There are times, I am sure, when we all reflect on how fortunate we are to have experienced a measure of personal security and professional success. Even as we face the day-to-challenges that every one of us, no matter our station in life, inevitably encounter, we can nonetheless look around us and see the faces of people we love and have confidence in our ability to be there for them.
Not everyone is that fortunate, however, and today I am asking you to consider whether you can help us with two efforts that are particularly important to me, and to our work at the Soarway Foundation. At Soarway, we want to have an impact that touches lives and that will help to transform the future. These two undertakings do both.
The first involves one of our champions in our efforts to make a difference for our partners facing physical challenges but who strive every day to overcome them and, in the process, are not only making important contributions to Nepal’s future but are tremendous role models... not just to those with disabilities but to all of us.
Our second effort is all about how we create a safer future for all Nepalis living, as they do, in one of the most seismically-charged environments on the planet. Education is a huge part of the answer. Education not only about risk reduction and the steps that citizens can take to protect themselves, but education that will give bright young Nepali students the skills in Science, Math, Engineering and Technology to transform the future for nation, that can help make homes and schools safer, cities more resilient, power grids more reliable and better communication networks a reality. Some of the brightest STEM students, however, may miss a golden opportunity to kick start their education because of poverty. Soarway STEM Scholarships for Global STEM Scholars will offer incalculable returns to society and help us transform the future.
Read on for a bit more about both these efforts. These are the projects that cannot become reality without your help. We don’t have huge endowments. We don’t have corporate sponsors (yet). We have you.
Please. You can make your charitable contribution, with no fees, here.
Act today. Engage Nepal.
With deepest thanks, as always,
Scott H. DeLisi
U.S. Ambassador (ret.)
Transform and Empower Lives With Liberating Tools
If you have followed our efforts, you know about our commitments to change the narrative for people with different abilities. I’ll tell you a bit of a story about one of them: An intelligent and driven young woman who is determined to make a difference. She also happens to live life confined to a wheelchair, but she refuses to let that define her.
She knows the challenge of leaving the house each morning; of not being to use a toilet during the day because there are no accessible facilities. She told me of the challenge of being “invisible” in a society that doesn’t seem to care.
But there is more to her story. This young woman of skill and determination and vision was orphaned at the age of three as the result of a car accident that killed her parents and sibling and left her with severe damage to her spinal cord. Her extended family wouldn’t support her or even acknowledge her. She was just another mouth to feed.
She was placed in an orphanage. Disabled. Alone. A child. But she never gave up. She fought for her education. She fought to create a life for herself. And she fights today to make a difference. Currently on an exchange visit in the US, she is using a motorized wheelchair. It is liberating. Transformational. Empowering.
There are versions of this chair that could be used in Nepal, and we want her and others among our team of committed champions in Nepal to have them to serve as another tool that allows them to have an even greater impact and to live the most robust life possible.
I hope that among us there may be those who will share their own good fortune to make a difference for this young woman and all our other champions. The chairs will cost approximately $3000. We don’t have the funds… yet. But I hope that, with the help of our friends, we will.
Poverty Closes the Door on Bright Children...
Let's Kick it Open
Our other effort is equally important -- but instead of being constrained by physical disabilities, these individuals are denied a chance by another daunting, and sadly pervasive, barrier: poverty. Poverty should not keep gifted young people from contributing to the future of their nation and our planet, but too often it does.
Today, working with our partners at the International Development Institute, George Mason University is offering some of Nepal’s top students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math the chance to participate in a Global Stem Scholars program.
They will participate in four interactive STEM lectures with sessions on Life Science, Physics and Environmental Sciences, Computational and Data Science and Mathematics. And they will receive three sessions focused on STEM Career opportunities and providing the skills and tools required for successful undergraduate study.
What a great opportunity. And we already have our first group with us. But some of the top scorers in the exams in Nepal, from whom we draw participants, are from families who just can’t afford to give their children this chance. No matter how bright these kids are, their futures will be less lustrous when they lose out on these opportunities.
Poverty closes the door for these kids unless we are willing to kick it open. I hope we can find among some of you supporters who know the difference a helping hand can make. We want to offer at least four scholarships, $5000 each, for Global Stem Scholars in the coming 12 months. I hope we can find individuals or companies who are tech savvy, who know that this is the future and who are willing to be the hand that wields the magic wand that will transform the end of the academic road into a future of hope for at least four young kids from Nepal who need our help today. And we need your help not only as contributors but in identifying these partners and encouraging them to be a sponsor.
Asking for help is never easy but we can never be reluctant to act on behalf of a cause in which we believe. So I ask, and I keep on asking because I believe we are all called at times to act on behalf of those who today need our help but who tomorrow will be the ones to help others. “Pay it forward” isn’t just with words. I know our actions for others today will be with those we touch throughout their lives and shape their engagement.