The Pika Foundation
Founder and Director: Jennifer Vasta
Bhutan Country Manager: Sonam Wangdi
The Pika Foundation was established after its Founder, Jennifer Vasta, visited Bhutan and was struck by the extreme beauty of the country and kindness of its people. While the dedication of the government and His Majesty the King to improving the lives of the people was clear, it was also clear that many children did not have the opportunity to get an education. After visiting a local public school and being impressed by the rigorous curriculum, which includes instruction in both English and Dzongka, the idea of starting a foundation to help children get access to that education was born. Parallel volunteer work in Laos was then brought under the Pika Foundation umbrella.
Jennifer makes regular trips to Bhutan and Laos to meet with the students, their families, and school staff and to personally purchase and distribute the supplies. The work in Bhutan would not be possible without the invaluable support and assistance of local volunteers, including teachers and school administrators. They help to identify the neediest children and they provide regular updates on the children's academic progress. They also alert us to any problems or needs that require our attention. Currently, the project in Laos is carried out without the assistance of local staff. Jennifer visits the students there each year, providing English conversation practice while ensuring that the students have what they need for their studies. Our work in Laos has expanded with the completion of our new dormitory and the planned addition of an English language school; as a result Jennifer intends to spend additional time in Luang Prabang to oversee the projects and identify local volunteer staff.
With such close control and personal involvement, we can account for every dollar distributed. And since all of the foundation staff work on a volunteer basis, our overhead is very low. Our philosophy is to increase the impact of every donation to the foundation by eliminating administrative layers and getting the much needed assistance directly to the children.