The Goal is Life

guest post by David Keifert:

I had worked with Dr. Mohammed at Thrombodyne for over a year before he presented his past, present and future projects for the Saraiya village in rural India.

Upon hearing his philanthropic dreams and the progress that has been made, I felt like I wanted to involve this project into my work load.  My prior experiences in Asia and other parts of the world helped me to understand the importance and need for the project.

I have a double BA from the University of Utah, majoring in International studies and Japanese with a minor in Asian studies. I also have experience traveling in underdeveloped countries. I’ve gone into several foreign schools to help educate and to better understand foreign educational systems. I was able to audit a Japanese junior high school as a foreign student.

I have assisted in an after school education program for students K-12 (Nagano, Japan).  I was also able to volunteer basic English teaching with underprivileged children in Thailand.

When Jodi wanted my help to expand this project, I felt honored for the opportunity.  Those efforts eventually led to the creation of SUM1.

I went to work on designs for a handwashing with soap educational. I began with researching and educating myself on how other programs around the world are facilitating this same message, only to uncover that ultimately it is best to tailor it to the people you are trying to teach.  In our efforts to find an interpreter we have come to a great possibility; Akshai Abraham of Khel

 “KHEL (an acronym for Kids Holistic Education and Life Skills) is a novel program which uses sports and games to achieve developmental outcomes. Working with underprivileged and street children, both in and out of school, using games as a platform, we hope to bring about positive change in their lives. We recognise children’s ‘right to play’ and believe that sports, in itself, builds character and teaches important life-lessons. Using sports and games as a medium, we work with children towards various goals – be it getting drop-outs back to school, keeping street children away from substance abuse or deviant behaviour, improving important life-skills, imparting key health messages or linking them with further education/ vocational training opportunities.”

Akshai’s vision is to use sports and games as a platform to achieve developmental outcomes, this correlates to our need for the future success of Saraiya’s education. The inherent life-skill learning in playing team sports, and short 10-20 min sessions of discussions, awareness building, life-skills training after a 40 min sports session is a successful platform for this region.

Akshai is in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the same state as Saraiya, and he will have a greater understanding of the culture than anyone I could have hoped for. Partnering with Akshai on this project would be ideal as both our charity groups can gain much from each other and perhaps assist each other in future endeavors.

Jodi and I are planning a mission to Saraiya and we will be heading there November of 2012, educating the villagers in basic sanitation practices and hygiene.  My goal is to begin teaching the children about hand-washing with soap and how that will affect their lives and their health.  It isn’t an easy task but children learn faster than adults and also, research has shown that the children will help to educate their parents about the importance of hygiene (handwashing with soap being the main goal.)  Our hope is that our trip to Saraiya will ignite a metaphorical fire about sanitation, hygiene through education and hand-washing practices, that thoroughly saturates the community and will eventually spread to surrounding villages.  The goal is life.  Saving hundreds of children every day/month through education is something that I am proud to be a part of.


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