We are incredibly pleased to announce that UWC ISAK Japan’s ISAK Project NEPAL has been given a grant of US$59,000 from the Japanese government to support a mobile medical clinic that will bring much-needed services to rural communities in Nepal. Thanks to this generous grant, the ISAK Project NEPAL team, in partnership with Toy-Factory International, feels confident that Dr. Car could begin serving patients as early as summer, 2018. Dr. Car is the latest project from this student-initiated and student-led UWC ISAK Japan group.
Established by three Nepali students in 2015 as a response to an earthquake that devastated their country, ISAK Project NEPAL focuses on helping victims in rural areas recover by building schools and health outposts. While all of the original members of the project have graduated, the current team of nine students from seven countries continues to move the project forward as they work for positive change.
By early 2017, the student-led group had launched a website and raised over US$70,000 through crowd-funding, social media, and networking efforts, using the money to build 13 temporary schools and support 3 health outposts. Project NEPAL was recognized by the former President of Nepal in 2015 on behalf of the “Let’s Build a School Campaign” and was awarded the “Young Future Potential Leaders for Effective Community Support” in 2016 by the Karuizawa Rotary Club.
Many families from remote mountain villages in Nepal must take a perilous journey to a larger city to receive basic medical treatment, medicine, or surgery, yet as the Project NEPAL team quickly discovered, the cost of establishing health outposts and supporting doctors in remote areas is prohibitive. Wanting to find a better solution, the students’ research led them to Toy Factory International, a Japanese company based in Gifu, that specializes in automobile customization. The organization has extensive experience converting camping vans into medical vehicles to serve poverty-stricken communities with medical services.
In September, 2016, after meeting with company representatives at Toy-Factory International, ISAK Project NEPAL students began the ambitious task of fundraising to purchase a vehicle. The students also began negotiating roles for the project, including striking a deal that provided equal ownership between Project NEPAL and Toy-Factory, negotiating with a shipping company for free shipping of the finished car to Nepal,negotiating with Toyota Japan for the donation of the vehicle, and seeking substantial funding to make this project a reality.
To make the project viable the team needed a medical provider partner in Nepal. They contacted Mahato Memorial Hospital in the Siraha District of Southeast Nepal and entered into an agreement to provide the vehicle if the hospital would provide all of the operating costs and medical supplies. Then came the difficult task of raising nearly US$100,000 to purchase a vehicle.
Through a collaborative effort that included support from the Japanese embassy in Nepal, the Karuizawa Rotary Club (who donated medicine and equipment) and the generous financial support of the Japanese government, ISAK Project NEPAL is now just a few steps away from completing their largest project to date!
The team would like to express their sincere gratitude to Toy-Factory International, the Karuizawa Rotary Club, the Japanese Embassy in Nepal, and all of the individuals who continue to support this project for all their hard work and contributions that have helped make funding the Dr. Car project a reality.
Donations are still needed. You can contribute on their GoFundMe page.
3/2/2018 Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the amount donated by the government of Japan was mistakenly listed as $63,000.