If you know anything about me, you already know I have a project in Nepal. I have been a volunteer for most of my life, but for the past decade, I have dedicated my time to helping marginalized girls and women in a small slice of the planet called the Dang Region in Southwestern Nepal.
I get asked all the time, “Why Nepal?” and my simple answer is this: My girlfriend, Michelle, was a teacher and just happened to be working there and noticed that young girls were being sold into “servitude”, child labor, to be more direct. She asked me to take some Nepalese scarves with me to an event that I was speaking at so we could raise a few hundred dollars and hopefully buy out some of these girls’ contracts and get them into school.
Fast forward to 10 years later: We have got hundreds of girls into school and over 700 of their moms educated, built classrooms in various parts of Nepal, done earthquake relief, and built a “Vocational Center” UNAKO House, to continue education and empowerment for women and families in Nepal.
This past April, I took my sister, Diane Whitehouse, with me for a sister trip to Nepal so we could start a new project with our moms at UNAKO house. The following photo montage is just a 60-second look at some of our experiences.
Locations: Kathmandu, Changpur Orphanage, Lamahi, Gawdawa, UNAKO House, our Sewing Moms, Lumbini where Buddha was born, Lukla and the Kumba trail to Namche Bazzar. Trekking and overcoming our own fears, barriers, belief systems and physical limitations.
Everyone Benefits from Social Responsibility
For those of us who are lucky enough to have just been dropped off in a first world country, we are privileged. And with Privilege comes Responsibility.
Choosing a Slice of the Planet is no longer an option for any organization in a developed country. It’s part of the makeup and culture of your company. Believe me, your customers are noticing. So choose the slice that works for you and your company.
As I mentioned above, I chose Nepal.
When you travel to a developing country, your experience is not the same as traveling for holidays. Vacation is not a word that you get to experience in Nepal. It is a study in extremes.
Every sense gets overwhelmed: sights, sounds, smells and emotions. There are conflicting thoughts that go through your head constantly because nothing makes sense. There are no rules in Nepal, there are not even suggestions.
Don’t try and compare the experience to anything because it insults the moments that you find yourself in. Let’s just say that at the end of the day, you are exhausted.
Enjoy a cold beer and be open to the next day… Which usually starts about 5am with non-stop honking of horns; the horns usually stop about 11pm at night.
How I have come to tell the story is that this kind of travel/giving-back experience has stickiness to it. It actually has more traction than anything else you will ever experience. And if asked right after you land back in your home country, “Would you go back?”, most would say ‘no’.
But like child labor, you forget the hard stuff, the out-of-your-comfort-zone moments, and then the stickiness of it hangs on and you start to yearn for it again and I guarantee you that eventually you will find yourself booking a ticket, making plans and clearing your calendar for the next trip to go and help a slice of the planet.
If you ever want to come with me to Nepal, connect and I’ll put you on the email update list.
Humanitarian, Speaker, Scarf Sales Lady