I recently traveled with my team to lower Lowat Bala, a small hamlet hidden between a ravine in the Kiran and Sharda mountains to provide basic healthcare awareness and access on hygiene prevention to the families. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. The villagers were exposed to personal and environmental health risks, they were less well nourished, no information or access to health care; they thus had a higher risk of illness and disability. Conversely, illness can reduce household savings, lower learning ability, reduce productivity, and lead to a diminished quality of life, thereby perpetuating or even increasing poverty. The second problem was the quality of water, its not purified and contains parasites which makes people very ill if not boiled. Malnutrition has been a long issue in these villages. They simply do not have access to a fully balanced diet. This results in short stature, bloated bellies, fatigue, impaired immune systems, etc. We saw girls whose hair colour was almost blonde as a result of malnutrition. Their homes were also extremely small. Families sleep on the same bed. Bedrooms are sectioned off by hanging pieces of tarp. They also have stoves in the house without chimneys to keep smoke from filling the room. This causes respiratory issues for those constantly inhaling smoke from cooking. Transportation is also very difficult.
Cars are not common in these villages. Buses are loaded with people, some hanging off the sides just to get a ride into town. Some kids will walk for hours just to be able to go to school. They often cannot afford school supplies or textbooks.