In the summer of 2011 I wanted to travel to Nepal to help orphans. As someone who is adopted myself, it pulled on my heart strings. I had raised around $3,000 that year from families and friends with the intention that once I arrived to the country, I would blog about how I would spend their charity. I already had been traveling the world since 2006 completing volunteer projects, but had only brought myself. This was the year I wanted to morph from Katie the volunteer to Katie the change maker.
However, I soon discovered that 80% of children in orphan homes had living parents (UNICEF). Volunteers and overseas donors were funneling money into the institutions, but no one was helping the widowed or abandoned mothers.
I found that many of these women came from the lowest caste in Hindu society, the Dalits or "untouchables." Life was egregious before they had to make it on their own, but now they were essentially powerless without their husbands and resorting to giving their children up to the for-profit orphan homes.
I soon began looking for ways to sustain the families and that was social entrepreneurship! I spent that first summer traveling the country investing in farming based businesses for mothers so they could afford to keep their children!
That scope has now extended to addressing child trafficking and safe birthing practices.