How it began
Seth Wolpin, a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing, was teaching a study-abroad course ‘Health in a Developing Nation’. A significant part of the course was taking undergraduate students to the Annapurna Sanctuary to visit remote health outposts. The logistics of this would not have been possible without the help of Dorjee Sherpa who owns Himalayan WIndhorse Adventures, a trekking company. The two found many common interests including trying to help porters who are ubiquitous on trails in Nepal. Many are doing backbreaking jobs at high altitude to help their children attend school in Kathmandu.
Adventure is at the heart of WOV
After a successful Everest summit in 2011, and with the help of Dorjee, Seth started sponsoring five children of a porter who had helped with the class trip in 2010. The sponsorship was simple, $10 towards tuition for each child for each month, paid directly to the school with the parents pledging to keep their children in school.
With more adventures in mind, on December 19th, 2011, Wide Open Vistas was registered as a non-profit in Washington State (UBI 603166667). Five months later, in April 2012, Seth ran across the United States – covering 3,384 miles in 107 days and raising funds to help the original five children attend school in Kathmandu along with two more. The funds lasted for about two years and when it was on the edge of running out, Seth joined John Fiddler and Kathleen Egan for a 1,200 mile traverse across the Himalayas. They were able to raise over $4,000 in donations. After the traverse, a board was established, we gained recognition as a formal non-profit with 501(c)(3) status (EIN 46-4952663), and plans were put in place to support more children and build a set of evidence-based interventions to help them stay in school with a focus on girls.
Wide Open Vistas has since formalized our commitment to children in Nepal through an extensive educational plan and hiring people on the ground in Nepal to support our programs. As a small nonprofit with strong relationships in Nepal, we remain adaptable to the ways in which we can make an impact on poverty in Nepal.