Fill Bellies So that They Can Fill Their Minds

Rukmini Foundation’s motto is empowerment through education, but as we are expanding our programs to more remote areas, we are beginning to see that providing education is not always easy. After we conducted several home visits and school visits to some of the more remote areas, we are seeing that many students have to walk long distances, sometimes up to 2 or 3 hours to reach school. Often, many of these students are going to school without food, so by the time they reach school, they are already tired and hungry. This lack of food and energy makes them unable to concentrate, and sometimes some of them have even fainted in the class. We have seen malnutrition as a big issue for many children in these areas, as they do not get to eat good food and get the required amount of calories. Along with our motto though, we also provide mentoring and health and wellness programs, so we feel that there is a big need to provide food as well as nutrition education as part of our program so that the kids can be healthy enough to concentrate in school. We believe that if we are not able to fill their bellies, we cannot hope to fill their minds.

Promote & Highlight Local Women Leaders

Our 2nd resolution is to promote & highlight local woman leaders making a positive impact. An example is Ms. Rammaya Tamang who runs her own agriculture based business after completing high school after having to drop out early. This year, we want to share more stories like hers and inspire future women leaders.

Place an Emphasis on Empowering Mothers to Empower Their Children

Our 3rd resolution is to put an emphasis on empowering mothers so that they can empower their children, especially their daughters. We will do this through our Moms Club programming and by doing more community outreach of moms, aunts and female elders.

Foster A Culture of Reading

Our 4th resolution is to foster a culture of reading and a love for books. Kids in Nepal tend to only read textbooks for homework and to study for exams. However, we believe that they should pick up a book to read for fun as well. Our World Read Aloud Day program is always a hit, but we know that we need to keep an emphasis on reading. We will look to increase the utilization of libraries and to get people of all ages to pick up more books this year.

Be More Open in Discussing Mental Health Issues & Challenges

Our 5th resolution is to be more open in discussing mental health issues and challenges within our schools, families and communities. We want to break down the stigma of mental health issues and to provide more counseling support for our scholars and students so that they can be both healthy of body and mind.

Blog post by Aryashree Didi about how we started Counseling sessions after the 2015 Earthquakes.

Identify, Develop and Support Mentors

Our 6th resolution is to identify, develop and support mentors within the villages and communities where we work. Each village and community has its own set of challenges as well as opportunities. We need people from that community to help us address the challenges and take advantage of those opportunities. We are excited to see girls like, Roshani, who has developed as a Scholar and is awaiting her exam results to find out if she will be a Graduate as well. She wants to develop her leadership skills and to help younger girls from her community. We are so proud of her, and we know that there are other girls who want to do the same.

Roshani’s Profile

Establish A Culture of Community Service

Our 7th and final resolution for Year 7 of the foundation is to establish a culture of community service for our scholars, mentors and the greater community. We know that we have the capacity of addressing many of our community’s challenges, but we need to work together to do so. We are excited to have inspirational figures like Ritu Didi to help us in mobilizing our scholars to do community service projects. We believe that community service is a part of education and integral to empowerment.

Ritu Didi’s Story

About Bibhuti

Born in Nepal, but growing up in the United States, Bibhuti Aryal has received most of his education in the US. He credits the excellent education he received through Pittsburgh Public Schools, Robert Morris University, and Carnegie Mellon University for the opportunities he has received in his life. Bibhuti earned his undergraduate degree in Information Sciences from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, PA, USA and then his Master's in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, also in Pittsburgh. He currently works in the Information Technology field where he has had a variety of roles from Software Developer to Project / Program Manager to Consultant where he has been helping companies and organizations to make the best use of technology to help solve business problems. He has experience in various industries, such as: government, logistics, finance, insurance and engineering. However, he discovered his passion to advocate for equal access to education when he revisited his motherland of Nepal in 2011. For most of the last 9 plus years, Bibhuti has been advocating for quality education for all, especially in his country of Nepal and the communities where he was born into. He is the Co-Founder of Rukmini Foundation, an organization that empowers girls through a holistic program of education, mentoring, and health & wellness. In the US, Bibhuti also serves in his community in various roles including as the Chair of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs in Pennsylvania where he leads the Commission in advocating for the diverse AAPI communities in the State. Bibhuti is responsible for ensuring that the organization fulfills its mission and achieves the goals set by the board through coordination of efforts of all volunteers of the Rukmini Foundation. Bibhuti brings his years of experience in various industries like: government, construction, finance and technology along with a strong desire to initiate a positive change in the world. Away from work, Bibhuti enjoys time with his family, running, reading and trying to learn new languages.
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