As Mitch and Sonja Kraft embark on an exciting journey to Nepal to make a difference in the world, the True Dakotan applauds their dedication and selflessness as they help people find a fresh start and fulfilled life through ethical employment. As their adventure unfolds, True Dakotan readers will be able to stay up to date with the Krafts in a monthly column written by Sonja. As they prepare to set out to Nepal, Sonja shares her first column below.
Heading to Nepal
A small town girl moving to a big city halfway around the world.
That would describe me. I didn’t grow up in Wessington Springs like my husband, Mitch, but I did grow up in a small town in Wyoming. Now we are on our way to Kathmandu, Nepal, a city of about five million people, depending on how many suburbs you include. That will be quite the change from Wyoming and South Dakota. It’s going to be quite the adventure!
Mitch and I have been married for a little over three years and have spent most of that time living in South Dakota. We met at Black Hills State University and got married during Mitch’s senior year. Earlier this year we lived in Kathmandu for five months. We spent our time learning about the culture and helping with a business. We enjoyed what we did so much that we wanted to go back. We’ve spent the past few months preparing to return there. This time, we will be committing to two years.
We will be helping with the same business as before, an ethical garment manufacturer. They specialize in bags and women’s clothing, but they have made everything in between as well. The business is classified as ethical because they treat their employees fairly, give them a living wage and provide good work conditions. They focus on hiring people who are marginalized by society for a number of different reasons. This allows marginalized people to have fresh starts and fulfilled lives.
Our part in the business will be in the business and communications departments. Mitch has a degree in Business, so he will be assisting in the production and shipping areas of the business. I have a degree in Mass Communication, so I will be assisting with the communications department, along with writing a monthly column for the True Dakotan. As a part of the communications department I will get to help interview the employees to show how their lives have changed since having this job, take photos of the products that are made to help market them, write blogs for their website, and anything else related to communications.
We are both excited to be using our college degrees to help make a difference in the world. We are also excited to learn a new language and culture and be able to share glimpses of our experiences with all of you.