Bimala Shrestha Pokharel
"We all have a driving force that motivates us, pushing us forward. For Bimala Shrestha Pokharel, that force was running. Passionate for the speed and freedom, Bimala followed in the footsteps of her father, who was one of the fastest runners in the Biritish-Gurkha military. As a teen she would wake early and rouse and motivate the other children to run on the military bases she grew up on. This passion carried her all the way to her college experience here in the United States. But when she developed severe knee pain, it seemed she might have to forgo her love of running. Doctors told her she had water under her knee and could no longer race; Bimala was devastated. It took five years to build her confidence in running back up and eventually led her to the Chicago Marathon on behalf of Calvin College. With hard work and determination Bimala continues to run to this day sharing her passion for the clarity running provides.
But running is not the only driving passion in Bimala’s life. Bimala met her husband, also from Nepal, here in the United States and together the two of them set out to help those in their native land that society had forgotten. [Higher_Ground_Cafe] In addition to being a pastors wife, and loving mother of two children, Bimala’s heart longed to serve the at risk women and children of Nepal. Thus, Higher Ground was born. Bimala seeks to employ women who have no other options of support for their families and would be very vulnerable to the trafficking problem that plagues Nepal. Higher Ground started as a small café, but rapidly grew to include beautiful hand decorated cakes and then lovely crafts and jewelry, made by these precious women. Now employing 17 women and 11 men, the café is a great success story of what love can do to heal. However, just like her love of running, Higher Ground is always striving to go further. Higher Ground addreses the complex issue of poverty and human trafficking through awareness, education, prevention, counseling, skill training and micro-enterprises.
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