When Joyce Tapper, founding member of the Didi Project, took a group of her women friends to trek in Nepal in the year 2000, none of us knew that we would return to this small Himalayan country, far from home, year after year. We would become closely involved with our work here to help women and children.
It all began when, on that first trek, we decided to use the last of our travel dollars to buy clothing and shoes for a group of itinerant farm children in the mountain village of Marpha in the Annapurna region. When we asked what else we could do to help these sweet, smiling children, our lodge owner simply said, "You will be successful if you just educate one girl".
So began our journey of sponsoring two little girls from this village in a school in Kathmandu, and helping another bright boy who was suffering from a crippling disease and unable to walk. Eventually, four of us formed The Didi Project, a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization. "Didi" is the Nepali word for respectfully addressing older sisters or friends.
With our original intention of Sisters helping Sisters, we have reached out to a wide circle of Nepali women and children, helping individual girls and their families, and taking on a variety of projects and partnerships with other local groups and international organizations.
We are glad to still be involved with our work in Nepal, two decades after we first met those little children in the Himalayan village. We invite you to join us as a Didi (respected sister) or a Bhai (respected brother).
Inspired by what they saw on their earlier trips to Nepal, two dear friends have joined the Board: Benita Chaum and Mary Ellen Schubel. We have also added a new Board member to represent us in Nepal, our sponsored daughter Sabita Pun.
Watch this video about our early years in Nepal, spending time with our sponsored daughters during a difficult time in the country.