First love, then marriage, then making a difference
At their wedding, Charles Dorner and Srilata Remala shared their commitment to each other—and their commitment to making an impact through PATH. Photo: Bradley Hanson Photography.
He works for Amazon as a prototyper. Although he can never talk about his work, I am sure it is very interesting.
She’s a talented get-it-done woman in health care consulting who can be incredibly goofy. Her interests include supporting charities making a real difference in the world.
That’s how Charles Dorner and Srilata Remala describe each other on their wedding website. They met in 2011 through an online dating site. One of the topics of conversation on their first date: the organizations that interested them.
On Srilata’s list was PATH, because, she says, “PATH is breaking boundaries and innovating solutions in the developing world.” PATH also turned out to be a good fit for Charles. Thanks to their inspired wedding planning, it’s now on the lists of all their friends and family.
Where simple tools can save lives
Srilata discovered PATH when she was just 21 years old and researching health organizations for her family’s foundation, the Satya and Rao Remala Foundation. She was struck by the ingenuity of one of PATH’s early technologies: a compact clean-delivery kit filled with inexpensive tools to help mothers and babies avoid infection during childbirth. “You could take it to a village and ensure that a baby is born safely,” Srilata remembers. “It spoke volumes to how a little tool can save so many lives.”
Both Charles and Srilata know just how hard it can be to survive in developing countries. Charles’ grandfather was born in a simple hut in Kenya in 1912, with only a village midwife to ensure he was born safely. His mother refused to have any more children in those circumstances, returning to British India to have her remaining children.
Srilata’s father, Rao, grew up in a mud house with no running water in southeastern India and had to walk six miles to school each day. Her mother, Satya, was only 13 years old when her own mother died from uterine cancer.
“I could be living in India right now facing some of the issues PATH is trying to solve,” says Srilata, who lives in Seattle. “I’m lucky. I know that when I have children, they’ll be born in a hospital with good health care.”
A wedding becomes a platform for impact
When Charles and Srilata were planning their wedding, they realized they had a golden opportunity to express not only their commitment to each other, but their commitment to making an impact.
“You have all your family and friends in one room,” Srilata explains. “You’re sharing how much you care about them, but you also have a platform to share about why you care about this amazing organization, which is even bigger than a wedding.”
Charles and Srilata announced that they had made a donation to PATH on behalf of their nearly 300 guests, and they encouraged their friends and family to make donations as well. They even gave each guest a red silicone bracelet embossed with the words “PATH.org: Innovation to save lives.”
The guests loved it. “They learned something new about PATH and about us,” Srilata says. “A lot of people know what we do for a living but don’t realize we have such a strong interest in making a difference.”
A family tradition
Srilata developed her philanthropic side thanks to her parents, who encouraged their children to use the family foundation as a way to make the world a better place. Srilata and her older sister, Srilakshmi, now drive the vision for the family foundation. Srilata is a specialist in electronic health care for the consulting firm Point B and is the family’s advocate for health organizations.
Srilata also counts herself fortunate to have found a mate who shares her family’s values. “For us, giving back is here and now,” she says.
Charles agrees. “Being able to have an impact through PATH is important to me. And getting to have our friends and families make a difference is really valuable.”