Kelowna charity changes ‘her’ life

A Kelowna based charity launches campaign to tell the story of Nepalese women’s lives.

A Canadian charity with a Kelowna connection that helps provide Nepalese women with opportunities to learn livelihood skills, is now sharing the story of these brave women.

Kelowna-based Intercultural Women’s Education Network (IWEN), has been working for the last 10-years to provide educational opportunities and sustainable life skills to marginalized women and children in Nepal.

Founded by Michael Bonneau, IWEN is working with Julie Gascon, a photographer and graduate from Concordia University, to put together a Kickstarter campaign to publish a book about the success of the Tharu women, a marginalized Nepalese ethnicity.

“To publish this book, we need to fund it first. We have all of the stories written and ready to go,”explained Bonneau. “There will also be excerpts translated into Nepalese.”

The stories told are over the 10 years IWEN has been working with these women in Nepal and it’s their tales that bring tears to the eyes of volunteers and Bonneau.

“Our charity believed early on that it was through simply facilitating these opportunities and teaching livelihood skills to women, through a holistic approach, was how these women’s self-reliance could be encouraged and developed,” said Bonneau.

In 2009, when Bonneau went to Nepal with well-known Kelowna developer Kevin Edgecombe they found they could turn 13 cents into a life changing event. By pooling just 13 cents of their own money together the women contributed to IWEN for educational scholarships, which helped to reshape their families lives.

Edgecombe who sits on the board of directors for IWEN was instrumental alongside Bonneau in making trips to Nepal to build five classrooms and fund-raise to build 10 more.

He and his wife also oversee Unako, a company that sells scarves made by Nepalese women in Canada.

The book ‘Her’, will be available if funding targets are met, by January 2018. So far, more than $3,000 has been raised of the $6,500 goal.

Click here to learn more and donate to the project.