Irvine, CA, May 1, 2015 – Sara Safari is a young woman who, inspired by the plight of lower caste girls in Nepal, decided to go beyond her limit and climb the world’s highest mountain to raise funds and awareness for these girls who are victims of human trafficking.
Safari moved to the United States with her family when she was 20 years old and continued studying electrical engineering at UCLA, graduating summa cum laude in 2009. While teaching at California State University Fullerton, she met Dr. Jeffrey Kottler, founder of the Empower Nepali Girls Foundation.
He started the organization in 2001 to identify, mentor, support, and educate primarily lower caste girls in Nepal. Many of these girls would otherwise have been forced into early marriage or sex slavery. They provide scholarships for 290 girls, 30 of whom are now attending college and university, the first girls in their villages to ever do so. Many are pursuing careers in medicine, engineering, business and education. ENG is a 100% volunteer organization and has no paid staff.
One of Sara’s passions is mountain climbing, which began as a new hobby with no prior experience and eventually became more serious as she trained to climb different mountains all over the world. As Sara learned about ENG and its activities, she began to realize how the Nepali girls’ circumstances inspired her, and she decided to combine her passion with a great cause.
Eventually, her motivation led to a decision to climb the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest (29,000 ft.), to raise money and awareness regarding human trafficking. She trained every day for the last two years and last week was in Nepal to tackle Mt. Everest to raise funds for Empower Nepali Girls but unfortunately could not make the climb due to the catastrophic earthquake. Currently Safari is a professor of Electrical Engineering at California State University in Fullerton and Southern California Institute of Technology.