Laura Spero '98
Founder and Executive Director, Jevaia Foundation
Laura is founder and executive director of Jevaia Foundation, which works in the primary health care system of Nepal to establish community-based dental care in rural villages. The project originally began in 2003, when Laura was a volunteer teacher in the village of Kaskikot, Nepal, where she lived with a local family. When many residents approached her seeking help for dental pain, she began organizing and problem-solving with teachers. Laura, along with Gobinda Paudel, co-founder of Jevaia Oral Health Care, collaborated with many hardworking people in Nepal. Their efforts eventually grew to include eight rural dental clinics in the public government system, serving an area of 50,000 people. Jevaia Foundation is active in advocating for health policy in Nepal that will replicate its human rights approach to oral health care in the rural primary care system. Currently, there are five full-time staff and about a dozen people working in rural communities who are on the ground implementing the project on a daily basis.
Laura is self-taught in the Nepali language and, since 2002, has spent some of each year in Nepal, where she continues to work closely in her "home" village of Kaskikot. She maintains a blog about life in rural Nepal. In the U.S., Laura has worked with numerous agencies that seek to amplify the voices of marginalized groups, such as StoryCorps, a national oral history project, and Learning through an Expanded Arts program, a nonprofit that promotes the arts in New York City schools. She recently completed her master's in social work with a human rights focus.