Advisory GroupThe Shanti Foundation has an international advisory group that provides ongoing consultation, guidance, support, and site visits. Their expertise, knowledge, and commitment contribute to the Shanti Foundation’s success and services to those served.
The advisory group of the Shanti Foundation includes:
Susan Fowler-California, USA; Advisor, Program Resources and Development, for Direct Relief, an international disaster relief, and health assistance organization. Susan’s work with the organization started in 1987, following the completion of a Master’s degree in international health. Her Master’s thesis concentrated on the appropriateness of drug donations, a topic crucial to the impact of medical material assistance programs. For over 30 years, Susan has held a number of different positions at Direct Relief including In-kind Contributions Manager, Senior Program Officer for Asia, Tsunami Relief Coordinator, Director of Programs, and Interim Executive Director. In collaboration with other program staff members, Susan has helped to provide over $1 billion of medical goods and over $35 million in program grants to meritorious healthcare facilities and organizations around the world. Over 50 million people in more than 80 different countries have benefited from this critically needed assistance.
For over five years, Susan served as an officer on the board of the Friends of Tibetan Woman’s Association working to support the needs of Tibetan refugees living in settlements in India and Nepal. She also served as an officer and was instrumental in establishing, the non-profit organization Vitamin Angel Alliance which was created to supply nutritional supplements and nutrition education to people suffering from malnutrition or specific micronutrient deficiencies. In 2000, Susan was selected to participate in the Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange program and spent six weeks in Thailand researching the country’s national primary healthcare program. In 2003, Susan was a recipient of the DiwalibenMohanlal Mehta Award, a humanitarian award previously received by the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and Albert Schweitzer.
Chelo Alvarez-Stehle-California, USA; As a reporter, documentary filmmaker, and advocate, Chelo has spent over two decades denouncing sexual violence and trafficking through her creative and humanitarian work. Born in Spain, she worked in Japan in documentaries for NHK and became Tokyo’s and then Los Angeles’ correspondent for Spain’s El Mundo daily. In 1995, she moved to California and in 2002, Canal+ Spain turned her first reportage on child trafficking from Nepal to India into the documentary film Tin Girls for which Chelo was the interviewer and assistant director. She later co-founded the Masala Project, an income-generating spice factory and animal farm in Southern Nepal for survivors of sex trafficking and young women wishing to leave a life of prostitution. After creating short documentaries like Sold in America: A Modern-Day Tale of Sex-Slavery, Chelo created her first feature-length documentary, Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage. The film, which features Nepali trafficking survivor Charimaya (Anu) Tamang, currently a member of the Shanti Foundation advisory board, has received humanitarian, cultural, and journalism awards such as Best Documentary at the 59th Southern California Journalism Awards by the Los Angeles Press Club, and at film festivals from the U.S. to Spain, Portugal, Ecuador, and Brazil. In 2017, she was invited to present the film at the United Nations in New York and at the European Parliament.
Chelo first met Shanti Foundation president Shanti Lama Tamang when she interviewed her in 2002 for the documentary Tin Girls On her experience as a survivor of sex trafficking living with AIDS. Since then, Chelo has followed and supported Shanti’s trajectory and is proud to endorse Shanti’s extraordinary work on behalf of victims of sex trafficking and HIV-positive women.
Charimaya “Anu” Tamang-Nepal; Recipient of numerous awards among them the 2011 Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award presented to her by Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C., for being the first sex-trafficking survivor in Nepal to file a report against her traffickers; founder of Shakti Samuha an anti-trafficking survivor-run organization, which was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2013. When she was 16 years old Tamang was sold to a brothel in India and forced into prostitution. She spent 22 months in the brothel before the Indian government rescued her along with over 200 other Nepali women in 1996. Upon her return to Nepal, Tamang was ostracized by her community. Later in 2000, Tamang and 15 other survivors established Shakti Samuha, an anti-trafficking NGO.
Rita Dhungel-Alberta, Canada; Ph.D. in Social Work, University of Calgary (2017) with her dissertation topic focused on the reintegration of sex trafficking survivors in Nepal. Rita immigrated to Canada twelve years ago from Nepal. She has two Master's degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology from the Tribhuvan University in Nepal. Rita has been an instructor/facilitator at Columbia College in Calgary for three years and a sessional instructor and graduate research assistant at the Faculty of Social Work in Calgary and also taught at several post-secondary institutions in Nepal. She is the author of peer-reviewed publications, has current ones in progress, and has acted in research and consultative capacity throughout her career. Rita will be joining Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta as an Associate Professor in the summer of 2018.
Benu Maya Gurung-Kathmandu, Nepal; Executive Director, Alliance Against Trafficking Women and Children in Nepal (AATWIN)
Indra Raj Bhatta-Kathmandu, Nepal; Executive Director, KIN Nepal
Ashok Pandey-Kathmandu, Nepal; Research Officer, National Health Research Council
Ram Maya Lamichhane - Kathmandu, Nepal; Lawyer, Private Law Firm