Our Story


In 2007, Broadleaf HEA co-founders Michael and Denna Matergia (shown above with their 4-5 year old students) spent a year living in the rural Darjeeling Hills.  While living on a tea estate they completed a variety of community development projects including the creation of the Makaibari Community Learning Center.  Additionally, they served as teachers in a rural village primary school.

To the left is a picture of the nursery class that Michael and Denna taught.  About half of these children suffer from infection with intestinal parasites, nearly 40% are anemic; they attend a school with no water, no electricity, and no toilets. Several children are affected by multiple developmental disabilities for which they receive no intervention and support.  Concerned and inspired by the challenges faced by these children, Michael and Denna created the Comprehensive Health and Hygiene Improvement Program (CHHIP) 

In 2011, Denna and Michael returned to Darjeeling Hills to implement CHHIP and realize their vision of supporting the education and development of young children in the Darjeeling Hills.  The couple founded Broadleaf Health and Education Alliance as a means to sustain this important work and as a catalyst for positive change in the Eastern Himalayas.