Yesterday, our Women in Social Enterprise dinner joined three of my passions, food, social enterprise, and incredible people doing good. The idea began with a few women with social enterprises or plans to begin businesses, who met to create a supportive environment built on doing good, building connections, relationships and community.
Last night we met at Tara’s Himalayan Restaurant in Culver City. In addition to a variety of dishes, including delicious momos and a Nepalese thali with mouth watering korma in coconut milk, a percentage of profits benefit a school in Nepal.
Tara who shares the name of the female Buddha in Buddhism, shared her story of growing up in a mountain village in Nepal, her escape from a bad marriage and the start of her life in the USA. When she arrived in the states, she did not speak or read English which made it tough to find work. Over the years, through hard work and the kindness of others she worked her way up to eventually opening her restaurant in Culver City. Tara is a stellar woman running a business with outstanding food and customer service. Appreciating the importance of education through her own struggles, she wants the girls in her village to be educated, empowered and have access to opportunities which she did not. Students range from the age of 5-12 and of 72 kids 50 are girls. Many of these children come from farming families who would not have the opportunity to get an education. In the future, she wants to help single mothers with literacy as well.
Other attendees included:
Stacy McCoy, founder of Give to Get Jobs, a job board and information hub for jobs that use a sustainable business model to address social and/or environmental issues. A portion of the proceeds from each job posting is donated to fund job creation programs. The site also has an incredible database of social enterprises.
Kristeen Singh, creater of rHope which is about empowered purchasing. It is a social enterprise that builds sustainable livelihoods for underprivileged women in India by selling the beautiful products on this website.
Colleen Choi spent several months in India volunteering and working with artisans. She is also a jewelry designer and transforms sterling silver, gold, acrylic and wood into unique, one of a kind jewelry for the modern woman.
Amara Javed is a web and graphic designer whose projects involve graphic design for print, web design and development. She created my user friendly website rhope.org
Molly Drobnick is a graduate with a Master of Arts in Social Entrepreneurship and Change. She has a passion for social enterprise, environmental and animal rights. Currently she works as a Project Manager for The Energy Coalition. They design and implement energy blueprints that engage community in using accountable energy practices for shared benefit.
Shruti Garg grew up in Socal, but most recently spent 4 years in NY where she worked for the Open Society Foundations. Previously she worked for a women’s rights org in India. She currently is an independent consultant for foundations and nonprofits. Her areas of interests are immigration, workers' rights and human rights.
Karen Levanthal is the founder of SERising.com, a convenient marketplace for sourcing sustainable and socially responsible products and services. On her site, you'll find companies that offer high quality, environmentally friendly and ethical products, professional services, and raw materials--all of which can better your business, your life and your world. (though not at the dinner she was among that first group of women with whom we started the group).
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn about upcoming dinners.