Humanity in Motion

cropped-ashalowhighres.pngThe Asha Project changes lives. Helping to rebuild homes and delivering school supplies impacts the people of Nepal immediately for the better. The Nepal Earthquake that struck Nepal in May, 2015 killed over nine thousand people, injured more than twenty-two thousand, and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Whole villages were leveled. The Asha Project works to help these people still struggling to rebuild. ASHA means “Hope” in Nepali language.

More than reconstructing buildings, the project enriches lives by making connections between volunteers and those helped. The Friends of Nepal-NJ organizes trips for people to participate in the Asha Project. While it sounds like a major endeavor, Americans traveling half-way around the globe to help people they never met, it is also something elegantly simple, one person easing the suffering of another.

9Sebastian is one such person. He recently travelled to Nepal to serve. While there Sebastian helped deliver school supplies. Many children now have a better chance of getting the quality education needed for them to succeed in life. Sebastian sowed the seeds for the future of Nepal. One of the highlights of his trip took place about an hour outside of Pokhara. The children waited hours in the hot sun waiting for over forty bags of school supplies. After waiting for hours the children looked weary. It was almost a test of endurance for them to sit there.

Then the time came. A ceremony surrounded the gifting of each package to the children. As the ceremony started the fatigue dropped away and both children and parents perked up with renewed energy. The happiness and gratitude beamed from their faces. The ceremony varied from school to school but each reflected the joy and humble thanks for the aid. These moments resonated within Sebastian, enriching his life.

15875615_1868817890020198_7555762015103204111_oThe connections made between Sebastian and the people he helped, in many ways, are more important than the supplies given out or the construction. The overwhelming kindness shown by people like Sujan Regmi, who helped organize the trip in Nepal, made the trip possible. Sujan performed every act with joy, from orchestrating where volunteers would eat to making sure they could attend church services. The warm welcomes made the service no work at all, but acts of love.

15977282_1795114594074377_6631437180277987193_nAs Sebastian put it,“We sat down and began waiting for the bus and occasionally snapped some pictures of the people around us. Two young girls began to fill around 20 empty liters full of water. After a few moments I joined in and began helping them. The one aspect of this act of kindness was that there was no formal thank you’s, no picture taking, no formal ceremony ( which were all good and healthy); just a human helping another human. This moment was why I went on the trip; I have found that on this trip the informal acts of kindness not recognized by all seemed to be the most impactful moments in my own life.”

gyanThe Asha Project brings people together to change lives. The help that volunteers give improve the lives of children in Nepal, and it imparts deep connections to those who give their time and energy. Please reach out to the Friends of Nepal – NJ or The Asha Project to see how you can participate. The Asha Project is putting together a English illustrated book entitled “I CAN DO IT” Ma Garna Sakchu” to distribute to Nepalese students to learn English. If you like to support this project, please contact us or you can donate here.

ASHA – Providing Hope and Opportunities.

When Ryan went to Pokhara, Nepal as an Asha Project volunteer he never realized the depth of love and caring waiting for him. Starting his stay with a visit to the local Rotaract Club introduced Ryan to many people who welcomed him with open arms. They worked to see to his needs and showed the great extent the young people would go to help their communities. ASHA  means HOPE in Nepali.

ashalowhighresThe trip was not all work. The people were proud to show him around with excursions for sight seeing. It may not have seemed like work at all. As Ryan said, “I remember giving the students the school supplies and the smile that came to their face really made me happy in the inside.” He took to heart what he learned from Antim Gurug in Parbat, “You could go to a movie and have 3 hours of joy, but helping others is a happiness that will last a lifetime.”

While Ryan passed out school supplies and helped with reconstruction he realized the journey was better than any vacation. After a hike to the top of a hill in Pokhara a large statue of Buddha emerged. The stairs leading up to the statue brought him to the spot where he saw the whole city. The beauty of the region took the breath away. Later, in Kathmandu, his hosts took him to a place to eat where the MoMo’s (dumplings) and sausage tasted as good as at any Michelin star restaurant.

9Even though the earthquake happened years ago the city of Kathmandu remains devastated. All the people work hard to put back together their lives and the place where they live. Each person does their part, no matter large or small, and helps. The gratitude for the help and school supplies deeply impressed Ryan. The experience showed him that people can be brought close together, and no matter the extend of tragedy life goes on. There are still reasons for joy.

With all the lives touched by Ryan one of those most affected was his own. He learned much about himself by stepping out of his comfort zone and engaging with new people. Meeting so many strangers, soon-to-be friends, broke him out of his shell. The service journey instilled the confidence for Ryan to take on any task or face any challenge. The trip heightened his appreciation, “This trip really made me appreciate what I have in my Country and because of this trip I was able to open my eyes to see what is really happening around the world. Now I have more motivation to help out our community and communities around the world because I know there is a lot of work to be done in order to get this world into shape.”

To see if you can share in an experience like Ryan’s contact the Friends of Nepal – NJ or The Asha Project to see how you can help. www.theashaproject.org/contact.html

You live in a beautiful country that offers not only peace and beauty but compassion, hospitality and love.

My Youth Exchange Experience in Nepal

 Jenna Douglas

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In my time getting to learn more about the fantastic place I traveled to, someone referred to your country as a place of beauty and peace. It was a description that I quickly agreed with, yet after spending 11 days in Nepal I don’t believe even these words can do your country a justice. My life-changing visit to this place makes me feel that nothing can accurately describe how special this nation is.

 

Upon my first moments in Nepal we were encountered with love from the Rotaract crew from Kathmandu. They took all of our worries off of our shoulders with assisting us with luggage, food, water and a safe travel to Pokhara. Immediately I was shown some of the greatest hospitality in my life. Even with the enthusiasm the group shared whilesinging songs on the bus trip was enough to raise my spirits. After a long journey to our destination, we arrived and was once more greeted by some of the nicest people I had ever met. The beautiful scarfs and flowers we were given made me feel like royalty. It was treatment that continued throughout the entire trip and made me feel like I had hit the jackpot, lucky enough to land a spot on this trip.Out of all of the things of the fantastic things on the trip that made it so memorable, it was the love received from our new friends that stood out for me.

 

15940813_757038667797244_7341128376978790853_nAfter becoming accustomed to the friendliness that I was surrounded by I was then equally impressed by the dedication I saw by my friends. Each Rotaractor took time off of their busy lives to make it a point to welcome us and share their beautiful country with us. It amazed me that even with a busy school or work schedule, they still showed commitment to their organization and made time for their guests. The effort was continued in their service to the community. It amazed me to see how much work they did to serve others that needed it the most.I was so honored to have had the opportunity to distribute stationary supplies to disadvantaged children, and provide them with a new source of happiness. I also enjoyed working with the Asha project helping contribute to necessary earthquake relief in construction, and improving a local park in Kathmandu. These were great opportunities to make a small difference in the lives of others, yet the service we did was incomparable what these Rotaract groups have achieved.

 

eWhat really touched me was how easy it was for all of the people of Nepal to do it. Not once did I hear a complaint and continuously saw smiles on everyone’s faces. The enuthisuam your groups displayed was awesome, and very different from what I was used to in America. You have inspired me to live with a better attitude and become more active in my local area.

15977825_757042401130204_2651254956866711065_n I cannot thank both the Rotaract New Road Pokhara and Rotaract of Kathmandu enough for helping make my trip the best one of my life. If it wasn’t for you guys, I am not sure I believe I would have been able to appreciate your land has to offer. Thanks for treating strangers as your own and building life lasting friendships. You live in a beautiful country that offers not only peace and beauty but compassion, hospitality and love.

Rotaract Exchange an ever Lasting Friendship-

My phone rang.

Deep in an ocean of sleep, I had half a heart to ignore the call but I found my hands searching furiously under my blankets for the phone, strongly programmed to pick it up.

The guests had arrived and I was supposed to pick them up and take them to their hotel rooms. I waded through the dark street, bleary-eyed in a sleep/state and waited for their bus to arrive.

It didn’t take long though and there they were, wide eyed and excited despite the continuous 22-hour long flight and 6-hour drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara. I perked up immediately out of embarrassment and that remained my impression of our new friends; always filled with buoyant enthusiasm and cheerful faces, all through good times and the toughest adversity.

img_1144At Kusma, the adorably chubby Nishu skipped to me and asked ‘Didi, hamilai kina maya garnu vako waha haru le? ‘

Timi haru lai ramro sanga padnu parcha vanni sikauna ko lagi ‘ I replied. Thrilled, she hopped back to play with her new American friends Jenna and Amanda as I sat observing their excitement.

2bThe shy kids were watching her play with them with envy from the corner, clutching the school supplies they’d just received tight and I could imagine Nishu’s heroic gossip at school the next day.

Thousands of miles away from home, it was on our shoulders to make their stay special and productive whilst we hardly knew them. Our club members marshalled all the energy and support imaginable to plan their stay and show them a good time. Looking back now, we don’t have much of a clue to how much it moved them but when you’re in charge of someone, you just really want to make them feel special and here’s what our Rotaract Club of NewRoad did to make each nine day of the ‘Inter Club Youth Exchange Program’ count:

unnamedDay One: Welcome program to our Guests and attendance at the 9th Rotaract District Conference.

Day Two: Attendance at the District Conference and a historic joint International Meeting between 4 Rotaract Clubs.

Day Three: Visit to the Shivapuri Primary School, Puranchaur, Kaski.

Day Four: Sightseeing around the Pokhara Valley.

Day Five: Initiation of hope, welfare and environment conservation by decorating Asha Pokhari and hiking to Stupa.

Day Six: Visit to Prativa Higher Secondary School and the Parbat District for helping disabled school children.

Day Seven: Promotion of Tourism at Kusma, Parbat, visit to Gandaki Boarding School and campfire at Pumdikot.

Day Eight: Stationary distribution ar Maheshowri Secondary School, Pumdi-Bhumdi and a parewell program to our guests.

Day Nine: Bon voyage with promises to meet again.

img_1165Having the exchange program helped us cultivate more meaningful, life-long relationships unlike hanging out with friends only when they’re in the mood. The endless programs and traveling, waking up early when no one wants to be cheerful, eating dinner together after an exhausting day, and everything in between was in stark contrast to today’s texting among ‘friends’ whose experiences often remain superficial.  I thought it helped us become better communicators and more cooperative, assertive, flexible, resilient, patient, grateful, compassionate and forgiving adults and yes, we are Facebook friends! We took many pictures together and it struck me the way our active cameras offered a lens on the value of our culture and the way we live our lives. And yes, it also caused some of us to smile more.

Rtr.Pratima Sharma,  15875432_1870432299858757_2633434467342265188_oRotaract Club of Newroad Pokhara.

RVCC Rotaract member – Making a difference

img_1144Being the current president of The Rotaract Club, a college level organization of Rotary International, connected Manuel Ramirez with Dr. Tulsi Maharjan, President of the Friends of Nepal-NJ and Past Rotary District Governor of the District 7510. Manuel never hesitated to help someone in need, constantly volunteering both in high school and as a young adult. The world of Rotary now opened the door for this humanitarian spirit to help the people of Nepal. Thanks to the connections with Dr. Tulsi, this student at Raritan Valley Community College will experience a different way of life, expand his horizons, and gain a new perspective. Manuel is already putting into practice in Nepal those skills he will learn as he works to obtain his Bachelors in Social Work. An eventual Masters degree and licensure means he can do professionally what he does now to help others.

15875615_1868817890020198_7555762015103204111_oManuel already expresses his deep gratitude for the chance to help the people of Nepal, and gaining a new, humbling experience to share with others. And he has already made deep relationships with Nepal even before departing, connecting with Sujan, a friend of Dr. Tulsi in Nepal. By working to help rebuild houses destroyed by the recent earthquake, and distributing school supplies to Nepalese children, Manuel gains more than continuing his community service. “I know my experience in Nepal will be a humbling one as well as a life changing one.”

asha2Friends of Nepal – NJ is grateful to Manuel and our other volunteers for their commitment to improving the lives of people in Nepal. If you would like to contribute, like Manuel, please reach out to the Asha Project at http://www.theashaproject.org/contact.html to find out more about how you can make a difference.

Thanks Rotaract clubs in Nepal for your great Hospitality.

My trip to Nepal was filled with many Trials and Tribulations, getting sick the day before the flight, getting sick after coming back, and not being able to stay longer. The morning of the flight to Nepal I felt awful I thought I might not be able to go but I told myself I was in to deep and pulled myself together and went on that flight and it was one of the best decision of my life. Our trip to Nepal was everything you can imagine, beautiful landscapes, wonderful people, and delicious food. I met so many new friends that when I come back I will have more than a dozen people happy to welcome me back and I will happy welcome to America if they decide to come. Like a wise man once told me “When we see each other again I hope you say how are you instead of who are you.”

Our friends in Nepal brought us to help and visit wonderful places and people. We sailed across and lake and climbed our way to a Buddhist temple where we saw all of Pokhara. We went to multiple schools and supplied kids with school supplies we brought with us from America. We were honored many different times which made me feel like a star with my fans cheering for me. Our friends even celebrated my birthday got me a cake and made it the best birthday I’ve ever had, with great people, seeing our Nepalese friends pull off some sweet dance moves, and great food and drinks. I recommend this trip to every Rotaract member to experience this, because the road to happiness and success is achieved by meeting happy intellectual people like I did on this trip.

MARCEL GORKA

My Youth Exchange visit to Nepal

Travelling to Nepal was an incredible opportunity that I stumbled upon as a result of being a member of the RVCC Rotaract club. It was a really unique experience that I’m so thankful I got the privilege to be a part of.

The highlight of my trip was getting to meet the amazing members of the NewroadPokhara Rotaract club, who were so welcoming and friendly and amazing tour guides! We built great friendships and developed a fantastic bond between our twin Rotaract clubs.One thing I was really impressed by was the fact that most of the Rotaractors we met were entrepreneurs of some sort, having started at least one business or company and running it successfully. I was so impressed that many of them were starting off their business careers at a young age, and I found that inspiring!

Another memorable part of the trip was getting to experience the beautiful country and culture of Nepal. I was absolutely amazed at the beauty that was all around us wherever we went, I hadn’t expected it to be so gorgeous! It was also so cool to witness the vibrant and beautiful culture of Nepal, which is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. All the people we interacted with were so hospitable and friendly, and it was remarkable to be welcomed into so many different homes and get to see little parts of life in Nepal.

We also did many service projects while we were there, such as distributing school supplies, painting walls and benches, and doing some construction work in Kathmandu. This provided credibility to the missions the various groups are accomplishing, and added to what they were doing already. This opportunity to come alongside these groups and support them was very encouraging and inspiring to me, as well as beneficial to the community. It was also neat to see how the Asha Project is helping people in Nepal, and be a part of that.

I’m so thankful for this opportunity to travel to Nepal, and really grateful to all the people we met for coordinating it and organizing everything so wonderfully. I would encourage anyone else who considering going on a trip like this to seize the opportunity and go for it, you have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

 

AMANDA GREEN

Rotaract Youth Exchange Rotary Districts 7510 USA and-3292 Nepal

 

Sebastian Gallic’s Experience: When we all arrived in Nepal we were unsure about what we would be actually doing. Sure, we had hundreds of pounds of supplies to give out but still we were uneasy. Once leaving the airport we immediately saw the warm welcoming the Nepalese. They were easy going, yet motivated to get things moving on to the next leg of the journey. I will never forget one of the young Rotaractors saying, “ We won’t let you sleep!,”as we began our nine hour long bus ride (after 30 hours of traveling) to Pokhara. This type of energy became a theme on the trip as we realized even when our Nepalese friends looked tired they never complained, always were looking to help, and wanted to take a picture!

Throughout the following 2 weeks there were many opportunities for service but a few really stuck out as making an impact in my life. One of these unique moments was when we arrived at a school about an hour outside of Pokhara to distribute forty some-odd bags of school supplies. The children looked weary as we sat in the hot sun for hours but after giving each of them supplies they seemed to perk up one by one just as did their parents as they watched. A nice ceremony was done to hand the children the supplies which made it feel like an even more special time. Each school was different in how they held these ceremonies and gave out the supplies but they were all so grateful and happy that we were there to help. These types of moments resonated within me as we made our stops to different service opportunities.

Another moment that has impacted me happened just after we ate at a wonderful resort a generous Rotary member hosted. After we ate we had to go outside the resort to wait for a bus. So close to what seemed like paradise yet the area we stepped into was nothing less than the slums. We sat down and began waiting for the bus and occasionally snapped some pictures of the
people around us. Two young girls began to fill around 20 empty liters full of water. After a few moments I joined in and began helping them. The one aspect of this act of kindness was that there was no formal thank you’s, no picture taking, no formal ceremony ( which were all good and healthy); just a human helping another human. This moment was why I went on the trip; I have found that on this trip the informal acts of kindness not recognized by all seemed to be the most impactful moments in my own life.

Each part of the trip had its own flavor yet there was one thing we could always count on: an overwhelming kindness and helpfulness orchestrated by Sujan Regmi. Without his continued support and his attention to detail I do not believe that this trip would have been possible. From orchestrating where we ate to getting someone to help me get to the Catholic church on Sunday afternoon, Sujan did everything with joy. I am extremely grateful to call him, and all the Rotaractors that I met over the course of the trip, my friends. Til next time DHANYABAD