Christmas gifts bought in Kelowna send girls to school in Nepal

A charity event for Her International saw more than 100 people attend on Wednesday

More than 100 people squeezed into the Edgecombe Builders office in downtown Kelowna Wednesday night, for an annual event that supports the local charity Her International.

Her International is a grassroots charity, created in Kelowna 12 years ago by a woman named Michelle Bonneau, that aims to empower women and girls in Nepal through education.

RELATED: Okanagan volunteers reflect on building classrooms in Nepal

The annual scarf sale lures everyone from construction industry workers to city councillors to support a good cause and purchase scarfs and jewelery made in Nepal for Christmas gifts.

Executive Director of Her International Tamara McLennan said the charity hopes to generate more than $4,000 in scarf and jewelry sales to support 20 girls and their mothers in Nepal.

“When you think that $4,000 is almost one year’s tuition for university here for one student, but in Nepal it supports 10 girls and then automatically grants their moms access to a micro-credit in a life skills groups that gives them the education they need,” she said.

President of Her International Kevin Edgecombe just returned from Nepal where he and a group of volunteers built four classrooms at Janata Secondary School in Ghotawa, Dang District.

“The friends I have and the people who are there are so easy to do work for. They have nothing, but they give you everything. They have a way about them that is incredibly gracious and the gratitude they share and show we need to figure out in North America,” said Edgecombe.

RELATED: Former Kelowna woman receives prestigious service medal

New Coun. Loyal Wooldridge was in attendance at the annual event to make a special announcement for the charity.

“Unfortunately we lost my mom two years ago, unexpectedly, at the age of 56,” said Wooldridge. “So, my sister and I decided to create a legacy foundation in her name and each year we give back to the community and this year we are giving back to the global community. I was so inspired by Kevin and Her International, and with my sister being a registered nurse in Victoria we decided this was the perfect fit to donated $2,100 to the nursing program.”

Her International started a scholarship program to send young women to nursing school, after the death of a girl in Nepal which could have been avoided had there been proper medical facilities in place. The money donated by Wooldridge will go to this program.


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