Sushma Barakoti lives in Dunwoody, but her heart is with the children who are still suffering after the devastating April earthquake in Nepal, where she was born.
On Nov. 13 and 14, Barakoti plans to donate 10 percent of sales from her locally-made, Nepali traditional textile and crafts at the Dunwoody United Methodist Church Holiday Festival to help support the rebuilding of a special boarding school for kids from the slums in Kathmandu. The products featured at the festival are created by Barakoti and other Nepali women who live in metro Atlanta as required by the craft show. The products have to be locally-made and one of the artisans has to man the booth.
Barakoti owns a social business called Sunavworld, which promotes and sells fairly-traded Nepali traditional art in the U.S. to try to help the 300 Nepali women who make the products, using natural, sustainable raw materials. Sunavworld products are handmade high-quality scarves, bags, Christmas ornaments, folk art and crafts that are created by different grassroots women’s co-ops in Nepal, where the artists are the major stakeholders of the organizations, she said.
Barakoti was born in Kathmandu and went on to work for the United Nations Development Program.
She said she did her graduate studies in the U.S. and moved to Dunwoody with her husband and two children four years ago.
The April 25 earthquake measured nearly 8.0 on the Richter scale and devastated Kathmandu and surrounding villages. More than 7,000 people were killed. Thousands more were injured and displaced.
To date, Sunavworld has donated more than $1,500 to the victims of earthquake.
This season, starting with the Dunwoody UMC Holiday Festival, Barakoti will donate 10 percent of all sales from Sunavworld to help rebuild Sathya Uddhyan, “a garden of truth,” a boarding school for children whose parents and guardians live in the slums of Kathmandu.
Before the earthquake, the school was home to 40 students, who were able to get an education in a safe, clean environment.
After the earthquake, the students had to return to the slums and sleep under tents since their school was destroyed.
They’re now studying in a makeshift school.
“In a disaster of this magnitude, vulnerable children are more at risk of being exploited,” Barakoti said. “Already we are hearing news of possible child trafficking in the country. These kids urgently need a safe place to live.”
“The funds raised by Sunavworld will be used to rebuild the boarding school on land the school owns in a village near Kathmandu,” Barakoti added. “We have engineers who have volunteered to help with the design work and construction.”
Those who wish to help are encouraged to visit sunavworld.com and click on ‘Sathya Uddyan School’ tab to learn more about the School. Ten percent of online sales will also benefit the Sathya Udhyan Fund and 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of “Beautiful Nepal” T-shirts (online) and will go directly to the Sathya Udhyan Fund.