IWEN Canada is governed by a volunteer board of Directors
(Kelowna, BC, Canada)
Kevin Edgecombe – President
Ann Haymond Hill – Vice President
Sylvie Forget – Treasurer/Secretary, Director of Donor Engagement
Amanda Schaurte - Scarf Director
Francine Walker - Director of Product Design
Heather Oishi - Director at Large
Chloe Edgecombe - Director at Large
Michelle Bonneau – Founder
Leslie Lawrence - Unako Scarves
Kate Phelps & Tamara McLellan, Co-Executive Directors
Karen Hughes, Finance and Administration Officer
Jen Morin, Donor Administration
NEPAL STAFF (click here to view bios)
Dinesh Raj Sapkota – Creating Possibilities, Country Directory
Nura Basnet – Creating Possibilities, Administration and Finance Officer
Sarita Chaudhary – Creating Possibilities, Mothers' Group Coordinator
Deepa Chaudhary – Creating Possibilities, Student Coordinator
In addition to the above, IWEN is honoured to have a fantastic team of volunteers!
-- Team Profiles --
Kevin Edgecombe, President
Kevin’s passion for IWEN started during a visit to Nepal in 2009 where he and his wife Linda travelled to Kathmandu and the Dang region where they met many of our sponsored girls and mothers. This was the first of 5 trips in recent years where Kevin has led volunteer groups on various build projects such as Classrooms for a Cause, Unako House and also Earthquake Relief. Kevin’s focus with the charity has been one of profile development, awareness and fundraising.
Kevin is passionate about Nepal and its people and has made many friends in the country, he is always looking forward to his next return trip to this beautiful place.
Kevin is Owner and President of Edgecombe Builders Group in Kelowna BC and is also on the Board of UDI Okanagan.
Ann Haymond Hill, Vice President
Once Ann retired from the School District as a specialty teacher, critical incidence coordinator and counsellor, there was a stronger urge to volunteer whatever skills she has that would benefit the girls and women of Nepal as well as those here in our local area.
As a member of an IWEN trip to Nepal in 2013 to help with the build of a school completion and the foundation of Unako House gave a wonderful personal introduction to the culture and the people of Nepal. However, a request to teach English and assist with IWEN/CP work in January 2016 was a true introduction to the daily lives and needs of the people in IWEN/CP domain. Ann saw firsthand the successes and positive differences IWEN’s/CP’s programs make.
Ann believes that with many hands, willing minds and cooperative energy of volunteers and funders IWEN can continue to reach those through the various programs of IWEN/CP. She is happy to be a small part of that group in whatever way I can helping women and girls in Kelowna, in Nepal and beyond.
Sylvie Forget, Treasurer/Secretary, DIRECTOR OF DONOR ENGAGEMENT
Sylvie has been teaching at the francophone school in Kelowna for 8 years. She is currently on maternity leave taking care of her little girl. Originally from Ontario, she loves the outdoors, travelling and being active. While on a backpacking trip around the world in 2012, she got involved with IWEN when she visited Nepal. After doing a trek to Base Camp of Mount Everest, Sylvie volunteered two weeks in the IWEN office in Kathmandu. She learned a lot about the work IWEN does there and the condition of the Tharu people in Dang. She fell in love with the people, the country and the culture. She felt like she had unfinished business in Nepal since she hadn’t had a chance to visit Dang and vowed to visit again. She was fortunate enough to go back and do a classroom build and the start of Unako House in 2013, bringing with her six grade 12 students.
To Sylvie, IWEN is a chance to give back to people that taught her what being generous, grateful and compassionate is. She believes that everyone should have a chance to be educated and be treated as an equal. Being part of the IWEN Board of Directors gives her a chance to make a difference and stay in touch with these wonderful people who share similar values, both in Canada and in Nepal.
Amanda Schaurte, Scarf Director
Amanda is new to the board of IWEN this year. She was born and raised in Kelowna and has been fortunate enough to have travelled a variety of countries as well as have lived for stints in China and in Germany. Currently she am attending the University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus) and Majoring in International Relations. Amanda has a passion for human rights, social justice, women's issues, sustainability, language, culture, and anything that is the colour green! Her hope is to continue on in the humanitarian field once she graduates. Amanda is thrilled to be taking a larger role with IWEN and look forward to connecting more with our community and that of our sister communities in Nepal!
Heather Oishi, Director at Large
Heather Oishi has worked in various schools in the Central Okanagan for the past seventeen years and has volunteered all of her adult life. She has served the community with Big Sisters, several school PACs, Girl Guides of Canada and the YMCA. She decided to go beyond local borders because she has seen that the education available to young women in Nepal is in stark contrast to what our children get here in Canada. Heather believes that access to education is the key to empowerment and with the knowledge they gain, the students in IWEN’s programs will improve their lives and those of their families.
Francine Walker, Director of Product Design
Francine Walker is an artisan Goldsmith and jewellery designer who lives in Kelowna, British Columbia. Her and her husband have been returning to Nepal ever since their first volunteer teaching trip in 2001, and they have maintained close ties ever since.
Francine joined the IWEN Board of Directors in 2016.
Chloe Edgecombe, Director at Large
Kate Phelps, Co-Executive Director
Kate’s passion for international development began in high school when she and some friends founded a youth organization to protect children in Canada from sexual exploitation. Together they raised awareness and a petition with 55,000 signatures that was presented to parliament to encourage improved legislation. Kate went on to the United Nations to attend conferences to advocate for improved protection and rights for children.
That spark that was lit as a teenager, grew into the flame that has fueled Kate’s passion for supporting women and children in Canada and around the world. Kate began her professional career as a banker and office manager. She then leveraged her business knowledge to the development sector where she has worked and served worldwide in a number of capacities including as president of a women’s organization in Indonesia, Oman’s Country Director for the U.S. State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), media consultant for Fulbright Austria, and Vice-President for IWEN.
Kate graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Middle Eastern Studies & Arabic. She completed a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Illinois Chicago, and a diploma in Public Administration / International Development from the University of York.
Kate is the co-Executive Director of IWEN, where she works to generate grassroots solutions to empower women and girls in our own backyard in Canada, as well as in Nepal.
Tamara McLellan, Co-Executive Director
Tamara has been falling in love with causes and companies since 2005. And if you give her anytime at all, she'll tell you about "the moment her life changed" in Ottawa when she saw John Wood (author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World) speak at a conference. Since that moment she has traveled to and volunteered in Africa, India and Central America.
She spent the early years of her career learning about marketing, social media, and communications in a wide variety of businesses and became the Vice President of a small marketing agency at 23. After volunteering in the bankenvelds of Africa, a slum in India, and the fields of El Salvador, she realized a true passion for International Development. She holds a Business Management degree and most recently completed an International Development diploma through UBC. She also completed 300 hours of yoga and meditation training while on mat leave with her 1 year old son, Onyx.
A serial volunteer for the ten years, Tamara has found her permanent home at IWEN. She is the other co-Executive Director of this unique NGO, working everyday in Kelowna towards empowering sustainability and self reliance in women and children both locally in Canada and abroad in Nepal.
KAREN HUGHES, FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION OFFICER
JEN MORIN, DONOR ADMINISTRATOR
Jen has a passion for helping others and creating community. Her volunteer time has been spent helping and face painting at charity events, cat cuddling and dog walking at the humane society, organizing and coaching youth and adult sports in her community, and volunteering on her children's pre-school board. She was also one of the first to bring the UNAKO scarves to sell in Manitoba, where she lives. She works full time for a local business as the Marketing Manager, and is a mother to two young daughters, who have inspired her to be a more empowered and compassionate person. "It's important to me that my daughters feel like they can make a difference in this world, even at a young age, and they can do so by offering kindness and compassion to others. I'm grateful that I'm a part of IWEN and am constantly inspired by all that they do".
As the donor administrator, Jen aids in the technical side of donations and donor management.