PPGNW has been supporting family planning and family health in Nepal since 2006. Suzanne Cluett, long time PPGNW Board member and chair, in whose honor and memory Suzanne’s Fund is named, first visited Nepal in 1964 as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and she and her family returned there numerous times over the years to visit friends and support local health and community development projects. PPGNW selected Nepal as the logical site for its first and largest project funded under Suzanne’s Fund.
Suzanne’s Shelter in Phaplu, Nepal:
The PPGNW International Program’s Flagship Project
“When village women come for treatment to the Solukhumbu District Hospital in Phaplu, it is too difficult for them to find an affordable and convenient place to stay.” Dr. Mingma Sherpa, the Director of the District Hospital in the Everest region of Eastern Nepal, suggested that PPGNW consider supporting the development of a women’s shelter next to the hospital, particularly for maternity patients. This conversation between Planned Parenthood staff, members of Suzanne Cluett’s family, other friends and Dr. Sherpa and his staff while on a visit to Phaplu in the fall of 2006 has led to the highly successful flagship project supported by Suzanne’s Fund.
Suzanne’s Shelter, the first international project of PPGNW completely funded by income from the Suzanne Cluett International Family Planning Endowment, was officially inaugurated November 2007 and is now in full operation. Pregnant women living in this very mountainous region often walk several days from their remote villages to reach Phaplu. They are provided room and board at little or no cost in Suzanne’s Shelter prior to childbirth and for recovery after delivery, as well as for other medical procedures before they start their journeys back home.
The Shelter has beds and facilities for about a dozen women at a time on its top floor, along with a well-equipped kitchen in a separate room. The ground floor serves as a community center and training facility, with full audio-visual equipment. PPGNW partnered with Himalayan Health and Environmental Services, a local NGO, to construct the facility for a budget of $50,000.