— Usha Acharya, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Nepal
My own experience of being a daughter of poor and illiterate parents from a rural village made me personally aware of how vulnerable young girls can be in Nepal. Every year I walked six days in a row to Kathmandu for education and returned home during the two months of winter vacation. As there was no other mode of transportation at that time, walking up and down the forested mountains and crossing the rivers in wooden canoes was a challenging experience for me. However, I finished my school, college and university education through hard struggle against heavy odds. It was almost a mission impossible. Today I am where I am, and doing what I am doing thanks to my education.
Trevor Patzer is co-founder of the Little Sisters Fund, Inc. He continues to work as our full-time Executive Director and Secretary. He has received multiple honors for his work with the Fund.
Prior to launching the Little Sisters Fund, Trevor managed 5-star spa projects in Bhutan and the Maldives. He began his professional career at Andersen Consulting and worked for the teacher placement agency Carney Sandoe & Associates. Trevor also spent two years in admissions at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA.
Trevor loves the outdoors and is at home in any mountain range, from the Himalayas to the Rockies. He is also passionate about travel and experiencing new cultures. Trevor speaks French, has a working knowledge of Spanish, and has basic abilities in Nepali and Hindi.
Above all, Trevor is a family man. He is very happily married and is a very proud father.
Born and raised in Sun Valley, Idaho, Trevor holds a Masters in Educational Administration from the University of Virginia and is a graduate of Brown University and of St. Paul’s School.
Usha oversees all the Little Sisters Fund activities in Nepal, as carried out by Education for Empowerment Program, which operates LSF programs on the ground in Nepal.
Prior to her role with the Fund, Usha led Nepalese in-country efforts as a Senior Program Officer for Save the Children (UK) on topics including education, marginalized children, discrimination against women, and HIV/AIDS awareness. She also served as Program Officer for The Asia Foundation in Nepal, focusing on Nepalese societal well-being.
Usha earned a Masters of Arts in Economics from Delhi University in Delhi, India, and a Masters of Philosophy from Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, India. She received her undergraduate degree from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal. She also completed courses on Women Studies at Columbia University and on International Human Rights Law at Harvard University. Usha has published two books, Primary Education in Nepal: Policy, Problems and Prospects (2002) and Girls Trafficking and Child Labor in Nepal (2011) as well as multiple articles.
In Nepal, Little Sisters Fund works as Education for Empowerment Program (E4E) under the aegis of the Nepal registered non-profit organization, Center for Democracy and Development (CDD).
Ramesh started working as a volunteer for the Education for Empowerment Program shortly after it was started in 1999 and continued to volunteering until 2002, when he became the first full-time employee. As a result, he knows the program inside and out. Ramesh serves as Finance Officer and oversees all money matters in Nepal, but beyond that, he is integrally involved in making sure that the program is efficient, effective, and making a transformative impact in the lives of the “Little Sisters”.
Before joining Little Sisters Fund and E4E, Ramesh worked in a Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children (HRDC), as an orthopedic technician. Ramesh also worked briefly for the Disabled Relief Fund (DRF) as an orthopedic technician, where he made orthoses and prostheses and conducted mobile health camps. In his free time, Ramesh continues to design and produce orthoses and prostheses for people with injuries and disabilities. He holds a B.A. in Economics and has received trainings in finance and management.
Yashoda serves as Program Officer for the Education for Empowerment Program, ensuring the smooth day-to-day operations that support 2,000+ girls in more than 80 partner schools in 20 districts. Along with Usha and Ramesh, she is also a member of the Financial Oversight Committee.
Yashoda volunteered her time to the Education for Empowerment Program for 10 years before joining the staff full time in 2008. Prior to that, Yashoda worked as an analyst for the Social Welfare Council of Nepal, the semi-government body that oversees all NGO and INGO activities in the country. In her ten years at the Social Welfare Council she audited and oversaw the work of hundreds of non-profit organizations in Nepal. Before working for the Social Welfare Council, Yashoda taught as an Assistant Professor at Tribuhavan University after working in administration. She also worked at Nepal Rastra Bank (Nepal Central Bank) for three years.
Yashoda was born in Tanahu, a remote western district of Nepal. She got married at the age of 16 when she was in grade 10 and gave birth to her first child when she was 17, but never quit her studies. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1993, Bachelor in Education in 1996 and Masters of Arts degree in Nepali from Tribhuvan University in 1997.
Indira helped E4E as a volunteer from 1998 to 2008 before joining the team full-time as Parent Liaison in 2008. She does the “heavy lifting” of communicating with parents and answering all of their questions. Parents of Little Sisters trust Indira and appreciate communicating with her because her background is similar to theirs. She also manages our inventory of supplies (backpacks, books, notepads, pencils, pens, etc.) for all 2,000+ Little Sisters and the Post Office Box, which is critical for the 200+ Little Sisters who send monthly letters to their sponsors.
Indira got married at young age so she could not complete her education. After raising her 4 children she went back to school and completed her studies through the 10th Grade.
Juni joined the Education for Empowerment Program team in 2008 as an Administration and Program Assistant. Besides assisting in all program work, she is charged with maintaining the E4E Resource Center and Library. Before joining E4E, Juni worked as a teacher from 2004-2007 and with the grassroots NGO, Rural Women Uplifting Association (RWUA) from 2005-2007.
Juni passed her School Leaving Certificate exam in 2002 and her + 2 (grades 11 and 12) in 2007 focusing on English. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Education.
Trimuna joined the Education for Empowerment Program in 2009 as Health and Program Assistant. She promotes nutrition, healthy habits, and good hygiene with all Little Sisters focusing on preventive measures to keep little sisters healthy. She coordinates the Preventive Health Care Program and oversees twice yearly de-worming and multi-vitamin distribution to all Little Sisters. Trimuna also administers vaccinations as needed. She keeps health records for all Little Sisters and oversees hospital visits as necessary. She is also involved in all areas of E4E programming.
She completed her Pharmacy Diploma in 2008 and recently completed her Bachelor’s degree in Education majoring Public and Physical Health.
Lama, as he is affectionately known by the Education for Empowerment Program Team, navigates the chaotic streets of Kathmandu and the dangerous mountain passes of the Himalayan foothills to get E4E and LSF staff and supplies to the girls who need them the most. We quite literally trust him with our lives!
Prior to joining the E4E team in 2009, Lama worked for KIA Motors in Kathmandu. In addition to driving, Lama runs office errands as needed.
Sangita joined the Education for Empowerment Program as Primary Educators’ Trainer in 2013. She spent her first months on the job developing the courses and evaluation strategy for PET program. She is now engaged full-time in training the primary-level (Grades 1-5) teachers. She is one of the few female teacher trainers in Nepal.
Before joining as Primary Educator Trainer, Sangita worked as a Facilitator in building the manner of children in Dhaulagiri National School, Dhapasi. She has three years of teaching experience and has also completed Montessori training. She also worked for four years as an Administrative Officer in Transport and Labor Management Office. She earned her Master’s degree in Economics from Tribhuvan University in 2012.
Januka, as she is known, helps in office cleaning and preparing healthy lunches for staffs, guests, and School Coordinators not only during the office days but also on extensive Letter Writing days. Everyone appreciates her tasty cooking, honesty and hard work!
Prior to joining the E4E team in 2014, Januka worked for Saathi, an NGO in Nepal as Kitchen Helper. Before that she was a Tempo (auto-rickshaw) driver and drove that for more than two years in Kathmandu.
Susmita joined the Education for Empowerment Program as Finance Assistant in 2016. She works closely with Ramesh on bookkeeping and managing E4E’s finances. Besides assisting diligently with all the financial matters, she also helps in all other program activities as needed.
Prior to joining the E4E team Susmita worked in the Account Division of Orthopedica, a private company that produces orthoses and prosthesis. Susmita is pursuing her MBM (Masters in Business Management) from Tribhuvan University. She completed her Bachelor degree in 2013.
School Coordinators (SCs) are graduated Little Sisters who choose to mentor and monitor progress for groups of 30-90 or more younger Little Sisters in E4E partner schools. SCs play a critical role in E4E work, checking in with each girl regarding her academic performance, home and family situation, and general well-being. In areas where we do not have any graduates, we rely on local women, typically social workers or NGO employees, whom we call Contact Persons (CPs). Together, School Coordinators and Contact Persons are our “foot soldiers”, the eyes and ears (and arms and legs) of what we do on a daily basis. It is only thanks to their hard work and caring that a small permanent staff in Kathmandu can so effectively oversee the education of over 2,000+ Little Sisters throughout Nepal.
Abigail joined the Little Sisters Fund in 2016. She came to LSF with over ten years non-profit experience in all management, development, communications, programmatic, and operations facets of the Center for International Policy – a $6 million advocacy and research organization dedicated to promoting a just, sustainable, and peaceful world. While at CIP, Abigail directed the Latin America Rights & Security Program and developed and directed the Security Assistance Monitor Project, an online database that tracks all U.S. military and police aid to the rest of the world. Before CIP, Abigail lived in Quito, Ecuador, where she produced a news-commentary radio show, developed and managed an online, direct-to-consumer flower company, and worked as a project developer for a local non-profit.
Abigail lives in Middleburg, Virginia with her husband and son. She is fluent in Spanish and is an avid horseback rider and gardener. Abigail has a B.A. from Bates College and an M.A. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Education for Empowerment Program is governed by boards of directors in both the USA and Nepal. In Nepal, Little Sisters Fund works as Education for Empowerment Program (E4E) under the aegis of the Nepal registered non-profit organization, Center for Democracy and Development (CDD). Both organizations are governed by boards of directors.