From Bogota to Katmandu (A story of one man, education and the internet)


I originally wrote about Pierre, the “Orchid of Light” from Montreal in our post “The Rest Room Philanthropist”. That was back in September when he had just made the donation that linked two missions on different continents with the same dream.

When he contacted me about his intended gift we began a series of email exchanges about how it would transform the lives of the children it would be delivered to.

During our discussions Orchid focused on two goals. How Pierre could most help the missions he selected and how we could fulfill his philanthropic dream. Orchid wanted to give something to Pierre as much as he wanted to give something to Orchid and that included making good on our promise to deliver an unparallelled transformation.

As we exchanged emails Pierre shared his personal philanthropy with me. He was committed to the belief that education without access to the internet could never offer a third world child what they really needed; a connection to the outside world.

With that ambition firmly established Pierre and Orchid worked hand in hand to develop two grant awards that met his goals. When the award details were finished we approached Mujeres Del Rio and The NVC; the two missions Pierre had selected to support and we shared the proposals with each.

In Katmandu Nepal it was met with great enthusiasm and the money not only created the computer lab Pierre dreamed of but it also built classrooms in what had been previously an open building supporting five grade levels simultaneously. Now the children could hear their teachers as they visited far away places on their virtual magic carpets.

In Bogota Colombia, in spite of the language barrier, we also managed to get our message across and after many months of planning and securing the building from thieves The Women of the River built a computer lab in the poorest of all Colombian neighborhoods.

Here also the money did more than introduce the beauty of the world wide web. It also provided months of food, clothing, books and materials that were desperately needed by the community.Pierre an I spoke often about how basic needs always take precedence when mothers are managing the support.

Without planning it, Pierre accomplished far more than he had ever imagined.

There were challenges of course. In Nepal power is often out more than up an running. In Bogota there are only a few trained adults capable of teaching the children how best to leverage their new experience. Pierre also provided both missions with access to free software tools to enhance the children’s learning experience. Even though they are in English the tools are still being used and now volunteers are teaching the children a new language.

In spite of these imperfections the transformations have taken place. What stands out is that both projects are shining examples of what one person can achieve when 100% of their philanthropy is delivered to the mission of their choice and when they participate in theĀ  determination of exactly where and how their gift is applied. When that happens progress and transformation are guaranteed.

Maybe you are another Pierre who has a philanthropic dream and are looking for a foundation that can make it come true.

Tell us about it and we’ll do our part…..!


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