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Providing hope through education

 

Our Mission

Sunsar Maya provides educational opportunities to better the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Nepal.

We believe in the power of education to improve lives, but we also recognize that education systems in developing countries do not often meet the needs of growing children with active minds and bodies. Traditional education often focuses on rote, repetitive learning, and does not give children a chance to make discoveries, ask questions, or embrace their own natural creativity—essential tools for learning how to think, reason, and find the joy in learning. 

Our goal is to provide children with a safe and caring environment that will provide them with the emotional, physical and academic support they need to grow out of their circumstances and be successful in life. Our hope is to expand our program to reach children around the world. 

Our Approach

SuMa's founders have spent time living and working with orphans in Nepal and recognized the need for the children to have more than just a a day at school. What these children were craving was interaction. Someone to play with them, to talk to them, and to give them love and encouragement. Much research has been done on the effects of institutionalized care and how debilitating it can be both for children’s physical growth and their mental health. Recognizing this need, we came back to what children in the best circumstances have access to and what helped them succeed and grow. 

We started with early childhood education, because it is the foundation for future learning, and because it was the first place children are truly encouraged to play freely, to explore and question, and to inhabit their joy. Many children in orphanages may be past this age biologically, but developmentally have never been given the chance to explore through art and music and play and so may be developmentally or emotionally delayed. We created a curriculum rich in sensory play and social-emotional learning, two areas that institutional care does not provide but that are critical to our ability to process the world around us and to develop empathy and connection with others.

We found a partner in Golestan Center for Learning and Collaboration in Berkeley, California, an innovative language immersion preschool and after-school program that combines the philosophies of Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio-Emilia. The Golestan Colab, which works with educators to help set up ideal learning environments, sent educators with more than 20 years experience working with children to Nepal to train our staff in the curriculum and early childhood development, and help us set up the after school program. The Colab continues to advise us on the program and provide ongoing training for our staff in Nepal. We couldn’t be more excited about this program and the difference it’s made in the lives of our kids. 

 

Advisory Board

Maryam Atai
ASP Trainer

Santiago Diab
Co-Founder

Lisa Endo
Development

Gena Engelfried
Educator

Cindy Gonzalez
Financial Advisor

Yalda Modabber
Educator/ASP Trainer

 

Volunteers

As an emerging non-profit, we are indebted to the generosity and hard-work of volunteers to help us provide educational opportunities to children abroad. If you are interested in working with Sunsar Maya, please contact us.

Saeideh Akbari
ASP Trainer

Tane Burke
Logo Design

Bjorn Commers
Google Consultant

Diego Gimenez
Web Design

 

Yamen Kalaji
Web Developer

Barbara LaBissoniere
Accounting

Aakriti Maharjan
Intern

 

Jessica Oyarbide
Web Consultant

Rachel Prince
Content Editor

Kristin Snell
Video Editor

Shane Studebaker
Corporate Sponsorship