Year-End Reflections from Dr. Michael Matergia, CEO of Broadleaf Health and Education Alliance

I am filled with hope as I reflect upon this past year. I know that may be an unusual statement for 2020, as this year has brought incredible challenges to all of our lives as a global pandemic disrupted every aspect of our known reality.

While we never prepared for a pandemic, Broadleaf’s programs have proven to enhance the resilience of our partner communities to face this challenge in a myriad of ways including:

Children in our partner communities can explain germ theory of disease and describe ways to prevent virus transmission

Families and children learn and practice coping skills that they can now employ in the face of a plethora of emotions related to COVID

SHAs are trusted community members who are in place to provide factual and contextual information related to COVID

Additionally, WHO & UNICEF have explained that COVID and associated school closure have led to dramatic increases in children facing mental health challenges. For the past 5 years Broadleaf has developed and piloted an alternative system of care to proactively support children’s mental health (for a region in which there is no existing care system). Creating this ecosystem has led to:

Increased awareness and knowledge of mental health

SHAs and teachers continue working with their neighbors to reduce stigma and fear related to the virus

Teachers at the community level who are capable of directly providing evidence-based care to children whose struggles have been exacerbated by the pandemic

So, yes, 2020 has been a challenging year. However, as I reflect I am filled with a sense of hope for our future. I would like to personally thank you for your support of Broadleaf’s life altering initiatives in the Darjeeling Himalayas. I wish you an abundance of hope and peace this holiday season.

Warm Regards,

Michael Matergia

Broadeaf CEO


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