Pema grew up in Tibet and trained in maternal child healthcare at the Lhasa Medical School. She formed a remarkable partnership with an American midwife from Utah, and they worked successfully to save lives at birth in several Tibetan counties. When the international organization left, Pema formed an indigenous NGO to carry on the work in her home country.
The Tibetan society is one of the few in the world where there is no tradition of trained birth attendants. Tibetan women and infants have an extremely high risk of birth-related deaths, as most rural births take place alone at home without access to electricity or healthcare. Lhasa improves the chain of maternal and newborn health: they assess local resources and providers, identify the life-saving behaviors that each actor needs to change, train those who need it most, and support the system until it is stable.