More than five years ago, a client of mine who is a physician introduced me to Dr. Abul Sharah, who retired early from corporate life in Minnesota in 1999 and founded the International Village Clinic (IVC). I learned that Abul had been born a fatherless, impoverished boy in Uttar Pradesh, India’s poorest province. chance, brains, and hard work, he got an education and rose to senior engineering and marketing positions at Honeywell and MTS Systems over a 27-year career.
More than five years ago, a client of mine who is a physician introduced me to Dr. Abul Sharah, who retired early from corporate life in Minnesota in 1999 and founded the International Village Clinic (IVC). I learned that Abul had been born a fatherless, impoverished boy in Uttar Pradesh, India’s poorest province.
In 1996, while on a business trip to Calcutta, India, Abul scheduled in time for a visit to Mother Theresa’s Home for Dying Destitutes. By coincidence, he arrived at the hour when the nun received visitors. After learning of his humble Indian roots and success in the United States, Mother Theresa urged Abul to pursue a mission of “love and human service.” After retirement, he returned to the poor villages of Uttar Pradesh - where he was born - in northern India, to help establish a medical clinic, create nutrition, vaccination and health education programs, and employ qualified medical personnel in an area where illiteracy and disease are rampant.
Since its inception, IVC has provided free preventive and curative healthcare and education for more than 130 villages. Abul innovatively married western healthcare technology with eastern medicine to improve the lives of 200,000+ people annually. To me, one of the most amazing things about IVC is how far a gift given here can go in India. They are able to serve more than 200,000 people with $150,000 a year and they spend less than 1% on administration. A small gift—the cost of a lunch at a fast food place—can provide blindness prevention and vitamin supplements for an infant for a year.
Now IVC is importing another idea from Minnesota's education system. Quality education for the poor, in the area IVC serves, is beyond their means, just as quality health care was. The communities have been asking Abul Sharah to build a first rate school from the day he launched the health care program in 2002. So, Abul is now venturing into starting a top quality English-language school, serving students from nursery through high school.
Land acquisition for $180,000 in nearby Varanasi has been completed, and now fundraising for school construction, school equipment, and curriculum are underway. The school’s profits will help fund the clinic and its outreach into nearby villages. If you believe in self sufficiency and building people's capacity to help themselves, this project is a perfect way to expand services with a one-time gift. Another IVC donor has generously agreed to match ALL donations to this project, up to $25,000.
Give to the Max Day, Minnesota’s giving holiday, is coming up on November 12. I met with Abul and his wife Atsuko recently in their home in Bloomington, MN to learn about this new project. I’m writing this blog to share this story and ask you to consider giving to a project that is very important to me. I believe that International Village Clinic (IVC), a Minnesota nonprofit, is doing amazing work.
Click this link to give today (you do not need to wait until November 12).
In addition, please help pass this request on to friends or family members who might be interested in this cause. Thanks for helping IVC build a school on Give to the Max Day!
Echo Huang, CPA, CFP
Echo Wealth Management, LLC