When Mark Arnoldy launched a fundraiser through his Causes.com causes page to raise funds for a Nepalese hospital, he didn’t really know what the result would be. With the help of 32 individual donors from across the world, Arnoldy’s fundraiser raised $8,500 to successfully retile a Nepalese hospital. Here is an example. Launched October of 2011, the fundraiser for Nyaya Health helped fulfill the organization’s goal to retile the entire hospital, including the only microbiology facility and a surgical space in the region. We spoke to Mark, Executive Director of Nyaya Health – Nyaya (‘knee-eye-uh’) means ‘the realization of just systems’ in Nepali – last week to talk about his success.
Mark told me his organization wanted to incorporate social media for the fundraiser, and Nyaya Health sought out Causes immediately. Their strategy was simple and inspired: ask their base to dedicate a birthday or wedding to fundraise for the hospital and help a rural region of Nepal fulfill a great dream. “People were dedicating their birthdays for the first time. It was a foreign concept, but they were really impressed with the response. For example, my friend surpassed his fundraising goal by double and he became our third largest donor.”
Nyaya Health’s model is based on working with governments to revitalize poor infrastructure. The hospital, which is roughly a 36 hour commute from Katmandu in the city of Achhum, sat derelict and abandoned for more than 30 years. There are 200,000 residents in Achhum, and as of 2006, there were zero doctors or physicians in the region. Now three full-time, Nepalese physicians, along with 50 staff members, provide healthcare needs to 40,000 patients in the region. “It’s a full-fledged, 20-bed hospital. We wanted to tile everything for sanitation, cleanliness, but most importantly, dignity.”
Mark said a major reason for the success of the fundraiser relied on the strong support of Nyaya Health’s base, which is largely due to the organization’s priority on being as transparent as possible. In 2011, the nonprofit evaluator Give Well gave Nyaya Health “standout organization” status. That dedication to transparency was publicized in March of this year when Mark updated his Causes community with the frustrating news that the tiles wouldn’t be installed in time due to a mistake from the manufacturer. “We didn’t get the product we ordered. We had to delay the timeline even though we made the promise of delivering by March. But this is what we had to deal with. These were the hard realities. We got an outpouring of support, and people said ‘this makes me so determined because you’ve been so honest about the process.’”
In May 2012, Nyaya Health cemented the last of the tiles in the hospital, much to the delight of the hospital staff, the nonprofit, and the residents of Achhum. It was a bold step towards sustainable healthcare in the region and a reminder people can come together to create tremendous results. We look forward to future success for Mark and Nyaya Health.