgical instruments,” he said. “Anyone interested in donating or becoming a volunteer in our organization would be most welcome to speak to me or my fellow travelers about our charity’s work and the meaningful change it is bringing to some of the world’s most impoverished and isolated communities.”

Young encouraged readers to visit www.thedenanproject.org or to contact him at dick@dickyoungproductions.com for more information.

The Denan Project is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization based in Woodbury with the mission of providing health care, education and other critical assistance to highly disadvantaged people living in poor, remote areas of Ethiopia, Peru, Burkina Faso, and Mongolia.

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