Dr. Kalpana DePasquale Donates Time, Funds to Provide Kenyan Children with Clean Personal Hygiene Facilities
As founder and lead physician of St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat and Avanti Medical Spa, Dr. Kalpana DePasquale certainly understands the importance of personal hygiene to one’s overall health. But in some places around the globe, access to that most basic need is severely limited.
One such place is the Nyeri district in the central province of Africa’s Kenya, home to the Ikumari School. Most of the hundreds of boys and girls attending this school belong to the Kikuyu tribe and are responsible for agricultural work in the region. Yet, they have limited or no access to personal hygiene facilities. Thanks to a generous donation of time and funds by Dr. DePasquale and other supporters, that soon will change. Along with family and a group of international friends, she recently travelled to the Nyeri district with a financial gift that will allow the Ikumari School to build an ablution block, a public restroom and washing facility.
Facilitated by Pack for a Purpose, a Raleigh, NC-based nonprofit dedicated to positively impacting communities worldwide by assisting travelers who want to make meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit, Dr. DePasquale’s trip took the group into the Aberdare National Park in the central highlands west of Mount Kenya where the school is located. There, they were greeted by dozens of children who had traveled long distances to read poems and perform traditional dances in appreciation of the contributions.
“We experienced a life-changing travel safari in the region with visits to the village and students at the school who live in the wild with giraffes, impalas, warthogs, buffalo, elephants, exotic birds and more,” said Dr. DePasquale. “As an American physician, I wanted to contribute more to the children than the typical school, sports and medical supplies provided.”
On behalf of her family and her St. Augustine practice, Dr. DePasquale contributed $500 towards the new bathroom and hygiene facilities to replace the outdoor plumbing currently in use. Plus, the Pack for a Purpose group donated close to 300 pounds of school supplies, clothing, shoes and recreational balls for sports. Dr. DePasquale, her family and travel companions also planted trees on the grounds of the school and plan to add to their donations, plus make a second visit to see how the children flourish.
Dr. DePasquale added that most of the students with whom her group visited had torn clothes and lived under impoverished circumstances. Some walk 15 kilometers to and from school each day.
“It was touching to see the dedication of the teachers and students toward their education. They were appreciative for the ability to be able to learn despite the less than ideal circumstances they were presented with,” she said. “We left there with a feeling of gratitude for the simple things we take for granted like clean water, a clean environment, and the ability to receive an education.”