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Board : Sulochana Shrestha-Shah

Sulochana Shrestha-Shah - President

"From my very childhood I saw differences between different families in Nepal, and I realized that illiteracy is the worst thing that can happen to one in today's world. It makes one helpless and naive about one's opportunities. To me, it seems like a handicap which makes people follow blindly, and they are not able to stand up for their own rights. This is what I call Mental Slavery. Hoste Hainse, therefore, is a foundation to minimize illiteracy within the Nepalese society and eradicate mental slavery."

Hoste Hainse board's President and the Founder of Hoste Hainse, Sulochana Shrestha-Shah who was born in 1948, established Hoste Hainse in 1990. Without failing to lose her objective which was to do something good and make the future of Nepal's underprivileged children better she brought various companies, organizations and programs into being. After she completed her Master's in Mathematics at RWTH University in Aachen, Germany, this energetic woman returned to Nepal in 1985 to take on a job at the Royal Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (RONAST) where she got in touch with charity programs in Nepal for the first time. Once she got involved in this sector via the Child Welfare Council, Nepal, she could not stop herself from doing more.

She then realized in no time that the vague field which she was involved in at RONAST was not what she wanted to do and found her calling at the onset of the collapse of the hand-knotted rug industry in Nepal in the late 80's, the breakdown due to child labor in carpet production exposed on German television. Since she was educated in Germany, Sulo was determined to do something about it to help Nepal and thought "it does not have to be this way" and founded Formation Carpets, fueled by a focus on welfare of the employees and their children as well as conservation of the environment. Woman-empowerment with a 100% woman workforce started out being the first milestone of Formation Carpets along with a daycare and coaching/tuition classes for the children of the employees. Hoste Hainse was registered a week before Formation Carpets for the sole purpose of carrying out these social activities of Formation Carpets.

In parallel, Sulochana Shrestha-Shah was at the forefront of battling child labor issues in Nepal, hand-in-hand with 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Kailash Satyarthi, which led to the establishment of Goodweave (then known as Rugmark) in 1995. Goodweave is dedicated to ending illegal child labour primarily in the hand-knotted rug manufacturing industry, via a certification program that allows companies like Formation Carpets that pass inspection to attach a logo certifying that their product is made without child labor. More importantly, Goodweave rescues children forced into child labor and has facilities for rehabilitation, which includes education and reunification with parents.

By 1997, Sulochana Shrestha-Shah was awarded the Advocates for Human Rights Award [cached] for her continuous spearheading of social issues from the business sector, her work at both Formation Carpets as well as Hoste Hainse, pushing her motto "Business with Ethics." The Human Rights Award yielded in multiple synergies with like-minded individuals and organizations, and launched the Hoste Hainse Schools across rural Nepal.

Hence, Sulo describes her relationship towards Hoste Hainse as very intimate as well as intense. She describes Hoste Hainse as her "baby" for which she always tries to give everything and make everything possible to fulfill its purpose, i.e., to provide education to underprivileged children across Nepal. She trusts and believes in Hoste Hainse and sees herself as a real promoter who is serious about all projects and she wants to keep on having a team where everyone is true to themselves.

For Sulo, it is important that Hoste Hainse sticks to its words sincerely with respect to projects, to its donors, who believe in Hoste Hainse and for whose (long-term) support she is grateful. Hoste Hainse seems to be on the same wavelength with its likeminded and honest donors as well as board members. Many friendships have evolved out of cooperative programs, which makes her happy. She believes in the change that Hoste Hainse can bring to childrens' lives across Nepal.

Especially as a founder, she wants Hoste Hainse to improve and succeed as much as possible. She would like Hoste Hainse to do even more than being active only in the field of education. Sustainable development needs self-sustainable schools and communities - what can only be reached by establishing more and more income generation programs in the communities in which Hoste Hainse is already active in. Moreover, she imagines Hoste Hainse getting active in making the population aware of family planning because one of the main reasons for poverty in Nepal is because of uncontrolled population growth. If this was minimized, a milestone in Nepal's development progress can be reached. Sulo's dream of a better world is as simple as tough at the same time: to literate all people in the world with the system of income generation and education programs running smoothly hand in hand. She would like to educate even more children by spending the Hoste Hainse budget more efficiently to reach sustainable development goals. Even though she is aware that these tasks are tough she believes in the possibilities which are there and which need to be taken on.

In Sulo's eyes, Nepal's next generation has the potential to move it towards economic progress and development while entrepreneurship needs to be promoted more intensively. For this, the basics of a good education need to be fulfilled, which is where we come back to Hoste Hainse's main objective. But even if one has a vision and becomes active, the real initiative has to come from Nepal's leaders.

   


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