Little Sisters Fund, Inc.

Empowering Nepalese girls through education, mentoring and community support

aka LSF   |   Hailey, ID   |  www.littlesistersfund.org

Mission

LSF aims to contribute to the development of a more equitable, just, and prosperous world where all children can claim their right to education and marginalization does not occur on the basis of gender. Little Sisters Fund fights injustice and poverty by educating girls and empowering them to become leaders in their communities. By providing long-term scholarships to economically disadvantaged girls, LSF effectively protects at-risk girls in Nepal from the dangers of children sex trafficking, child marriage and child labor.

Ruling year info

2007

Co-Founder & Executive Director USA

Trevor Patzer

Little Sisters Fund Co-Founder & Executive Director, Education For Empowerment Program, Nepal

Usha Acharya

Main address

PO Box 909

Hailey, ID 83333 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-5581665

NTEE code info

International Relief (Q33)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In Nepal, the education of girls is often seen as less valuable than the education of boys. When a family is experiencing economic hardship, the daughter is the first to be removed from school, saving the family the cost of tuition and supplies, while allowing other children—mainly sons—to remain in school and become educated. This disparity unjustly discriminates against girls, and often puts them at a high risk for child marriage, child labor and trafficking for the sex trade. Nepal has the third-highest rate of child marriage in Asia. 37 percent of girls in Nepal marry before they turn 18. The risks of child marriage are especially prevalent for girls who are not in school. In rural areas, more than 70 percent of girls have dropped out of school by age 16. Nepal is also the largest per capita offender of the trafficking of girls annually with 15,000-20,000 girls trafficked every year in the sex trade. Education and opportunity can prevent these injustices.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Individual Sponsorship Program

Our original scholarship program was launched in 1998 with a single scholarship for one Nepali girl. Today, more than 150 sponsors are committed to the full education through 12th grade of almost 200 Little Sisters. The Individual Sponsorship Program supports girls attending schools in Kathmandu and the surrounding area. These girls develop a one-to-one relationship with their sponsor through letter writing 5-6 times per year.

Population(s) Served
Adolescent girls
Young girls
Preteen girls
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

This program supports scholarships for girls attending schools in rural areas outside the Kathmandu Valley. In 2019, LSF supported over 1,600 at-risk girls enrolled in 95 partner schools in 21 districts in Nepal.

Population(s) Served
Adolescent girls
Young girls
Preteen girls
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Poverty and injustice are multidimensional. For this reason, LSF’s solutions are also multidimensional. Our approach is centered around scholarship programs which increase access to education, while our ten supporting programs address the additional barriers to girls’ achievement and women’s empowerment in Nepal. Our support programs include:
- Mentoring
- Counseling and Awareness Raising
- Preventative and Emergency Healthcare
- Basic Educator Training
- Girl-led Community Projects
- Menstrual Health Management
- Higher Education Opportunity Fund
- Alumni Development Program
- Mobile Libraries
-Little Daughters Savings Fund

Population(s) Served
Adolescent girls
Young girls
Young women
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of children who have access to education

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescent girls, Young girls, Preteen girls, At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of youth-led community service projects

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Girls, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Support Programs

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of teachers trained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Teachers

Related Program

Support Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Courageous girls in Nepal fight daily for education, freedom and respect. Little Sisters Fund aims to join them in this fight. Our programs take a holistic approach with gender equality, education, and women’s empowerment at the center. We strive to 1) break the cycle of poverty in Nepal through access to education; 2) lower the incidence of child marriage, child labor, and child trafficking in Nepal; and 3) increase women’s empowerment and gender equity in Nepal.

Removing the barriers to education is our number one priority and the first step to addressing so many of the injustices girls and women in Nepal face, including child marriage, child labor, and child trafficking. Through the provision of long-term scholarships and continued support through college, we improve the lives of at-risk girls who would otherwise not attend school. An education is the first step toward an empowered future for a young girl. Once she is safe and in school, we provide the necessary support to ensure she can thrive through the end of school and beyond, as she grows into an empowered young woman ready to live her life to its full potential.

In addition to long-term scholarships, we provide comprehensive support that is critical to ensuring that girls not only have access to school, but also thrive there and position themselves for future success. This includes:
• Mentoring provided by young female leaders, often graduates of our program, who have overcome similar challenges on their paths out of poverty;
• Community awareness raising to build a more supportive society;
• Basic health education and preventative healthcare;
• Girl-led community development projects;
• Teacher training to elevate the overall quality of education offered in Nepal;
• Access to financial assistance for college (higher education) to empower Little Sisters to attain a higher degree than previously possible.

LSF’s long-term commitment sets us apart from other programs and ensures that we are not merely delaying early marriage and exploitation for a year or two, but instead are empowering girls and young women to make their own choices and thus, breaking the cycle of poverty and oppression in Nepal one girl at a time.

The heart of our organization is our 11-member, native Nepali staff working on the ground in Nepal. Led by Usha Acharya, a former Senior Program Officer for the Save the Children (UK) and a published author on topics including primary education in Nepal and trafficking and child labor in Nepal, our dedicated team consists of former social workers, teachers, finance and healthcare professionals. They have an average tenure of more than 13 years with Little Sisters Fund; this experience and commitment helps us to run our programs efficiently and effectively.

The staff is assisted by 25-30 volunteer Coordinating mentors (CMs), mostly graduated Little Sisters, who now oversee and coordinate the education of groups of 20-50 younger Little Sisters. Little Sisters Fund’s Coordinating Mentors have always been one of the most important parts of the Little Sisters Program. By offering support, advice, and encouragement they help current Little Sisters broaden their horizons and see the benefits of working hard and persevering in their studies. Because many Coordinating Mentors have travelled a similar path as they have struggled through poverty and adversity, they can meet Little Sisters where they are and offer a concrete example of the life-altering effects of a quality education.

LSF also relies on our partnerships with over 90 partner schools in 21 districts of Nepal. These schools support us financially through reduced tuition while serving as advocates for girls’ education in the community and recommending girls who might need assistance. When a school has a need outside of our scope, we recommend other NGOs, for example Teach for Nepal for teachers or Room to Read for libraries. Thus, the community school is the locus for coordination.

In addition we have partnered with other NGOs, such as the grassroots Nepal Women’s Community Service Centre in Dang. We are currently exploring partnerships with the Center for Reproductive Rights and Women LEAD. We have a strong relationship with the Social Welfare Council, the governing body of NGOs in Nepal.

LSF has been able to ensure over 2,000 current Little Sisters and more than 600 graduated Little Sisters have the opportunities to realize their dreams and reach their full potential. The academic achievement of the Little Sisters ins outstanding. Not only are they performing well on standardized test in Nepal, they are also excelling in their pursuit of higher education. We now have Little Sisters pursuing degrees in medicine, dentistry, education, engineering, auditing, MBAs, law and much more.

Impact Statistics:
- Over 98% of Little Sisters graduate from high school compared to 25% of their peers nationally.
- Over 99% of Little Sisters passed the School Education Exam with 3x the national average of top performers.
- Over 70% of graduated Little Sisters have pursued a tertiary degree.
- LSF estimates Little Sisters earn between 2-10x more than their peers over a lifetime.
- Little Sisters delay marriage by over 5 years on average compared to their peers.

LSF has made a long-term commitment to the educational support of each Little Sister as they progress from primary school through secondary and tertiary education. Therefore, the true impact of the program will be realized over the coming years and decades as the current Little Sisters mature into strong, empowered women with high school degrees, pursuing higher education, and achieving their professional and personal goals as adults.

Little Sisters Fund plans to continue our commitment to social justice and gender equity through providing Little Sisters with the support they need to complete their education, improve their communities and schools through community projects, raise awareness of women’s and girls’ issues within Nepali society, and become role models who are willing to challenge traditions and stereotypes to improve themselves, their families and their communities.

Financials

Little Sisters Fund, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Little Sisters Fund, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 9/15/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Lisa Caputo

Saudamini Siegrist

Former Senior Advisor for Child Protection in Emergencies, UNICEF

Jim Belles

Former Managing Director for KPMG Economic and Valuation Services

Kelly Beeland

Trevor Patzer

Executive Director USA, Little Sisters Fund

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/11/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Nepali
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data