SF organization helps students in Cambodia attend school 

After working with the California Pacific Medical Center Foundation and then traveling to Ghana, 30-year-old Sara Ortega started the nonprofit Mira Scholars, an organization dedicated to helping students in Cambodia acquire a suitable education.

What are your goals with Mira Scholars? There are two goals. One is to send more children to school who can’t go to school. But locally, the goal is to show people how easy it is to donate. It doesn’t take huge entities; it doesn’t take a White House memo to affect international change.

What motivated you to start this organization? A few things. Professionally, before that job in Ghana, I worked with a hospital foundation here in San Francisco. And they were so clean and active in the community. That was my professional training ground and a real eye-opening experience of how philanthropy works. But also my family. Many of my relatives are in education.

Your organization has raised more than $17,000 already for different projects. What’s next on the agenda? We are working with a few organizations in Cambodia and there is another one waiting for me to give them the green light. However, I’m the one staff member with a handful of volunteers, and my board ... we can only move so quickly at one time.

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