Five Years Ago Today…

In 2010, I was fortunate enough to spend the holiday season in Kathmandu, Nepal to work with the Unatti Foundation which provides education and housing for eighteen girls from diverse impoverished backgrounds. The bulk of time was spent in Bhaktapur, an ancient town in the east corner of Kathmandu Valley, and a few days were consumed with a side trip to Baglung with cellist Lynn Harrell for additional charity work.

2015 was a difficult year in Nepal due to a series of earthquakes, the worst in 80 years, and thankfully, none of the Unatti girls were harmed and due to a flood of generosity, the foundation was able to serve as a conduit for directing aid to those needing it most without the worry of red tape or excessive overhead keeping funds from those who needed it.

People Magazine published a lovely article by Erin Hill on 4/28/2015 about Unatti’s efforts and many readers donated directly to the foundation following an article here asking for your help. I’d like to encourage everyone to consider donating again as part of your year-end charitable giving.

Donate To The Unatti Foundation

The foundation distributed the following newsletter recently featuring the heartwarming success story of 20 year-old Sangita, an Unatti Girl for 14 years who is now an educated nurse and embarking on a life of being a productive member of her birth village. I’ve met Sangita and know that she is a wonderfully bright and consistently positive young woman and it is such a treat to see her life progress in such a positive direction.

A Message from Sangita

My name is Sangita. I am 20 years old and I spent the last fourteen years of my childhood at The Unatti Group Home for Girls, Nepal.

Next week, I’m Moving out.

Today I am a young Nepal woman with an education in nursing, I will be moving near to the village where I was born, and living with my brother and his wife. Uncle (Ramesh Pradhananga- Executive Directer of Unatti, Nepal) is helping my find a job as a nurse at a local hospital. I opened my first bank account, purchased my first cell phone, and in two weeks, my new life will begin.


I don’t remember it all but when I was four years old I left my mother, grandmother and my little brother to work for a family 2 hours away from my village. I washed dishes, looked after a baby and spent all my nights hungry and cold, sleeping on the damp kitchen floor. I got sick with pneumonia and that family didn’t want me to stay. I had no idea what my future would be when my mother sent me to The Unatti Group Home for Girls. I was six years old.

At The Unatti Group Home for Girls they gave me a bed, and a blanket and a pillow, I never had that before. Unatti gave me shoes and a warm jacket, I never had that before. Unatti gave me sisters, aunties, uncles and a chance to go to school, I never had that before. Unatti gave me a home to grow up in and a bright future, I never had that before.

It is all because of Unatti Foundation, Stephanie mother and all of you. A girl born to a poor family in a rural village in Nepal with no hope for a future, a child laborer, and now an educated nurse. Anything and everything is possible.


Soon when I have my salary from nursing I will give to Unatti Foundation every month and help my 19 sisters go to college, and I hope you will too.

Please help giving my Unatti sisters all the opportunities you all gave me. Give them hope and give them education…please give.


Meeting the Unatti girls for the first time.
Sangita, c. 2010 (to my right, wearing glasses) along with her fellow Unatti Girls.
Donate To The Unatti Foundation

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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