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Women Helping Women and Children in Nepal…
Therefore the World

By Donna LeClair

Life can be a crippling crutch hindered by obstacles riddled upon a path laden in quicksand or from the motorcycle, Rosalind Russell whips through the streets in Nepal – one wild incredible journey. The founding president of the grass root foundation R Star Foundation, Rosalind sees the day as an opportunity to recreate avenues of reality and believes, “When there is a woman with a will, there is a way!”

Rosalind spent her early years toddling with crutches as a result of a crippling childhood disease, but comfortably in her living room, she declares,” I never used my crutches as a crutch. I never fought with reality – I just did it.” After homeschooling, she attended seminary and received a Masters in Interfaith. It was not until twenty-five years ago, after her privileged marriage of many years folded, that she dared to run shotgun with visions hazy in transparency.

In 1988 while visiting India, she fortuitously ricocheted over to Kathmandu and ended up being adopted by a Nepali boy named Rabin (pronounced Robin). In 1991, she started R Star Foundation, a pro bono prison ministry for local and national inmates and their families. Thanks to years of interactions with inmates, upon their release, they beat the national statistic and never return. However, she later discovered, fearful beings turn holograms of minds into prisons that sometimes life and error discover in the farthest of places.

In 1993, she refinanced her home and headed to the Kavre district of northern Nepal, where she found herself immersed into the reality of her visions.

The crossroads of Nepal are plagued by quicksand of poverty, trafficking, and terrorism. Rosalind infringed upon a 5,000 year old tradition and challenged the villager’s crippled minds, cautious boundaries and archaic beliefs for she feared not change, but the hindering there-of. In a country where the illiteracy rate is 49%, she succeeded, in collaboration with Nepali Rotary Club of Paton, in empowering women through literacy programs, expanding their vision beyond the spectrum of their current lens and the holograms of their own fearful minds. She became the pulse behind their strive, elevating lives in a impoverished, war-torn area.

Rosalind micro-finances groups of women with a cap of 15% for each loan. The dues thereafter remain within the group with a small stipend allocated to the treasurer who maintains the  ‘bank’ for the women. After a three year period, the remaining dues are used to pay for books, pens and much sought after teeth care, Her path became crystalline in clarity, and the climb worthy the obstacles hindered by that which once was and that which shall never be again.

Why she thought of gifting Nepali villagers with goats she still has yet to figure, but thanks to donations from Laguna Beach locals and the collaboration of the Nepali government, she gifted 200 goats (fifty female goats and one male breeder)to groups of twenty-five  Nepali  women, with the stipulation that they ‘Pay it Forward’ within a two year period gifting women in another village with two pregnant goats equal to what they had been given or better. The act was the grass root of R Star Foundation subsidiary “Women Helping Women & Children … therefore the World,” and  warranted Rosalind the honor of being christened the Goat Lady.

In an area where no school existed, Rosalind built one for 200 children who are privileged education without the perils of being attacked by tigers, vipers, weather or two legged predators stalking heinous activities. In 2008, she built and opened  TOW-Nepal (Top of the World-Nepal).In addition to traditional Nepali studies, the school teaches peace for 20 minutes a day with programs created by Rosalind and expanded by an intern from SOKA University. Student created peace flags are sent to Nepal by American students who learn of their work by Rosalind’s presentations; in return, their TOW-N students create peace flags and Rosalind bestows them upon American students.

The villagers and other government schools are now joining in their peace efforts. Daily for ten minutes, students teach and show peace in government schools, which adds to their reach to peace in a long-standing warring area. With Rosalind’s presence and influence, the villagers have watched the ceasing of trafficking and terrorism as they were lifted from their 5,000 years of poverty.

Rosalind did not just shepherd  goats, she shepherded the women and children of Nepal into pastures green beyond the spectrum of their lens. She shepherded freedom – the vision of a future where peace need not be taught, but freely flow through the land the goats now roam. In a country where she speaks not the language, women and children have learned to identity power. Her villages have grown to 33, with over 14,000 goats emanating from her program. Because of her vision, there are 22 groups of women in literacy classes, with 10% of the 2,000 graduates becoming teachers.

Last time Rosalind visited Nepal, she was honored with the ‘International Award’ for working with single women of all CASTES.(Those cast aside, dismissed, forgotten and ignored – the untouchables!) Many ladies traveled for hours to attend the ceremony so they also could freely run with visions now crystalline in clarity – a vision that blessed many with the gift of voice in a country where a single lady has none. In a country where men are allowed the privilege of touch, but  women are not, the forgotten, dismissed, ignored, and untouchable struggle with their archaic beliefs of touch, then slowly open their cautious boundaries, and tenderly melt in the sweeping arms and vision of Rosalind Russell.

March 21st of 2010, I had the privilege of meeting two of Rosalind’s children from Nepal – Santosh and Sima. As she excites about broadening her work, I witness a futurist path being laid if the wheels of her motorcycle ever cools. Glasses are toasted and promise sworn – heads are lowered in thanks, held high in respect. A vision grass rooted  in 1988 is now encircled by the sanguinity of fundraisers, corporate sponsorship and grants to fund wells yet to be dug, gardens yet  to be planted, and art yet to be taught while shepherding crippled minds that have yet to kick the crutches out from under the plague of poverty, terrorism and trafficking. A light that needs to shine – no, has to shine –  Rosalind shall not let die. She cannot let die. For it is, Rosalind knows, the light of the future.

The luxury of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are often confined by the crutches of our own crippled minds, cautious boundaries, and archaic beliefs. It is up to us, as proven by the inspirational story of Rosalind Russell, to choose a path riddled not with quicksand, but a future ventured with courage, belief, and vision beyond oneself. Only with that vision can one truly grasp one woman, one child, or one goat can empower a peace beyond the spectrum of current lens and birth enlightenment for a species carefully woven as ONE. An enlightenment  respectively honored by the vision  of lady named Rosalind Russell who, once  upon  a youth, had the willingness to dare to dream beyond the crutches of life.