While visiting Kathmandu in 1989, Pamela Carson noticed that many school-aged children clearly were not attending school. She struck up a friendship with three in particular and learned about their lives on the street. What they most wanted, they told her, was to go to school. Pamela had already sold her successful business in Boston and traveled extensively, including spending time in a Zen monastery in Japan. But in meeting those boys, one of whom she eventually adopted as her own son, she found her life’s calling. Pamela arranged to enroll the three boys in school. Thus was born Educate the Children and its original focus on matching sponsors with disadvantaged children.
Barbara Cook, Freema Hillman, Sara Pines, Dan Sisler, Ursula Ziebarth, and many more of Pamela’s friends worked closely with her and her Nepali colleague Kiran Tewari on a volunteer basis. They put in countless hours during the early years, building the organization from the ground up.
Sadly, Pamela contracted cancer in 1997 and died in 2000. However, her legacy lives on in this time-tested and effective organization.
Within a short time of the organization’s founding, ETC’s leaders came to realize that the organization could have a much broader impact by also working with families (especially mothers) and entire communities. Through a rigorous review of its own activities and of the long history of development work in Nepal, it became clear that ETC’s strong commitment to education was the best place to start this transformation.
Armed with a three-year start-up grant, ETC developed a multi-faceted approach now known as our integrated community development (ICD) program model, with its three mutually supportive components: Children’s Education, Women’s Empowerment, and Sustainable Agricultural Development.