In 1998, I was at the city gates of Bhaktapur, Nepal working on a photographic book about underprivileged street children in developing countries. A group of small boys, ages 8 to 14, were sitting on the side of the road, hoping to befriend tourists so they could make a few rupees for their hungry families. After a few different conversations and becoming more aware of the poverty-stricken country of Nepal, I knew I wanted to make an impact. Little did I know, this would turn into something bigger.
My dream was to empower the young girls of Nepal to be all that they can be, despite the situation that they were born into. This project became known as the Unatti Foundation. Today the Unatti Foundation is no longer a small passion project but has grown into a successful, thriving international non-profit organization.
Because of you, I am beyond excited to share that the Unatti Foundation is celebrating its 20th year.
Over the past 20 years the Unatti Group home for girls has:
How is this possible?
The central pillar of our programs at the Unatti Foundation is The Unatti Group Home for Girls in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Girls come to the Unatti home as young as 3 years old and live together as a family until they complete college and are ready to live independently.
My team of ten remarkable local Nepali women, who I lovingly refer to as my sisters, are present day in and day out to ensure that the girls we bring to the Unatti home have the special care, guidance, love and support they deserve.
20 years ago five special little girls, ages 3-7 years,
became the first five Unatti girls.
Today those girls have studied social work, environmental science, accounting and business management. They are uniquely bound by their childhood at Unatti.
20 years at the helm of the Unatti Foundation has been the most wondrous, awe-inspiring, and expansive journey. I know my Nepali daughters’ histories and of the difficulties they were dealt by being born into extreme poverty to generations of uneducated mothers. I know of their times of hunger and hopelessness. I know their struggles graduating from Unatti and then trying to mend families that have been broken by scarcity and sorrow. I also know they are exceptional, exquisite individuals who show courage, determination, grit, empathy and grace as they become far more than the circumstances of their birth had planned for them.
To continue this work that I believe was scripted for me long before my own birth, I need to continually expand our circle of supporters, people who recognize that by providing these girls and all girls, with a good education, childhood stability, the tools to know the power of their own voice and that their dreams matter, the experience of generations falling victim to cultural inequality begins melts away.
Please consider becoming a sponsor and getting to know one of our Unatti girls a whole lot better, or join a tour to meet the Unatti girls in Nepal and get to know all of them a WHOLE LOT better.
In any way that feels meaningful to you, please consider supporting the Unatti Foundation.
With monumental gratitude to all of you for joining me on this mission!