I was introduced to Jim Nowak, President and Co-Founder of dZi Foundation by my expedition company for Everest, who have been organizing Everest expeditions since the early 1990s and have an extensive knowledge about Nepal. They strongly recommended dZi as my partner charity, and they are also giving an annual donation to dZi Foundation, so they are definitely putting their money where their mouth is!
Furthermore, after several years in investment management in London/NY, I have learned the importance of always doing your own due diligence, and I have spent a significant amount of time learning more about dZi, the causes they support, and the way they operate.
I reviewed a number of different charities and selected dZi because they are well established with 15 years of specific experience in Nepal yet small enough that I felt I could see the direct impact of where my raised funds were going to be invested and without a big bureaucratic organization that slows down processes. I have been able to have detailed discussions with dZi President Jim Nowak and Nepal country director Ben Ayers about the work they do and what suitable projects they had available given my desired focus on education for underprivileged children, and I have significant confidence that we will be able to implement sustainable improvement with the funds that I will raise through this project thanks to your generous help! dZi has a very professional approach, is already registered as a US charity qualifying for tax-deductible donations, and their full financial statements are available on their website. dZi’s registration for UK Gift Aid is imminent.
Furthermore, Jim and I had a significant interest in common: Mountaineering! dZi dates back to the late 1990s when Jim had been on a mountaineering expedition in Nepal. On this trip, Jim and his co-founder Kim Reynolds came across a safehouse for girls which was at risk of having to close down due to shortage of funding. The dZi Founders organized a new climbing expedition to Nepal, climbed the peak Pumori (7,161m / 23,494ft) and raised enough money to secure the financing for the girls’ home, thereby saving these orphaned girls from a life on the street, child labor, or trafficking/other abuse.
Now dZi Foundation has grown into a larger organization focused on helping remote villages on a sustainable basis by creating projects that will continue to live and thrive on their own, driven by locals. dZi also spends significant time on understanding how the villagers operate naturally, so that dZi can implement projects in a way that they fit into the way people are already going about their lives so that the change can be swiftly implemented. Likewise, for our intended school project, it is not about simply constructing the school building itself and hoping that the villagers will do the rest – no, the whole “system” needs to be implemented so that teachers are secured for on an ongoing basis; books, pens and other education materials are secured; and finally working on ensuring that kids are able to attend school and not kept at home working full-time for their families.
In the community of Chhitre – where the school will be constructed – dZi formed a Parent Teacher Association a few years ago. It is this body that identified the need for the new school building, and mobilized the community to approach dZi for support. The PTA will serve to ensure that the management and education quality of the school will be sustained after the building is constructed, and that the entire community is mobilized around education. dZi also gives regular trainings to the PTA members and local teacher on school management, teaching techniques, and local fundraising. In addition to this, dZi is supporting families in the area with income generation programs based around new agricultural techniques and strengthening local markets. Instead of simply handing out pens and pencils, dZi increases the economic ability of families to purchase these goods themselves – leading to a much more sustainable solution in the long run.
If we succeed in EXCEEDING our USD27,000 fundraising target – which I have high hopes we will – dZi Foundation has a number of projects in the pipeline in the same area, which are researched and ready to be implemented. Please support dZi with your DONATION!
– For instructions how to donate to the charity please see the DONATIONS page
– Click here for a detailed charity project description
– You can read more general information about the dZi Foundation at www.dzifoundation.org
– You can follow my progress on Twitter (in addition to this blog): @TS_2013_Everest