Who We Are
The founding members of the organization are passionate about education for children around the globe as it’s the greatest equalizer. They share a common belief of giving back. The members were individually contributing to the same cause which eventually brought them together when Nepal was hit with a massive earthquake in April 2015.
The immediate goal was to engage the children and get them out of shock. The success of fundraising events, individual contributions and community efforts helped us build a school. This allowed children to go back to school in the earthquake affected area.
It also inspired the founding members to formalize the group and register as a nonprofit, Education Advancement Initiative (EAI), to create a greater social impact.
The members of the organization all understand the value of investing in education because they have firsthand seen communities struggle to get out of poverty due to lack of educational opportunities. They believe in order for communities to flourish, we need to plant the seed of education now. EAI is planting those seeds by supporting educational infrastructure needs for communities around the globe.
Sangita Malla Rana,
LEED AP, ENV SP
President and Founding Member
Sangita Rana is a member of nec’99 Civil Group and one of the founding members of EAI. Sangita earned MS degree in Environmental Engineering from Southern Methodist University (SMU) and works for Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) as Infrastructure Engineer and Sustainability Practice Lead. She works towards providing drinking water for over two million people in North Texas. Following her passion for sustainable infrastructure design, Sangita Rana leads American Water Works Association (AWWA) Sustainability Infrastructure Committee(SIC) as a Chairperson. Apart from her day job, Sangita has been involved in children’s education in Nepal for over a decade now. Sangita was born/raised in Nepal and presently resides in Texas with her husband, a wonderful son, and an active golden doodle. In her spare time, Sangita likes to make ceramic in her home studio, listen to TED talks and hike in the mountains.
Balendu Tripathi, PMP, CSM
Secretary and Founding Member
Balendu was born and raised in Nepal. He holds MBA degree from Northwest Missouri State University, Project Management Professional certification (PMP) from Project Management Institute, and is Certified Scrum Master (CSM) by Scrum Alliance. During his ten plus years of professional career life, Balendu has worked for industry leading companies like Fannie Mae, Capital One, Department of Labor, and Freddie Mac wearing different hats as consultant and full time employee. Currently, he holds Senior Project Manager position at Freddie Mac (Financial Company in Secondary Mortgage Market). Besides his professional career, Balendu has actively participated and dedicated his services to needed community throughout his lifetime. He served as a member of Lions Club during his undergraduate years by driving blood donation programs (in association with Red Cross Society), walkathon in DC, and various fundraising programs during Hurricane Katrina victims and 2015 Nepal Earthquake in Northern Virginia. Balendu lives in Herndon, VA with his wife and two children.
Director of Planning and Public Relation
Maria Lopez is a native of Bogota, Colombia. Grew up for most of her life in Houston, TX where she obtained a BS in Hospitality Management and found her passion for real estate. Maria has been involved in the real estate industry for the past 10 years with a focus on photography and recently became an active agent. Maria is passionate about social work especially with children and underprivileged families. Currently living in Seattle, WA with her partner and dog Zooey.
Roshan Simkhada, PE, CPSWQ, CPESC
Treasurer and Founding Member
Roshan is a member of nec ‘99 Civil Group and has been actively involved from the beginning of our initiatives. Born in Dhading district of Nepal and raised in Kathmandu, he completed his graduation in Civil Engineering from Nepal Engineering College and earned his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Widener University. Roshan has more than 17 years of experience in civil engineering in PA, NJ, DE, and MD ranging from medium to large scale projects. His expertise includes roadway design and water resources engineering . He holds professional engineering and certified professional in stormwater quality and erosion and sediment control licenses. Roshan lives in Oaks, PA with his wife and two daughters.
Director of Human Resources and Information Technology
Namrata is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal and currently resides in Pennsylvania with her family. She is a principal analyst for Glaxosmithkline. She’s volunteered in multiple nonprofit organizations in the US and Nepal. She also organizes fundraising events to sponsor underprivileged kids in Delaware during the holiday season for the last two years. Being a Nepali speaker, Namrata volunteers to teach Nepali language to the kids in her community and New Jersey. When she is not working, she is either walking her dog, playing with her cat or riding a bike with her family. She loves gardening and photography.
Director of Community Outreach and Social Media
Pratiksha is from Nepal and currently living in Houston, TX with her husband. She is currently working in an electronics components distribution company as a technical sales professional. Pratiksha graduated from University of Arkansas with a BSBA in Marketing. During her time there, she got involved in various nonprofits in the states and overseas where she got to apply marketing and fundraising skills. These experiences fueled her passion in giving back, and also gave her insight into the importance of sustainability in the life of a non-profit venture. Aside from her day to day work, she loves to paint, read and cook.
nec ’99 Civil
Some of the founding members of EAI are Civil Engineers, batch of 1999- graduates of Nepal Engineering College. They formed an informal group of over 64 alumni and called the group nec '99 Civil. This group was formed to communicate about on going social work around the globe.
April 2015 Nepal Earthquake
Nepal was hit with a massive earthquake in April 2015 that left 2.8 million people displaced. The recurring earthquakes and subsequent displacements shook our hearts and traumatized the people of Nepal till this day. The earthquakes claimed over 8000 lives. After this tragic event, the nec ‘99 civil group immediately started to extend their help. The group provided Rapid Visual Building Assessment Service to people affected by this trauma. People were in shock and scared of going back into their homes. Therefore nec '99 Civil inspected more than 500 residential and public buildings to ensure the safety.
Foundation Stone for EAI
nec '99 Civil Social Initiatives
NEC ‘99 Civil launched a program called “nec ‘99 Civil Social Initiatives” which is the foundation stone for EAI. This program called for members to contribute to help two districts that were affected by the 2015 earthquake. One in Gorkha, a district northwest of Kathmandu, where the funds went towards helping rebuild the damaged school. The second in Makwanpur, a district southwest of Kathmandu, where the funds supported 40 orphan students with all academic costs, books and clothes for a year.
Cornerstones of EAI
Pre EAI Projects
nec ‘99 Civil coordinated with multiple non-profits to support schools that needed immediate attention to send kids back to school. The group was able to secure funding for two schools from organizations in the US and Australia. One school in Lamjung district and another Gorkha district. Both constructions were completed by mid- July 2016. These projects added cornerstones to the establishment of EAI.
Milestone of New Beginning
Establishment of EAI
With the success of these initial projects, we realized our financial, management and human resources limitations that needed to be addressed in order to proceed further. This led us to believe that establishing an organization will bridge the gap between the needed resources and structure to effectively manage our mission in a more impactful manner. “Educational Advancement Initiative” (EAI) was registered as a non-profit organization in the State of Texas, US in June 2016. This was accomplished with the help of nec’ 99 Civil group members living in the United States and the support by all nec ‘99 Civil members around the globe along with other enthusiastic individuals.