Our mission is to transform lives by promoting Health, Education and Women’s Empowerment. Our primary objective is to help people reach their highest potential.

Thank you so much for making our 2021 Year such an amazing success! It was heartwarming to have so much support.

In order to ensure that FONNJ’s Asha Project remains vibrant, strong and ready to offer more fabulous programs in the coming seasons, please consider making a gift today to the LEGACY CIRCLE at WWW.FONNJ.COM/DONATION.
Your generosity will be rewarded many times over as we work together, time after time, year after year to help people reach their highest potential.

A project of different scale.

Scheer Memorial Hospital is a 150-bed general community hospital at Banepa. While offering a variety of medical services, the hospital prioritizes treating women, children, and the needy.
Most of their equipment is outdated and with this $40,000 project we hope to;
1.Upgrade the emergency department and,
2.Train staff in using the new equipment.
Thanks to a Rotary grant our $3000 investment will receive a 15-fold benefit.

Computer Lab for Prisoners
In 2020, we set up two computer labs, costing $15,000, to train incarcerated people in IT. The computer project is in Dang. It is a collaboration with Dhulikhel Rotary Club.

Serving 30 years of Humanitarian Service in Nepal

The Goat Project 2020

With the Goat Project, we provide women with goats, along with plants for fodder, access to group savings & micro-credit, basic literacy, and gender equity training.
Goats are relatively inexpensive to raise. Before sale, they provide these women with milk for their children. As their herds increase, the women gift animals to others in need. Thus, they give forward their gifts from us.
We have raised $10,000 and received a grant of $43,000 from Rotary International Global which has enabled us to give 100 goats to 50 women across the district. We aim to reach 1,000 women in 10 districts by 2030.

By Numbers:
We have given micro-loans totaling $215,000 since 2002
Helped 10,000 women start businesses
Trained 1,250 in personal finance & animal husbandry
We run a Goat Farming Project in 10 districts

“Villagers will have a GIVING DAY CELEBRATION (to give forward their gift)”

Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan


No matter how modern we become, the natural bleeding process (menstruation) in women is still considered taboo in Nepal; many students miss their school during this time. This taboo has resulted in students missing school, as well as women dying from exposure because they are forced to remain outdoors. This special project will take palces in different parts of the county.

The RotaAsha Library Project:
The RotaAsha Library Project at Dolkha Community School is a fine example of the projects we have take up. In it, we joined hands with the Rotaract Club of Sukedhara.
Dolkha is about 60 mi from Kathmandu. With our financial support, the Rotaract Clubs of Sukhedhara and Baneshore donated 1,176 books to the community school at the Hari Kirtan Basic School.

Pictures from the Library project

Indigenous Community

This year, we are helping the Dumsi Darai Village of Tanahun District with chicken farming, Covid-19 protection materials. The Darai are a marginalized ethnic group. They depend on agriculture and fishing; and suffer from low literacy and poverty.
In January 2021, we distributed 150 chicken to villagers. According to founder-chairman Dr. Maharjan, “Villagers will have a GIVING DAY CELEBRATION (to give forward their gift). This way the community will learn how caring and sharing are essential for development.”
As part of the Indigenous Community Economic Development project, we hope to distribute more chickens, develop a bee project in the village as well as promote their homestay (hospitality) business and school programs.


  • “Economic Empowerment of Indigenous Women” Projects – $2,000.00
  • Food Distribution Projects – $1,000.00
  • Library Project – $1000
  • Goat Project in Dhulikhel – $2,000.00 (Rotary Grant for $40,000)
  • Computer Project in Dang at the Prison library- $2,000 (Rotary Grant for $15,000)
  • Banepa Hospital Project $3000 (Rotary matching grant for $40,000)
  • 3 Health Projects – Helping youth group with hygiene pads and educational programs- $2,000.00
  • 100 Scholarships for minority students – $2,000.00
  • 25 schools -Distribution of books, bags and copies – $3,000.00
  • Microloan redistribution (Rotary grant $95,000)


We believe, all of us must embrace the innate source of compassion within us to make a difference in our community and in our homeland. The Asha Project’s mission is to “help the underprivileged people of Nepal to rebuild their lives and renew their hope.”

The Asha Project calls for action to bring more compassion to the forefront of our lives and provide hope and opportunities for poor in Nepal. Thanks to our LEGACY CIRCLE members for putting Altruism in Action by helping the people of Nepal.

In 2022, we are planning to conduct projects for more than $75,000 worth in Nepal to help people reach their highest potential.

You can mail your check, made payable to Friends of Nepal-NJ, to

P.O. Box 5015
Somerville, NJ 08876

Or you can pay it with the PayPal at this link

Thank you for your continued support for our projects in Nepal.


Three Sisters of Sindhupalchok

Success Story

After the death of their father, three sisters carried on living with the help of relatives because their mother had left them too. But the situation became worse in 2015 when a devastating earthquake hit Nepal. Approximately 9000 people lost their lives; many more were injured and displaced. And many lost their loved ones. These three sisters suffered tremendously too. Their house was destroyed, and they had no place to go.  At that moment, the Asha Project helped them to build a new house and provided school expenses along with stationary supplies. In addition, the project provided some goats and built a goat shelter to help provide them a means of income.

Goats are widely used livestock in Nepal. Having goats brings the benefit of meat and milk production, and provides for income support.

The earthquake victims in Nepal including the three sisters received financial support from all over the world. Although the amount of money was not much, it definitely showed how collective efforts bring small changes for the least privileged people.

When Kishore Tripathi, the Goodwill Ambassador, met the sisters, he saw a very touching moment full of joy, love and hope between the three sisters. The Asha project brought this joy to their lives. Later, the older sister Thapa asked him, “Dai, do you think it is possible to say thank you to all the people who helped us?” He smiled and gladly said, “Of course.” (Sindhupalchok).

Now 22 years of age, the eldest sister recently married.  Of the other two, one goes to the college and the other is planning for vocational training. 

Asha believes in helping poor people in Nepal to rebuild their lives and renew their hope. Since 1992, the Asha project is working through three pillars – “Homes of Hope” for re-building homes and schools, “Legacy of Hope” for providing micro-credit loans to grow micro-enterprises, and “Rays of Hope Scholarship” for providing educational support.

The Asha project accomplished more than 17 Rotary Foundation grants, approximately $950,000, in Nepal to improve water, sanitation, health and educational opportunities for more than 70,000 people. The Asha project is jointly implemented by the Friends of Nepal-NJ (FONNJ) and the Rotary club of Branchburg.

International Day of Peace Celebration

By: Samantha Waldron

After everything humanity has been through, we need hope. We must commemorate every small victory to bring about hope. 

On September 24, 2022, the Rotary Clubs of Whitehouse, Rotary club of Plainsboro North & South Brunswick and Edison united with the Somerset County Cultural and Diversity Coalition and Friends of NJ to celebrate 15th annual International Day of Peace to promote peace and understanding as well as to preserve our planet. 

Our cultures, souls, and planet are all connected in unity. To remind us of how significantly intertwined we are, we came together in a sacred setting for prayers led by our youth group, music and dancing, chai, and homemade lunch and sweets. The Buddha smiled upon our group as we shared our belief in international peace. As the United Nation describes, Peace is not just absence of war, “It requires the building of societies, where all members feel they can flourish”.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed funds, time, and energy to our Rotary Peace Garden to promote Peace and interfaith understanding at the Buddhist Vihara Temple in Princeton, New Jersey. 

Our New Generation team is working together to build peace in ourself, our homes, our communities, our nations and our world. This peace garden will help us to learn about promoting peace and preserving the environment. 

If you would like to support our project, you may donate to SCCDiversity Coalition, which is a registered 501(c)(3) organization working to promote peace and understanding in our community and communities around the world.  www.sccdiversity.com 


The NJ Peace Garden was established in 2017 by the Somerset County Cultural Diversity Coalition in cooperation with Rotary District 7510, Interfaith community leaders and various community organizations. The committee was inspired by Rotary’s 2013 theme “Peace Through Service”.    

With recent environmental problems and Covid-19 related issues, our committee thought we need to grow a better world and connect with and become caretakers of Earth.  From the Peace Garden grew the various youth caretaker groups, that in turn grew into a socially and environmentally conscious community. In 2018, The Garden became a designated International Peace Pole site, a part of The Global Peace Pole Project founded by Masahisa Goi from Japan.   In 2019, Franklin Township was designated as an “International City of Peace”.

After World War II and the dropping of the atomic bomb, Masahisa’s life took on new meaning and he began to share his philosophy for a better world. He created the peace pole as standing prayer for peace with the words, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”  His philosophy became popular and grew in Japan.  When he died in 1983, his adopted daughter took the initiative internationally, and it became The Global Peace Pole Project.   

The Somerset County Cultural Diversity Coalition in cooperation with Interfaith communities, Lions and Rotary International has been holding an Annual International Day of Peace celebration in September and a celebration of messenger of peace on Buddha’s birthday in middle of May at the NJ Buddhist Vihara, 4299 Rt 27 in Princeton. The NJ Peace Garden has been visited by Tibetan and Nepalese monks, Interfaith Community leaders, Native American leaders, community leaders and elected officials.   

A newly updated NJ Peace Garden with the 13 different Interfaith symbols and golden rules from 13 different faith groups will be dedicated on September 24 at the New Jersey Buddhist Vihara, 4299 Rt 27, Princeton during our 15th Annual International Day of Peace Celebration.  

May the new Interfaith Peace Garden bring the peace to our community and around world.  Please join us for our programming on September 24, 2022, at 12 pm as we grow a better World and learn to become caretakers of Earth and keepers of Peace together. Free International lunch and refreshments will be provided.

The School in the Clouds

By Samantha M. Waldron


When I grow old, and all has been said and done, I want to believe in my heart that I am a good person and that I tried everything in my power to make the world better than I found it. 


Nepal emanates warmth, celebration, enduring hope, and beauty in its ancient culture. This beautiful country struggles with cultural rights and economic abuse. Unfortunately, this results in the people living in poverty and suffering from a lack of access to stable infrastructure, healthcare, energy, education, clean drinking water, and food security. Nepal’s people are committed to continuing to strive for the best life, and they were willing to share whatever they could with me during my visit. Child labor and illiteracy are commonplace and are asking for our help through expanding access to supplies and cleaner and more sustainable resources. 

An ordinary day ended with the Rotaract Club of Rutgers University-New Brunswick, New Jersey, sponsored by Rotary International. The other volunteers’ faces lit up as they shared their experiences on their humanitarian service trip to Nepal. 

Asha Project’s GAP program provides students with an opportunity to learn new skills, learn about new culture and language and TAKE ACTION through humanitarian service during their two-week stay in Nepal. This program has given participants opportunities to learn about 21st-century life and career skills, engage as active citizens in a dynamic global society, and successfully meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st-century global village. 

The Asha Project http://www.theashaproject.org

A burning desire to explore the world ignited within me. My life mission is to help the people who want and need some support effectively. It was a genuine honor to embark on a journey with a few STEM classmates, Abby, Emily, and Olivia, in the last few days of 2019. I was surprised to find myself flying into the continent of Asia for the first time, soon to have memorable experiences. 

After a 20+hour ride in the flying hotel, including a stop in Doha, Qatar, we squished into a taxi. We experienced the traffic of Kathmandu, Nepal, for the first time, which was chaotic. The four of us laughed hysterically as the friendly cab driver braved the traffic, helping us embrace the tight gridlock. We soon found ourselves on the doorstep of our Rotaract friend, Jyoti Poudel, her family, and her best friend, Binita Shrestha. We soon met other Rotaract members, Mukesh Pandey, Kishor Tripathi, Narendra Ayer, and a few more awesome people. Jyoti and her family’s home became our home-away-from-home, where we settled in and gathered our supplies to help the children. 

Colorful homes cover the landscape, and neighbors are all around, going about their days. 

After Jyoti and her family helped us settle in, we saw the Garden of Dreams. The plant life was vibrant and herbaceous, cared for and appreciated by the Nepali people. As the calming zen atmosphere washed over us, we felt our travel jitters begin to soothe.

It was an excellent opportunity to learn about the design and religious culture involved with the relaxing spaces of the community, where people come together to be spiritual amongst nature. We were settled in and ready to turn our compassion into action. 

Each of us brought a 50 lb suitcase full of school supplies, hygiene tools, masks, and toys. Together, we gathered 200 lbs of our generous donations, thanks to our friends and family, who helped us obtain the funds and supplies to accomplish this project. 

We took some Dramamine and rode in a small van for 13 hours. Fortunately, the driver was determined to get us there safely. The ride had stunning views of what my Nepali friends call “the hills,” which brought me unparalleled calm.

There are so many stairs, temples, and places of natural beauty where we can trek, hike, and appreciate the astonishing atmosphere of the Nepali hills. Nepal has a diverse ecology that dramatically differs from that of America. The tea bushes, trees, and rice paddies roll through the mountains. The landscape was breathtaking.

The people who welcomed us were lovely and kind, giving us gorgeous flowers and gifts, food, water, and everything we could need. Even if they had nothing, they shared their comforts with us. These people shared their food, music, dancing, art, and culture with me. 

My new friends, Sharad Joshi, Shraddha Prasai, Shalu, Prakriti, Sonu Koirala, Tulsha Basnet, Sanjay Agarawal, and more, are now lifelong friends. These extraordinary people are unselfish, openhanded, and now hold a special place in my heart. Since they guided us through Jhapa, we have been in touch frequently. 

We visited Manakamana College to meet the bachelor students of social work, which was one of my favorite parts. Meeting and connecting with Nepal’s young people made me want to keep going. When I introduced myself to Nepali, the class roared with excitement.

The students were friendly, kind, and energetic. It was an honor to visit them, as they were my reason for being there. They were so generous, enthusiastic, and genuinely delighted to meet us and converse about making the world a better place through the service above self. 

Speaking with Nepali children and adults fuels me to do the right thing because the students are genuinely thrilled to learn and develop their diverse knowledge. It was an honor to exchange intellectually stimulating discussions about service above self with the students and staff at the schools and university. The Nepali people honor peace, humility, and volunteering. 

The Rotary and Rotaract Clubs of Birtamode-Midtown of Jhapa, Nepal, supported us through this process. Everyone in these clubs is kind and accommodating. It was so special to turn compassion into action and be a part of something bigger than myself.

The school painting was electrifying! As we finished painting the walls of the schoolhouse of Chargorey Bikash Kendra, everyone was cheering, smiling, and laughing together.

Helping others is my mission because turning my passion into action assuages my anxiety with everything happening in this world. This experience taught me to be grateful for my privileges and to hold myself accountable for doing an activity in my community that will improve society’s situation. If everyone commits to this, and if everyone practices ethical consumerism along with daily activism, then someday, we might be able to save the planet. 

“Spending time with my new Nepali friends and sharing these experiences fuels my soul to continue making a positive impact. Seeing a smile and bright wide-open eyes is my sense of happiness. I see the profound power and promise brought through something as small as giving a pencil, pen, or notebook, which we usually take for granted in America”. 


The kids of Nepal are so sweet, fun, and engaging; they were genuinely excited to share their culture, music, and enthusiasm for their schoolwork.

^ My favorite student, who I still correspond with to this day, loves to learn, dance, and spend time with friends. This person is cheerful, attentive, and emotionally intelligent. 

One of my favorite parts was completely immersing myself in the Nepali culture, enjoying the temples and traditional dress, and learning about Nepali values, music, dancing, and food. We relished delicious foods and drinks like Dal Bhat, Momo, and Hot Lemon, which were so satisfying to enjoy together. 

Some of my favorite highlights of this cultural experience include trying on the artistic jewelry and dressings of the Nepali and Newari cultures and sharing moments of bonding filled with laughter and smiles. It was an honor to encounter the museums, artistic works, temples, and religious sites to learn about how the Nepali people worship their gods.

I am so grateful for my new Nepali friends. They opened the whole reality of their country to me, showed me Nepal’s strengths and vulnerabilities, and took excellent care of my friends and me.

We visited some orphanages and schools, and the children are so silly and goofy, even though they don’t have it so easy. The Nepali people are strong, but they are humans who deserve clean water, sanitary conditions, and healthy crops, just like everyone else. 

They are cheerful, but they deal with many hardships. They do not have as many luxuries and privileges as other people in different countries. The children who got the coats, dental hygiene supplies, coloring books and utensils, toys, and new school supplies were thrilled to spend time and share their lives with us.

This young girl is working towards a career as a professional dancer. Despite missing both legs, she is determined to get around on her skateboard and live a beautiful and happy life. Children like her deserve a fair shot at attaining their goals and realizing their dreams into reality. The children are bright, energetic, and dedicated. It was a blessing to spend time with them at the Center for Disabled Children Assistance. The center provides excellent resources for these children in a natural environment. 

There is so much more I could share. Still long story short, from the city of Kathmandu to the religious sites in Bhaktapur, to the farmlands of Jhapa, to the tea farms of Ilam, I love Nepal and its culture, music, food, and people. Working on humanitarian projects with my friends is my meaning in life because it is both sincerely enjoyable, productive, and rewarding.

I learned to be grateful for what I have, extend myself, and use my power to be selfless and help others. 

Nepal has beautiful places to go, delicious food to eat, fun music to listen to, and fantastic people to dance and sing together. This culture is so bright, and the Nepali people are making much progress as a society to support the people who need it most. Everyone needs our help to share our time and funds to help make their lives easier, especially the children. 

We can only save humanity and Earth if we work together. If everyone makes at least one positive contribution on the community level, we can make an enormous difference. In addition, we must spread the word about supporting small businesses and practicing ethical and sustainable consumerism to impact significantly. 

The best place to start is in our communities; bring your friends, and let’s have some fun together! 

Thank you so much to Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan, who enabled me to take this opportunity. 

Dr. Tulsi Maharjan is the Chair of the Asha Project, Past Rotary District Governor of RI 7475, and founder of the GAP program. 

Thank you to April (Nelson) Terblanche, my family, and my friends for all your donations in person and on GoFundMe. 

Rotary International’s Rotaract Club, Community Corps, The Asha Project, and Friends of Nepal NJ are creating an International Humanitarian Rain Garden of Interfaith Peace at the Buddhist Vihara Temple in Princeton, New Jersey. 

We would love to invite you to volunteer with us to help people in America and worldwide, especially in Nepal. 

visit https://www.sccdiversity.com for more information about the Peace Project.

If you like to donate to our Asha Project or Peace Garden project, please visit wwwhttp://www.fonnj.com/donate/

Thank you, I look forward to sharing more experiences with you!

Visit our Peace Garden at 4299, Rt 27, Princeton, NJ

Buddha’s Birthday Celebration and Peace Garden.

By: Mathews Lopes 

Hi, my name is Mathews Lopes, and I come to you today to share with you some of my amazing experiences at this weekend’s past Buddha’s Birthday celebration and Peace Day event.

Let me take you back from the beginning. Well to start off this amazing experience I was initially incredibly nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. But upon my arrival at the statue, I knew at once what kind of time I was going to have. When I got out of the car and approached the statute of Budda, I was engulfed with the feeling of peace right away, and I felt a special connection. I was overcome with a sense of responsibility, and compassion right then and there as well. I truly felt like I belonged, and then after hearing the back story about the statue I was truly impressed even more than I already was, which is truly saying something. To sum it all up, the statue just gave me that feeling of peace and tranquility, and it was one of the most beautiful statues that I’ve ever seen in all my life, along with the amazing experience of the event. 

Let me now bring you to my first time walking the path of the peace garden. First off let me start off with the symbols, seeing all the symbols of religions incorporated into the garden was truly mesmerizing. Walking the path, I felt so calm and relaxed, and it made me feel grateful and truly blessed. Also walking the path, I saw the opportunity of improving it and helping my community by making it a place where people can find happiness and peace. It would also be for future generations, so that they can have a place like this. Walking this amazing path just brought me to a different place and gave and still gives me high hopes for the future, and I can’t wait to get started on this goal that I already have envisioned.  

Moving on, I honestly didn’t know what to expect, I’m not familiar with the Buddhist religion and culture, but the way that the community at the peace garden treated my father and I, it truly blew me away. Everyone’s kindness and acceptance showed me that there are amazing people in this world. Experiencing their culture was amazing, seeing the monk’s prayer of peace was simply amazing to say the least as well. The food was great as well, it was a little too spicy for my dad, but I quite frankly enjoyed it. It made me feel as if I was truly part of something greater and something spiritual.  Moving on, seeing that gentlemen get a lifetime community service award reminds me that there are people on this planet that truly care, and are selfless, and that I aspire to be like one day. There really isn’t a limit on the number of words I can put into this article to show and express my gratitude for this event, I’m just so thankful that I was able to be a part of this amazing and truly life changing event/ experience.  

I am only 17 years old, but in my lifetime, I have never lived in a time without war. From Afghanistan and Iraq to what is happening right now with Russia and Ukraine. So, my hope is to contribute my time to making this peace garden a place for all races, all faiths, and anyone who wants to come to this place to see that there can be a place on this planet without hate, without judgement. A place where a simple path can clear your head, and for a moment make them smile.  That’s my goal, and as the director of this project it is my job and mission to see it through until the end. I look forward to seeing what my team and I can contribute to and seeing just what a group full of intelligent minds can come up with.  

By Mathews Lopes  

PASSION FOR SERVICE brings Suresh Shrestha to join the Whitehouse Rotary’s Community Rotaract club

“Service is the rent you pay for room on this earth.” Late Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm

Suresh helping with the Peace Garden Project.

Suresh Shrestha began his college life in public service helping many youth groups in Nepal as a member of the Sindhu Public Awakening Youth club. His passion for volunteerism continued to grow when he moved to the USA.  When he heard about the opportunity to serve as a Rotaract Club president, he jumped to that opportunity to work with the Rotaract clubs around the world.

When he moved to Kathmandu from his village Sindhupalchowk, he started working with the Sinamagal Youth Alliance. He recently helped to raise funds here in New Jersey for a child who was going through cancer operation in Nepal. Over the years, he taught youth groups in Nepal.

When he moved to New Jersey, he got involved with the Friends of Nepal-NJ as a web master and coordinating various programs and activities with the FONNJ.

He was a youth group member for many years with the Shree Sidhi Binayak Youth Club in Nepal, planning and attending their extended retreats and programs.

At this time, he is spearheading the Mt. Everest Run and youth programs in conjunction with the Whitehouse Rotary club.

 “We are delighted to have Suresh join the Rotaract Club of New Jersey, with his passion for helping others, he fits in with the Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self”, said Manish Karna, Director of the Community Service of the Whitehouse Rotary Club.

Manish Karna

Manish Karna
Peace Garden Project

Changing LIVES in Nepal

MILLION DOLLAR IMPACT in Nepal with Partnerships, Collaboration and Special Rotary funding.

Thanks to our supporters.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan

Friends of Nepal-NJ (FON-NJ) is a non-profit organization, created to promote and preserve the social and cultural heritage of Nepal and develop networking opportunities for people living in the tri-state area. Through networking and membership support, this organization has been providing educational opportunities and HOPE for individuals in Nepal.

Concerned people have been talking about what can be done here in the United States to help each other as well as what can be done to help the children of Nepal who might not have opportunities or resources to move ahead. FON-NJ has been providing resources to help each other here and also in Nepal since 1990.

Unsettling images of our homeland can be seen on the Internet and the evening news. These images disturbs and sadden us. We feel helpless not being able to do much to change the situation. What should be our response to such conditions? What can be done to ensure a brighter future for many disadvantaged people in Nepal? What can we do? Those thoughts and support from concerned people started our projects in Nepal.

I always get inspired to help after my I visit Nepal. https://theashapro.blog/2018/04/26/passion-purpose-and-promose/ In the midst of the poverty and disparity, I see committed people making a difference. If we all work together, we can make a difference by fostering hope and opportunity for new life. Since my last visit to Nepal, we have collaborated with many organizations to start special projects in Nepal. It is possible for one person, or a group of people, here to have an impact in Nepal. We do not have to make a big change at once; we can make a lot of little changes over a longer period of time. Every little change will cause another change.

I personally feel that by helping a young person fulfill his or her dream of obtaining education or skills, we will be showing the seed of kindness and hope for another generation.

Without education, I would not have been in this country. We are fortunate to be in this country and be able to achieve our dreams. Now, we can make those young people’s dreams come true through our help.

By helping people in Nepal we will also giving our children here the gift of social awareness that is necessary to live a full and meaningful life. Our children must understand that they are important to us and to the future of the world. Only by reaching out to others will they fulfill their lives.

We all know that a lasting victory over poverty will not come easily and may not be within our sole control. It will take hard work, dedication and planning by everyone, here and around the world, to make a difference. FON-NJ’s programs and activities are helping to educate, support and inspire many poor people in Nepal.  

Our projects have helped and effected lives of the people in Nepal and given them education and hope. FON-NJ has dedicated 100%  of its membership dues and Legacy Circle dues to scholarships and other projects in Nepal. We are happy to share many success stories of our efforts in Nepal. Our special partnership with the Asha Project and the Rotary District 7475 is helping to have multiplier effect in all our projects we have done in Nepal.

Making a difference in Nepal – how our projects have made a difference in the lives of children, families and communities.

I want to thank all those individuals who have already joined FON-NJ’s Legacy Circle for being valuable partners in this crusade. Together, we will be able to make a lasting difference in the lives of children in Nepal and at the same time gain a piece of mind knowing that we are helping to make a difference in somebody’s life.
Jaya Nepal.

2021 Annual Report https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tRBoJWJQ_6U2TqcHzQziv6jfLXsUZ2ZZdbanMZGRqHU/edit?usp=sharing

Papa Jim to receive the U.S. President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

If you wonder, “What can one person do?” think of Jim McGrady. Jim has a long history of using his chef skills to help communities.

When he owned a restaurant in Ocean City, he frequently donated food to local shelters, rehabilitation programs, special needs kids and veterans’ groups.
When he began working at Maggiano’s Little Italy – where he picked up the nickname “Papa Jim” from the young employees – he revamped their charity strategy to help the chain donate millions of dollars to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Then, McGrady moved back to New Jersey and joined the Somerville Elks Lodge, which is a large contributor to the charity Jack’s Kids. He became involved in their charity work, and also used his experience to rebuild their charity strategy to help them raise 900% more donations than they had before.
Last year during COVID-19, McGrady retired from the Elks, but he wanted to continue to help Somerset County during the time of crisis. So, he connected his old friends and partnered with the Rotary club of Branchburg and started cooking at the Bound Brook Presbyterian Church and distributing meals to various churches and senior centers in Somerset County. As a result” Not Just Soup” program was started.

Many community groups are participating in this program. This became the Community Meal Program during the Covid pandemic. The Community Meal Program grew to meet the growing needs of the community.
Through the benevolence of the community, and without any government support, the Rotary Club and different participating organizations have been able to distribute more than 300 meals a week and have also started food pantry.

In addition to his work with “Not Just Soup” Jim has started “Papa Jim’s Comfort Kitchen”

Papa Jim’s Comfort Kitchen is a new culinary service to our community. Everyone that purchases meals is also helping McGrady to donate meals to hungry local families.

Website: papajimscomfortkitchen.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/papajimscomfortkitchen.

Mr. Mahesh Advani to receive US Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award

Mr. Mahesh Advani has been an altruistic force in Central New Jersey through his involvement in a many non-profit organizations’ programs and activities from raising funds to dedicating his time and talent for the last 20 years.

He has been member of the Indian Health Camp of New Jersey for many years, an organization dedicated to providing health screening; medical consultation, diagnostic test services and need based financial support to uninsured or poorly insured individuals in the community. This organization has served more than 10,000 patients, saving more than $6 million dollars for the patients.

For the last ten years, he has been helping to organize NJ’s Peace Day Celebration to promote peace and understanding in our Central New Jersey communities. As a past Assistant Governor of the Rotary District 7475 and charter president of the Princeton Lions International, he has been helping many community organizations to work together with Rotary and Lions. He has also served on the boards of many community organizations including Sarva Dharma Center, Ved Mandir, Sadhu Vaswani Center and member of the Economic Development Committee of the South Brunswick Township, Community Emergency Response Team for the North Brunswick Township.

According to Past District Governor of the Rotary International, RID 7475 Dr. Tulsi R. maharjan “Mahesh embodies the mission of the Rotary International’s commitment to unite, nurture and bring together community people to promote peace and understanding in our rapidly changing communities. He is a community connector and community builder and exemplifies not only as a great community leader but also someone who gives back”.  

PDG Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan

He currently lives in South Brunswick, surrounded by his wife Renu and his three children. 

Please join us on May 7 at our annual International Peace Day celebration to congratulate Mahesh.

“Guests are like God”

By: Emily Fabiano, GAP – Nepal Humanitarian Mission and Cultural Exchange Volunteer

8,000 miles from home, living in one of the poorest countries in the world, missing my family and friends. I remember my first night in Nepal, I was staying in run-down, poorly insulated buildings, sleeping in several layers of clothes to stay warm. I was in a place where my surroundings could not have been more different than my life in the U.S. I was witnessing ways of living that I did not think existed in the modern world. My first impression of the country and upon getting food poisoning had me wondering “Why did I decide to travel to Nepal?!”

The beautiful country of Nepal and the generous people I have met among my many trips have become a significant part of my life. Despite the poor living conditions, I constantly felt a need and a desire to return to this country each year, as the impact I felt from volunteering here was augmented upon each successive trip. I am grateful for having the opportunity to travel to Nepal, as each return trip continues to shape my character immensely and change my outlook on life.

Adjusting to the Nepali lifestyle was not easy. Sleeping without heat, taking cold showers, hiking to the top of a “mountain” to where I will sleep for the night are not things I am used to. I saw children hike the mountains with no shoes just to get to school, while schools were often not much more than concrete walls and a tin roof. Facilities lack cleanliness and supplies to facilitate effective learning. These experiences and the exposure to what it is like to get an education in Nepal have taught me to appreciate the opportunities that I have.

At every orphanage and school, I went to, the kids melted my heart. I felt like I wanted to take them all home with me. They were ecstatic just to see outside visitors, and they would touch my hair because they have never seen someone with blonde hair before. There have been numerous moments that remind me that my time spent in Nepal is worth it. For instance, when we were distributing jackets and stationary supplies at an orphanage, a young girl asked me to promise her that I would come back. Another girl at a remote school in Pokhara had no socks or shoes, and the way she responded to simply getting a pencil from me was touching. Seeing the circumstances of where kids go to school is not always easy, but we help in any way we can by providing pencils, notebooks, rulers, and sometimes socks and gloves to students in remote areas. Another orphanage we went to, we distributed some blankets that were donated to us. The owner of the orphanage mentioned that they did not have enough blankets for all the children until we came. I remember thinking there was no way I could fit the blankets into my suitcase but hearing that made me glad I decided to make space for them. Aside from distributing donations at schools and orphanages we have also had the opportunity to assist with health and hygiene camps and paint the walls of schools and orphanages.

It is never easy to say goodbye to the kids when we finish a program and need to leave, as they usually stand in a group and all wave goodbye. While I am happy to have made a positive impact in their lives, it is sad to leave because I never know when and if I will return to that school or orphanage. Even when we interacted with students at a deaf and mute school, I still felt an unspoken connection to the kids.

No photo description available.It is often said in Nepal that “Guests are like God,” and this was evident in the way the Nepali hosted us. Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, Nepal undoubtedly has the most generous people in the world. Our friends in Nepal are always willing to do anything to make us feel more comfortable in their country. Each time we went to visit a school or orphanage and were hosted by new Rotaract clubs, we were welcomed with scarves, hot tea and biscuits. This truly made me feel very welcome wherever I went. My friend Jyoti and her family have hosted us in their home a few times, giving up their beds to us and cooking us meals to make us feel at home.

While we did numerous projects at schools and orphanages, we also had a cultural exchange and had the opportunity to attend Rotaract Meetings with the clubs in Nepal. For instance, myself and the club members from the US had a recipe exchange with the Lalitpur Club. We learned how to make MoMo, an iconic food of Nepal, while we introduced the Nepali club to Nachos. Although nachos are not a true American food, the Lalitpur club was intrigued by the combination of food and found it to be quite tasty. The various clubs that hosted us took us hiking and sightseeing to landmarks including the World Peace Pagoda, Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple), Boudhanath Stupa, on cable cars where we got a glimpse of Mt. Everest, Chitwan National Park where we had an elephant safari, and so much more! For me, simply walking on the streets of Nepal is sightseeing because the country is so different from the US, and I love learning about the different culture and lifestyle. We have also taken part in several picnics where we learned new games, made new friends, and tried new foods.

Not only do I love the people and culture in Nepal, but the scenery is incredibly breathtaking. Many of us have seen pictures of the Himalayan Mountain range and of Mt. Everest, but to see them in life is surreal. Living in the US, waking up in the morning and going out on the rooftop to sip tea with a view of the Himalayan Mountain range is not something I can do every day.

Ultimately, it was worth it. Worth travelling 40 hours and worth transporting tons of donations across the world. Although I have summarized my experiences here, words cannot do justice. The only way to know how amazing it is to be a part of this mission is to travel to Nepal and experience it for yourself. I have now been to Nepal four times and cannot wait to be a part of future projects with clubs in Nepal. Thank you to all my friends in Nepal that have hosted me and continued to be a part of my life!

For more information about the Asha Project and the GAP program, please visit http://www.theashaproject.org

Father Murphy to be Honored by President Joe Biden

Father Ed Murphy to be honored by the President of the United States of America as a recipient of the “President’s Lifetime Achievement Award” for his 30 years of dedicated community service. This award is the highest award in the land for volunteer services given by the President and government of the United States of America.

The purpose of this award is to honor those who have continually poured out thousands of hours of volunteer service in this country. Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed upon Father ED Murphy for his thirty years of volunteer services. He has continually fed the poor, provided clothing and necessities to struggling families, offered free counseling to the community people, as a member of the Diversity Coalition, (https://www.sccdiversity.com) and he has been running free counseling programs to provide prayer and guidance and so much more.

According to Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan, Chair of the Somerset County Diversity Coalition and the Past Rotary District Governor, “He has been an inspiration to many, and we would like to celebrate the positive impact he has made in bettering our communities and the world together.”

Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan

He will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement award at the 12th Annual International Peace and Interfaith Prayers ceremony on Saturday, May 7th at the NJ Buddhist Vihara in Princeton.

His outreach includes serving on 9/11 chaplain service, organizing Interfaith Prayers and Interfaith Thanksgiving programs at various houses of worship in Somerset County.

According to Dr. Gurprakas Sigh of the GurDwara temple in Bridgewater, “Father Murphy has been working tirelessly to support and promote interfaith dialogues in the community. He had participated and organied many events in our temple.”

According to Dr. Maharjan “He also helped to organize several Bound Brook Community Celebration day programs in early 2000 after the big flood in Bound Brook. He has made his commitment to promote and bring peace and prosperity in our central New Jersey communities. Thank you Father Murphy.”

If you like to place a congratulatory ad in the Ad journal, please contact us at trm7510@gmail.com or calling 908-369-4318. Please visit our website https://www.sccdiversity.com for more information about the ads and peace program on May 7, 2022.

Bringing smiles and happiness among orphans at the St. Xavier Social Service Center.

By Eezya Dangol

Happy Day at the St. Xavier Social Service Center.

Today on 11 February 2022, the Asha project- Nepal organized a lunch program at St Xavier’s Social Service Centre in the memory of our grandmother Usha Maharjan who loved helping the needy at all times.

The Social Service Centre is a home to poor and handicapped children from various districts of Nepal. Most of these students do not have parents or parents are financially deprived. These marginalized community students were brought to give them education and service training so that they can fend themselves and support their families in the future.

At this event we donated school supplies and provide special luncheon for them.

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Luncheon with the center students.

All Children enjoyed the food and thanked us in joy. A small help to them brought great happiness in their faces which is immeasurable. The Asha Project has adopted this school as one of the social service center, where the Asha Project provides scholarships, art contest and writing contest every year and visit during the Asha Project’s annual humanitarian mission to Nepal.

I would like to thank Dr. Tulsi Maharjan for sponsoring this program through the Asha project in Nepal and bringing smiles on the face of those children.

Also thanks Father Thomas, Mr. Salik Maharjan, Mr. Giri Dhar Dangol, Mrs. Mangal Kumari Maharjan, Mrs. Unes Maharjan for making this program a success.

Eezya Dangol

School supplies distribution.
St Xavier Social Service Center students.

What is Rotary’s “Service Above Self” means to me?

As someone who went to Nepal twice, once in 2017 and again in 2019, I am struggling to write down my experience. I think the fact that this is going to be shared with others also makes it harder for me to share my perspective. It’s not because I had a bad experience or because I didn’t enjoy it. On the contrary, it is because I did enjoy it and had an amazing experience, on both occasions, that I am struggling to express my thoughts, feelings, and words. However, I do think that it is only fair that I share my experience from 2017. Simply because that is what led me to go back in 2019.

            “Service Above Self”, those words sure do sound familiar to me. It is because of the Rotaract motto that I was able to persuade myself to go on a journey to the other side of the world. That, and having a strong sense of adventure and curiosity for an unknown part of the globe really drove me (haha). Well, what should I say… my trip to Nepal was absolutely beautiful? I was in safe hands among other Rotaractors? The journey to deliver school supplies across the globe went smoothly? All these different questions have the same answer; and yet, have an extraordinary story behind them. As I remember PDG Tulsi Maharjan used to share his story about how 50 years ago he used to wait every Nepalese New Year to receive a small box of gift from US, that used to be precious moment for him.

In Nepal, I met so many people, made lifelong friends, distributed school supplies to various different school, and created memories that will last a lifetime. However, this trip wasn’t just me alone. I was with friends from home, Amanda, Dan, Jenna, Marcel, Ryan, and Sebastian. It was our passion, our commitment, and our dedication to Rotaract that really made this journey even more than what I had originally thought it would have been. It is because we were able to uphold the motto, “Services Above Self”, that we had such a wonderful and exhilarating experience aboard! It is because of our many sister clubs in Nepal that we were able to enjoy the breath-taking beauty that Nepal is. It is because of our friends that we met, Sujan, Jeevan, Pratima, Roneeya, Ganesh, Pratistha, Sunil, Sanjay, Gautam, Neetika, Sabina, Jyoti, Biyan, Kishor, Antim, Niranjan, Kapil, Ujwal and so many more people, that this adventure to Nepal was well worth more than any other life experience.

 I remember waking up one morning and being told that we’d be going to a school to distribute school supplies. I remember walking downstairs with everyone, counting the 250 pounds of school supplies that we had brought over, dividing them up, putting them in a bag for every child to receive various different supplies, then being transported to the school to introduce ourselves and distribute these supplies.

I remember the looks of joy, the smiles, the connection, and the overwhelming sense of bliss that came from room as we personally handed these supplies among the children. That is when I truly discovered what it is to be a member of Rotaract. What it is to be a part of something more than yourself. What it feels to be the embodiment of “Service Above Self”.

Manny Ramirez, President of the RAAofNJ

It’s not about skin colors, political orientation, ethnic background, religious belief, or social standing. It is about being able to do something for your fellow human, it is about giving hope in times of desperation, it is about making a difference in someone’s life who may need it, it is about being the good in the world. I would like to thank Rotary District 7510, the Rotary club of Branchburg, the Asha Project and Friends of Nepal-NJ for making this trip possible.

It was my pleasure to make new friends, share a new experience, and enjoy the beauty of life among many individuals. It was my pleasure to travel to a new country and step outside of my comfort zone. It was my pleasure to do something so impactful that I am currently reflecting on it right now and smiling while I type this. It was my pleasure to go to Nepal.

Our Gang getting Rotaract’s warm welcome in Pokhara

“It was my pleasure to make new friends, share a new experience, and enjoy the beauty of life among many individuals. It was my pleasure to travel to a new country and step outside of my comfort zone. It was my pleasure to do something so impactful that I am currently reflecting on it right now and smiling while I type this. It was my pleasure to go to Nepal and serve the humanity. For me Service Above Self means being able to help those who are less fortunate than us”.

Manny Ramirez, President of the RAAofNJ.