Leveraging Young Minds to Gain Valuable Insights: Rukmini Foundation Reaches Out to University of Pittsburgh 

Eleanor Roosevelt once stated that, “Education is the cornerstone of liberty.”  At the Rukmini Foundation, nobody knows that more than the honorary chairperson Laxmi Aryal.  She was the first female in her village to graduate high school in Nepal.  She then went on to college and ultimately earned a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate Studies in Policy and International Administration (GSPIA).  Laxmi has since passed her passion for education down to her children and now her son Bibhuti is doing the same.  The founder of Rukmini Foundation has been advocating the power of education for young girls in Nepal for over a year and continues to find new ways to raise awareness.

In January, Bibhuti was invited by Dr. Kiersten Maryott of the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration to speak in her Services Marketing class.  The class focuses on the development of business relationships with customers and the importance of maintaining these relationships.  Dr. Maryott asked Bibhuti to speak to her students and explain the business challenges in coordinating a non-profit.  Bibhuti could not turn down this great opportunity, as it not only provides feedback to the Rukmini Foundation, but it allows the students in the class to apply their business knowledge to practical use.  Ultimately, it is another way that Bibhuti and the Rukmini Foundation are helping to further education.

Bibhuti and I presenting in 2012 on the topic of branding for nonprofits to the Services Marketing class.

It is important that students in the United States are made mindful of happenings around the world.  Not only will it raise awareness of social events in places that are not often thought about, but it will also broaden the ways they perceive the importance of education.  It really struck a chord with the students when they learned that young girls in Nepal do not have the same opportunity to go to school, as do most boys their age.  Now that they are made aware of this problem, they can use the education they have received from the University of Pittsburgh to make recommendations in how to solve this conflict.  It is said that education is the most powerful weapon against poverty and economic imbalances.  It will be great to read responses from students who are continuing to work towards their education, yet are only five or seven years older than these girls in Nepal who will just be starting school.

Presenting the Marketing challenge to the students

We are taking the case study a step further by designing a project for the students that will result in actionable ideas for the foundation.

Hopefully the students’ involvement with the foundation won’t stop with the class project.  We hope that this project will let them realize how easy it is to get involved with non-profits and how significant of an impact they can have on the lives of others.  This is surely a great relationship that the Rukmini Foundation is building with the University of Pittsburgh.  We are in the process of developing relationships with other schools in Pittsburgh, from elementary and middle schools to high schools and universities.  We are excited about the potential of reaching more young students in the US to educate about the hardships faced in Nepal and other underdeveloped countries and how their involvement can help improve the lives for so many children everywhere.  It all starts with education – the cornerstone of the Rukmini Foundation.

If you are an educator or a school administrator, whether at primary, secondary, or a college/university level and are interested in collaborating with Rukmini Foundation, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at: info@rukminifoundation.org


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