Stepping off the beaten path
While most of the grants from the Community Foundation stay within our community, this is the story of how the Soroptimists of Truckee Meadows uses a charitable fund at the Community Foundation to help them with their international service project.
At a lunch meeting in 2000, the Soroptimist of Truckee Meadows (SITM) club listened to a presentation given by Dr. Purna Subedi, the adopted son of SITM member Jeannie Baxter. Purna described his rural life in the remote mountain village of Thulipokhari in Nepal. His inspiring account moved his audience to action. The club decided to alleviate the barriers to education faced by village girls including Purna’s sisters and family members.
Through individual member gift pledges and fundraising events including a semi-annual colossal garage sale, the SITM club was able to send enough funds to Thulipokhari to build a dormitory for a girls’ school and to begin a program of scholarships for its impoverished students.
Nepal Project – Removing Barriers to Education for Girls in Thulipokhari, Nepal
- The school/dormitory was finished in June 2001.
- In August 2001, 20 girls became the first class to occupy the dormitory. Since 2002 over 650 girls have received support of some kind through SITM’s ongoing program. Many who have graduated hold jobs in government, as well the private sector. Those jobs include social workers, teachers, computer operators and business owners. Some girls have married and are able to raise better-educated families with a focus on education for both sons and daughters.
- In addition to the existing Higher Secondary School program, a two year College Bachelor’s program has been added to further expand the opportunities for these girls.
- In 2003 SITM began an animal assistance program which makes loans to villagers to purchase beehives, chickens, goats and water buffaloes.
In addition to the school SITM also initiated and funds a micro-credit program to make loans available for the purchase of livestock and small farm animals to the village residents.
The people of Thulipokhari have been a continued focus of the SITM members’ attention and energy. Club leaders turned to the Community Foundation to help them continue granting scholarships in Nepal while making it possible for them to consider a new project for their fundraising interests. The Soroptimist IGU Nepal fund at the Community Foundation will earn interest that can be granted for scholarships to girls in Nepal and is always ready to accept planned gifts and bequests from members and friends of the local Soroptimists. Every year the club request fund earnings to send the income to a remote village far away that feels like home and family to this extraordinary group of women in Reno.
The 2006 class of girls in the Thulipokari girls’ school.