On Thursday, November 2, Asheville School will welcome Karma Sherpa, executive director and co-founder of The Small World, a nonprofit organization that supports community development and girls' education in rural Nepal. The Small World works with Asheville School's service learning partner, Students Shoulder to Shoulder (SStS).
Sherpa will speak to the Asheville School community about locally-driven sustainable service at 7:15 p.m. in the Walker Arts Center's Graham Theater. His talk is free and open to the public.
Asheville School partners with SStS to provide high-quality service learning courses during summer months. SStS connects students to local nonprofits to provide hands-on community service experiences in communities across the globe. The Small World is one of the nonprofits that partners with SStS for service learning trips to Nepal.
The mission of the Small World is threefold. According to their website, they seek to empower Nepalese communities "through locally driven sustainable community development works that include improving living conditions and creating self-reliance." The Small World also works on "providing children, and most especially at-risk young girls, with an access to education." Finally, they seek to empower women by offering training that helps them achieve economic self-sufficiency and independence.
Two Asheville School Students, Grayson Sword and Jackson Xu, volunteered with Sherpa's organization through SStS in summer 2017. Both students are excited to have Sherpa address the Asheville School community.
Xu says that Sherpa is an expert in helping people develop the leadership skills needed to turn ideas into action. He says he looks forward to hearing Sherpa speak on striving towards a goal even in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
Sword says that she expects Sherpa's talk will inspire the audience. "[Sherpa] and the rest of The Small World's staff are some of the most inspiring, caring, and compassionate people I have ever met," she said. "He inspired me to take a course on ethical leadership offered by SStS this semester. I want to learn how to bring about positive change in my own community, and I look to [Sherpa] as a role model."
Asheville School teacher Seth Buddy organized the talk and hopes that students will see how service can create change in their communities. "I am excited that our students will be able to learn from a person who has dedicated his life to the work of making life better for girls in his country," Buddy said. "The work he and his wife do through their nonprofit is an inspiring example of the power of affecting significant societal change through seemingly small, local action."
Sherpa is pictured with his family during the summer 2017 SStS trip to Nepal. Photo by SStS student Shane Cole, provided by Grayson Sword.