How Deki started

“My wish has always been to lift women up, to give them a voice and to give them the confidence to become leaders and role models within their communities, inspiring the next generation of girls and women.” 

Vashti Seth, Founder and CEO

Deki’s Story

Vashti was inspired to change just one girl’s life, a Tibetan refugee named Deki Dolkha.

Deki Dolkha, was aged just 4, when her parents put her on the back of donkey cart to make the journey from Nepal to India, in the hope that she would have a better chance in life there.

Deki ended up in an orphanage founded by the Dalai Lama, and this is where Vashti’s father, Johnny Richards, met her and then sponsored her throughout school. Vashti often heard her father talk about Deki Dolkha, and after his death she continued sending her money and eventually decided to visit her in India.

Deki Dolkha, now aged 17, was trapped in a cycle of poverty, and reliant on hand outs. Vashti realised there were thousands of other women in the same position, all needing to be given an opportunity to move forwards. All Deki needed was the opportunity to work her way out of poverty.


Vashti founded the charity Deki in her name, and created financial opportunities for people who were unable to access the formal financial services. By increasing opportunities for entrepreneurs to access ethical micro loans, they were now able in invest in their small businesses to help them grow and see profits.

Vashti believes that we can all learn from the enterprising spirit of Deki entrepreneurs. “We all have big dreams, but we don’t all have the opportunity to make them happen.”

From Deki’s early beginnings with Vashti working from her kitchen table and a small baby in her arms, Deki has now helped over 69,000 people living in poverty in west Africa.

Vashti visiting Deki entrepreneurs in 2016

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