This past May, What If...? asked What If We Embraced Edupreneurship As a Transformative Force? In that post, I also mentioned the work Yangmali Sahadev Rai had just started on his Clinton Global Initiative University backed, Yang-Ward Foundation. As with most global go-getters, Rai has had a tremendously busy -- and productive -- summer. Today, I'd like to share just how far Rai and his foundation have traveled in just under four months, all by taking a single question (What if empowering women could educate entire generations?) and turning it into a transformative action that will impact the lives of individuals and communities for years to come.
Yangmali Rai was very involved with social work from an early age. When Rai visited Bhojpur, a town in his home country of Nepal, he knew he had to do something. Many facilities we take for granted such as drinking water, electricity, toilets, and phone service were missing in that part of Nepal. A civil war that lasted for 10 years had upturned this Eastern Nepalese town, leaving its citizens impoverished and the land overridden by a government that was doing nothing. After his visit, Rai immediately began planning to help his native people. Specifically, he wanted to empower the single women who had lost their husbands and children who had lost their fathers in the civil war by teaching them ways to overcome the extreme poverty they were now forced to fight.
Rai wanted to show them that there are people who care about them and that changes are inevitable if people work together to make their lives better. But Rai was quick to discover the truth behind the saying, "easier said than done." Rai didn't have the funding to turn his dream into a reality. But that all changed when a fellow student at Westminster College, Sneha Bhandari (also from Nepal), told Rai about the Clinton Global Initiative -- a challenge that, in partnership with the Resolution Project Inc., awards students the funding needed for innovative solutions to the World's most pressing problems. With more than 600 applicants representing all 50 US states and 75 countries, Rai claims to be the only applicant who didn't believe he had a chance.
But when Chelsea Clinton announced his name at a special ceremony in St.Louis that Rai had beat out 150 other semi-finalists, he was ecstatic -- and a believer. With the $9,000 in seed money, Rai plans to employ Nepalese women at the local level to engage them in entrepreneurial activities. The revenue generated from the women's entrepreneurial enterprises -- mainly the farming and selling of cash crops -- will then be directed toward funding schools with basic supplies and, eventually, modern technology. Edupreneurship at its finest.
Rai is an extremely dedicated young man determined to continue his vision to empower women, their involvement in inspiring community, and giving back to community. His story and commitment to his cause are truly admirable, but the Yang-Ward Foundation needs your help to sustain its mission to: "Embrace social responsibility and commitments to empower single women by engaging them in revenue-generating activities to gain better financial independence, invest in improving local educational situations, and transform their lives."
Please join me in supporting Yang-Ward Foundation's campaign to to help improve the lives of underprivileged single women in rural Nepal. Yangmali Sahadev's foundation is not only creating more educational opportunities for the children of Nepal, he's empowering the entrepreneurial spirit of single women to do so. Working directly with the community to become self-sustaining, the Yang-Ward Foundation is dedicated to breaking the vicious cycle of poverty, poor health, gender inequality, illiteracy, and under-education. You can follow the Yang-Ward Foundation's future growth and impact @YangWardFound.