Watch Karla Mendoza’s video to learn about Refresh Bolivia!

Sara’s Wish Foundation Announces the Recipients of the 2016  Global Humanitarian Awards!

             Three amazing young women have been named the Global Humanitarian Awardees for 2016.  All three demonstrate a deep and sustained commitment to projects that have direct and immediate impact on the lives of many in our global community.

SWF scholarship recipients Genevieve Smith (2013) and Kali Basman (2014) are two leaders of Visionaria Peru , a collaborative initiative that partners with local NGOs to offer leadership institutes for disadvantaged adolescent girls as well as economic projects of their design in the girls’ home communities..  SWF awarded Genevieve and Kali  $10,000 to cover costs of both the Leadership Institutes and the Activism Projects.

Karla Mendoza received her first scholarship award as a freshman at Harvard College in 2014 for a health service project in Bolivia.   This past summer, with funding  $3500 from SWF, Karla returned to Bolivia.  Her funding was used by the Refresh Bolivia organization to promote “ecosocial” growth related to health and sanitation in rural communities.   The focus of Refresh Bolivia is on building rural/urban partnerships and capacity training in order to improve living conditions through self-sustained initiatives.


projet-jeune-leader-group-photo2Projet Jeune Leaders Celebrate!


Nahid-Bhadelia-PosterGlobal Humanitarian Award Recipient Nahid Bhadelia Honored by The Fletcher School at Tufts University!

Bhadelia, who holds three degrees from Tufts, including a MALD from The Fletcher School, has made the study of and the fight against dangerous pathogens her life’s work. This work has propelled her to a job as an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center and to prominence as director of infection control at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory.

Now she is adding further to her life’s work: advocating for and supporting the local health care workers who were so instrumental in helping to contain the outbreak last year and will be instrumental in future epidemics.

For this, and for being at the vanguard of the critical international effort to build better responses to disease outbreaks, Bhadelia has been named the winner of the third annual Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award.

We are SO PROUD!


New!!!! Global Humanitarian Award Opportunity Available to Past SWF Recipients!

  • Since 1998, we have provided financial support for a total of 175 young women!
  • These young humanitarians have made a difference in 65 countries across every continent (except Antarctica, of course)!!
  • As a result of generous donor support, Sara’s Wish Foundation has given a total of $243,750 in scholarships!!!
  • Beginning in the Fall of 2014, ALL 175 recipients of Sara’s Wish Foundation‘s scholarships are now invited to apply for additional funding in support of their humanitarian work across the global community.
  • Note:  We are no longer offering funding support to new candidates.  Only those women who have received financial support from SWF in the past are eligible for this award.   For more information, contact us at

First New SWF Global Humanitarian Award Granted to Nahid Bhadelia Nahid 2015 cropped

January 18, 2015:   Sara’s Wish Foundation is  delighted to announce that the first recipient of our new award in support of a substantive humanitarian initiative somewhere in the global community. 1999 scholarship recipient Nahid Bhadelia’s proposal was to institute a training program [Infection Control Training for Ebola Survivors – Training the Trainers Curriculum] for up to 80 persons in Sierra Leone on how to appropriately and safely work with Ebola “survivors,” both those who have had the disease and those who have been left orphaned or, in some other way, destitute due to the spread of this infection. The trainings will involve understanding the true nature of Ebola, information on infection transmission and disease control, and critical specifics such as how to put on the personal protective equipment. This training program will create trainers out of those in the workshop and so the web of information and prevention of infection of treatment personnel will expand. We granted Nahid $10,000 for her program, with the funds channeled through the non-profit organization Partners in Health (with which Nahid is affiliated).

Sara’s Wish Scholarship Recipient Nahid Bhadelia Takes Lead in Ebola Mission!

In 1999, Nahid Bhadelia received a $2000 scholarship from Sara’s Wish Foundation, a grant which supported her travel to India where she worked to increase AIDS awareness.  Nahid had just graduated from Tufts University when SWF gave her this scholarship; SWF could see in this young woman the kind of courage, competence, and determination needed to make a difference in our global society.  Today, Nahid is one of three American physicians who has traveled to Sierra Leone, under the auspices of the World Health Organization.  While this mission is chiefly humanitarian, it is directly related to Nahid’s role in Boston where she is the Infection Control Director for Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories.

We are so proud of you, Nahid!  For more information, go to The Boston  Globe article :

Second New SWF Global Humanitarian Award Granted to Maia Freudenberger

Maia, our second New SWF Award recipient, has distinguished herself as a humanitarian and educator in ways that are extraordinary for one so young. A 2013 graduate of Haverford College, Maia received her first scholarship from SWF that year in support of her establishment of a leadership, service, and mentorship program for young adolescents in a school district in Madagascar. That initiative, “Project Jeune Leader,” has become so successful in the past two years that it is expanding to multiple locations in Madagascar and has secured major funding from the Principality of Monaco. However, bridge funding was needed, and Maia received a $6,000 award from SWF. With its high quality design and responsible impact analysis, we are confident that Project Jeune Leader can serve as a model for educating adolescents about health, safety, and personal responsibility across the global community.

Check out Maia’s video, a wonderful way to learn more about the work of “Project Jeune Leader” in Madagascar, and to hear Maia’s statement of appreciation to Sara’s Wish Foundation.

Maia Freudenberge picture


Project Jeune Leader staff and newly trained mentors celebrate!






Maia Freudenberger



Sara’s Wish Foundation Tackles Retrofitting Existing U.S. Motorcoaches with Seatbelts

After a number of years of debate, in December, 2013 the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act [MESA] which mandates beginning in 2016 all U.S. motorcoaches must have seats with three-point safety restraints. However, the 30,000 existing buses on the road today were not mandated to be retrofitted because of the estimated cost of such a retrofit…$40,000 to $80,000 per 54-seat bus. Such an expenditure would compel a large portion of the 3500 independent motorcoach companies to go out of business.

Sara’s Wish Foundation and the University of Massachusetts College of Engineering have been developing over the past decade a patented portable seatbelt. And the understanding of this portable invention allowed the engineers to adapt the design to a lower cost, now provisionally patented, retrofit design that would reduce costs of a retrofit to less than $10,000. Anne and Charlie Schewe along with their College of Engineering partners in the design, Professors Sundar Krishnamurty and John Collura, have been working in Washington to gain the support of key constituencies. All organizations and agencies have voiced strong support for this Sara’s Wish Foundation initiative. While governmental and industry organizations supported no retrofit in the MESA bill, they strongly preferred to have a motorcoach retrofit but were compelled to oppose so as not to drive many bus companies out of business. SWF and its partners have the backing of the American Bus Association and its president, Peter Pantuso, has attended numerous governmental meetings with SWF to show support. The retrofit team has met with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the National Safety Transportation Agency, and expects to meet with the Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, himself to voice SWF’s concern for the retrofit and the solution that it has. We are getting traction for our efforts in this retrofit initiative…and as always, hope to save lives in Sara’s name. That, we believe, is Sara’s wish!

The University of Massachusetts’ College of Engineering through the assistance of Professor John Collura recently has received an award of $50,000 from the State of Massachusetts Department of Transportation that will allow completion of the final aspects of the retrofit design as well as the crash testing of the design. American Seating Corporation, the largest motorcoach seating manufacturer, has graciously provided a bus seat for testing. So this retrofit initiative is in fully “on the road” during 2015.


2012 Scholarship Recipient’s Documentary Previewed at Yale University Conference

Trisha Pasricha is a medical student at Vanderbuilt University, and the recipient of the Inga Tocher Scholarship from Sara’s Wish Foundation in 2012.  Trisha spent last summer in Namibia where she created and produced a documentary about the training of doctors  at the first medical school in that country.  (Trisha also produced the fantastic travel safety video that you can access on our Sara’s Wish homepage!)  Anne Schewe and Wendy Kohler had the privilege of joining Trisha at a preview showing of her documentary “A Doctor of My Own” at a major medical conference in April at Yale University.  The audience was wowed!  (Coincidentally, a member of that audience was another SWF scholarship recipient from  2011:  Hilary Robbins!)

trisha talks at yale

Trisha talks at Yale

Trisha Pasricha talks about her documentary at the conference at Yale University.

trisha and hilary at yale

Trisha and Hilary at Yale University

Check out Trisha’s documentary.

Anne and Charlie Schewe interviewed by USA Today about travel safety after another student is killed while on  Semester at Sea:

Follow this link to read about the tragic story of the death of Casey Shulman.

Sara’s parents were contacted by USA Today and Anne was quoted .  Thought you’d like to see this article.  Note that they point to Sara’s death in 1996 as the turning point to improving safety in study abroad.

Exciting News about Mary Jo Pham, SWF Scholarship Recipient from 2009 (Cambodia): 

Mary Jo A. Pham is a second-year student pursuing a M.A. in International Communication, with a concentration in Public Diplomacy and Social Change. Her research interests include statecraft, gastrodiplomacy, popular communication, and social change. Mary Jo graduated from Tufts University in 2011 with a B.A. in international relations and a minor in Chinese.

Prior to beginning her studies at the School of International Service, Mary Jo volunteered, worked, and studied abroad in Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. She has over 7 years of experience in print, online, and radio journalism and has published over 150 news articles through her work as a contributor for Fortune, NPR New England, and The Republican newspaper in her hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts. Most recently, Mary Jo published “Food as Communication: A Case Study of South Korea’s Gastrodiplomacy” in the 2013 Spring volume of the Journal of International Service. Mary Jo received a SWF scholarship in 2009, funds which enabled her to work in Cambodia in a foreign service internship.  She is a 2010 recipient of the Thomas R. Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship and will join the U.S. Foreign Service as a public diplomacy-coned officer following her graduation in May 2013.