Well, I am off to Nepal again. This will be my fourth trip. My wife, Stephanie Waisler-Rubin, is the founder of the Unatti Foundation (www.unattifoundation.org). I have the privilege of serving as the General Counsel of the foundation. And a wonderful privilege it is. The Unatti Foundation was formed in 2002. The Unatti Foundation operates a group home for girls in the village of Bhaktapur, Nepal. Approximately 17 girls ages 4 and up live in the home. The remarkable story of the Unatti Foundation is set forth in great detail on the aforementioned website so I will not attempt to re-tell it in this limited space. What I will do is share with you a remarkable moment that took place during my first trip in about 2004.
I was raised upper middle class to say the least. I wanted for nothing. Nothing had prepared me for the poverty I encountered on that first trip. The moment I stepped off the plane I stepped into a third world country. It was an eye-opening experience to say the least. Each time my wife travels to Nepal she brings duffel bags filled with used children’s clothing generously contributed by friends and supporters of the foundation. Towards the end of each visit, the girls who live in the Unatti Foundation group home for girls (the Unatti Girls) participate in an exercise where the used clothing is distributed to the poor children and families of Bhaktapur. One of the goals of this exercise is for the Unatti Girls to participate in an activity where they are helping those who have even less than they do. The Unatti Girls have a bed, a home, food, education, house mothers and each other. It would not be an exaggeration to say that many of the kids in Bhaktapur barely have any of these things.
During that first trip, as I stood off to a corner on the roof of the Unatti home where the clothing was being distributed I was overcome by what I saw. Tears streaming down the faces of mothers and grandmothers that had accompanied their children to the event simply because their young children and grandchildren had received a used pair of pants, shirt and maybe some shoes. And the shoes had soles! Many of the children arrived at the event wearing “shoes” if you choose to call them that – barely any sole and in some cases virtually no sole left on the shoe. They wear the same article of clothing almost every day because they do not even have a second pair of pants or shirt. As I stood there watching this amazing event unfold, I remember thinking to myself, “this is how we are going to save the world. One tiny act of charity repeated an infinite number of times.”
I realized in that moment you do not need to be wealthy to have an impact. You do not need wealth at all. You simply need to do something to help those less fortunate than you are. You do not have to take a grandiose action. Even a tiny act of charity makes an impact. When added to together to other tiny acts of charity it makes a big impact.
I learned so much that day. I am looking forward to learning some more …