Some of the most rewarding aspects of travel, at least for me, are the opportunities to make new friends, learn how others live, and discover how peoples’ hopes, dreams, and desires compare and contrast with my own. I’ve come to the conclusion that we all want basically the same things from life: to be happy and healthy, to have our basic needs met, to feel safe and protected, and to have the opportunity to make the best possible lives for ourselves and our families. Everywhere I have been, from the windswept villages of the High Himalayas to the sweltering slums of Dharavi, people all want the same things.

The path to prosperity for many young women in the developing world is often long and filled with challenges. One of the biggest problems they face in their quest to continue their education and enter the workforce in a more advantageous position is the relative lack of student loans. In many cases, once a young woman finishes her regular schooling, the funds simply aren’t available for her to pursue higher education or specialized training. Student loans in a place such as Nepal are extremely rare.

Providing educational loans to young women in the developing world is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. I have seen firsthand the impact this support can have on whole communities. A student loan empowers the recipient and the entire community in which she lives and with whom she shares her talents and expertise.

Kiva is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that issues microloans to entrepreneurs and students in the developing world in order to “connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” Kiva loans have a 99 percent repayment rate. When you purchase a copy of Jaya Nepal! through the Martin David Hughes website, a portion of the proceeds fund educational loans to young women in the developing world. You can also join the Jaya Nepal! Kiva Lending Team to help continue improving access to education for young women in developing countries around the world.

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