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Northwestern State professor furthers Nepali girls' education cause in Natchitoches

Northwestern State University

A Northwestern State University psychology professor arrived in Nepal this week to distribute hundreds of scholarships to young girls. It guarantees they get an education in their village and decreases the likelihood that they’ll fall prey to human trafficking.

Patrice Moulton is a volunteer with the Empower Nepali Girls Foundation. She’ll trek the Annapurna Circuit of Nepal with yaks delivering backpacks to girls who show educational promise. The backpacks are their ticket to one year of school.

“Education is your survival. Education is your salvation in many ways to a different kind of life and some opportunities. It’s not the kind of opportunities necessarily we think of, but opportunities to move forward in your survival,” Moulton said, who first became involved with the California-based charity seven years ago.

The Foundation will hand out 230 backpacks in village ceremonies. Girls are sponsored from age 5 to 15 when they finish high school. Moulton says young girls line the dirt path singing songs and chanting “Namaste” as her group enters a village. She says there are not enough scholarships to go around.

“Many times their families will come with them. You’ll see a mother and children next to the walls of school that are waiting just in case there was something that could be done for them. It’s heartbreaking. I have to say, those are some of the children I think of the most that motivate me during the year to try to do more,” Moulton said.

Moulton estimates Natchitoches groups and NSU students raised a combined $25,000 for scholarships this year. Each $150 donation sponsors one girl’s education for a year.

The Empower Nepali Girls Foundation operates in remote regions of Nepal where children tend to be the most neglected and vulnerable.