How the son of author and former Wood River High School motivational teacher Midge Patzer found himself garnering scholarships for poor young women in Nepal is told most compellingly in his own words, by our pick for Local Hero: Trevor Allan Patzer, 35, and his Little Sisters Fund.
“When I was 11 or 12, a family friend offered that, if I were accepted into an elite New England boarding school, he would support my education there. That gift of education changed my life dramatically. I have been blessed with remarkable parents and many mentors and role models, and I have always wanted to help others as I was helped. In 1998, I went to Nepal to trek to the base of Mt. Everest and there I saw a desperate need. In Nepal, 78 percent of men can read and write, but fewer than 30 percent of women. For a fraction of the cost of my U.S. schooling, I learned, I could help a child in Nepal. Without help, many girls in South Asia face child labor, child marriage and child trafficking. UNICEF estimates 10,000-20,000 girls, some as young as seven, are trafficked each year to India for sexual exploitation.
I was introduced to a girl, Bindhaya, and committed on the spot to support her complete education. Last year, she graduated from nursing school and is an R.N. in Nepal. Thus, the birth of the Little Sisters Fund. Today, we have more than 800 girls on long-term scholarships. When a girl enters our program, we generally provide her educational expenses for 8 to 10 years. What we are able to accomplish is only possible through the generosity of our philanthropic donors. Just $300 supports the full education of one girl for a year, including tuition, supplies, uniforms and books, at a private English medium school. Every dollar helps provide safety, education and, most importantly, hope. What we really need is one or more lead supporters to join our efforts and to walk with us as we change and save lives in South Asia.”
To help, visit www.littlesistersfund.org