I have just returned from two weeks in Nepal. I wish you could have been there with me to see for yourselves the difference that your contributions make. When I was an Ambassador, I saw the huge programs run by our own, and other nations’, development agencies. They were good programs, and I was very proud of the difference we made, but they were on such a grand scale that you could not always feel or see the impact that they had on peoples’ lives.
Our programs through Soarway are not on that scale but every day of my journey I could see the lives we touch and the difference we make. A year ago, our Women’s Entrepreneurship Program was just a dream for a few women in Biratnagar. Today, working with local partners, there are 52 women who know the dignity of working for themselves and making a difference for their families. They told me that no longer do they wait for their husbands to bring home money for school fees for their children. Now the women themselves proudly pay the school fees from their earnings and contribute to the welfare of their families. That’s real. That matters.
I wish you could have seen the faces of the differently-abled men and women who were our partners in the Accessible Adventure conference. No longer were they “invisible”. They were redefining themselves and their role in their society. They knew what they were capable of and they were determined that others would see as well. And Soarway could not be prouder to be one of the partners in this process.
Then there were the women who, faced with no options and living in dire poverty, had entered the commercial sex trade. Another of our new partners, WonderWorks Asia, is giving them a new sense of hope with training and a helping hand to find alternative paths. We’re helping there too — and we’re so very pleased to be part of that effort.
And one of our strongest partners, the Nepal Ambulance Service, has trained over 100 paramedics (60 percent of its current paramedic team are women!) and it has responded to over 27000 calls since it’s inception. In our work with NAS, which will continue, we not only contribute to saving lives today, we build capacity for the next disaster.
While in Nepal we saw the impact of our assistance on the elderly and we visited with those of advanced years who without the support of others would have nothing…no food, no medicine, no support. We saw the impact that supporting the Sagarmatha Children’s Home has had on the lives of 19 wonderful kids. Children who had once been abandoned and alone but who are now part of a loving family.
And we saw the potential to do far more. Urgently needed fire safety and earthquake training for the most vulnerable in society. We’re on it! Reforestation efforts in the Everest region that will fight global warming and help restore the environment. We know where to turn. Eye camps that will help restore vision to those suffering from cataracts and to fight child blindness. We can do it! Desperately needed heart health education that will save lives across the nation. We’ve got the partner! Improving emergency medicine and trauma care as we plan for the next disaster….we can do that too!
And more. So much more.
Every day there are new opportunities. New options. But we have to have your help. We will be creating separate project fundraising pages for all these efforts as time permits but you can make a difference today by supporting the Soarway Foundation here today! Want to have the option of monthly payments? Click here to sign-up once to make recurring payments of $10 a month or more. (just choose the monthly option and your amount).
At times I wonder why we struggle so hard to help. Why we continue even when appeals for partnership seems to elicit no response. But then we see the faces of the children….we see the women who are empowered to change their lives…we see the elderly who find the comfort of care…we see the families of those whose lives were saved…and we know why.
So we will keep on asking…again and again and again…and we will hope you will choose to join us…choose to make a difference…choose to care….choose to Engage Nepal.
US Ambassador (ret’d)