Fall in Pittsburgh is vibrant colors of gold, red and orange contrasting against crystal blue skies. A crisp chill in the air, pumpkins dotting porches, and leaves tumbling along the sidewalks let us know that fall is officially here. Which can only mean one thing for the Rukmini Foundation: it’s time to celebrate our anniversary!

Event Menu

We gathered for an evening of fun, food and doing good

On Monday, October 20, 2014, the Rukmini Foundation commemorated its third anniversary at Bar Marco in Pittsburgh. The talented chefs Tony Marinho and Jeff Hurff of Street Foods worked tirelessly, side by side, in the kitchen with foundation leaders Basu and Laxmi Aryal, to create authentic and tantalizing Nepali cuisine. Dinner guests enjoyed a variety of classic Nepali food: Mo-mos (Nepali dumplings), Daal (Lentil Soup), Aloo Achaar (Nepali Potato Salad), Cauli Tarkari (Cauliflower Curry), Chicken Curry, and Kheer (Rice Pudding).

Hard Working Staff in the Back

Street Foods Chef Jeff Hurff prepping plates while Basu Aryal helps out in the background

Plates Get Ready to be Served

Guests enjoyed delicious plates like these

Cheerful servers and bartenders made sure all the diners were well fed and taken care of. All proceeds from the meals went directly to the Rukmini Foundation to support the girls’ educational, health and mentorship programs in Nepal. What a delicious combination!

Dinner Was a Lively but Cozy Atmosphere

Bar Marco was a cozy yet lively atmosphere

Not only did attendees fill their bellies to support the cause, but the upstairs of the restaurant was transformed into a space that hosted a number of other opportunities for guests to show their support. Stunning photographs of Nepal from Ang Sherpa and board member, Lauren Smathers, lined the walls for purchase.

Photography by And Sherpa

Photography from our talented team member Ang Sherpa adorned the walls of Bar Marco

Rukmini t-shirts and bracelets were also for sale. Amy Calligaro generously donated all proceeds from the sale of her Silpada jewelry to the cause. Jasmine Cho sold and donated proceeds from her delicious, homemade Nomicakes to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

Cupcakes by Foundation Friend Jasmine Cho

The only thing that could make this evening sweeter were these delicious Nomicake creations of Jasmine Cho

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the premier of the inspiring and eye-opening film, “A Day in the Life: Susmita’s Difficult Journey for Education”. Many in the audience members, board members included, had not realized the reality of the hardships that the Rukmini students have to endure on a daily basis. The film also showed how truly committed the girls are to their own education and how appreciative their families are in the support we are able to provide.

Watch this powerful video about how Susmita does not let obstacles get in the way of her education

Premiering A Day in the Life Video

The audience seemed visibly moved by seeing Susmita’s strength and dedication

The Nepal team also produced a film highlighting all the noteworthy achievements and events of the foundation in the past year. It was great to see how hard the students are working and how much support the staff and teachers are providing them in an effort to improve the lives of the girls. We are all so proud and grateful for their efforts.

The Audience Watches Intently Part 2

A big thank you to everyone who made this a truly memorable anniversary event

Thank you to everyone who attended the event to support the Rukmini Foundation. Without all of your support, we would not be able to celebrate such successes. Here is to many, many more anniversaries!

Lauren Smathers
Board Member, Rukmini Foundation

About Lauren Smathers

Lauren Smathers (BA: International Studies, Journalism; MA: Teaching) works as an English as a Second Language teacher at a local school district in Pittsburgh, PA. Having spent a significant amount of time conducting research, studying, and traveling throughout Nepal, she is well-versed in the challenges that face the country and its people. As a teacher who can also converse in the Nepali language, Lauren’s passion for educating international students will help the foundation to implement effective educational programs. She is currently leading a Quality Education initiative that works directly with teachers in Nepal to implement effective English instruction as well as providing ideas on how to improve the quality of overall education.
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