Asha Project Presentation at the Rotary meeting.

Last week our 2018 Humanitarian mission participants presented at the Rotary Club of Branchburg’s meeting.  They presented about their views on various projects development, community development, and working in partnerships with various NGO’s to keep youth involved in Nepal’s economic development process.

They spoke about how this trip has helped to to create partnership with many new organizations and providing HOPE and OPPORTUNITIES  to young people to explore the world of possibilities. The Asha Project’s mission is to help Nepalese people to renew their HOPE and build their FUTURE.  Mission – Purpose driven program.

  • Mission trip helped to:
    Established 4 different scholarships for Dalit students in various parts of Nepal as part of our RAYS OF HOPE PROJECT.

 

  • Micro credit organizations to distribute $100,000 worth of micro-credit loans to earthquake victim areas to help women to develop new business as part of our LEGACY OF HOPE program.
  •  Distributed more than 25 goats to marginalized poor community groups in Durlum court Parbat.

 

  • Needs assessment programs to build two schools in Gorkha, Huwas- Parbat, and Lapshiphedi area as part of our HOMES OF HOPE program.
  • Rotaract Club members who were in Nepal also talked about their personal experiences.

     

  • 2018-19 International Humanitarian Project to build two Schools for the Earthquake Victims and visit Nepal in Mid February 2019.

  • As part of the 2018-19 District International Humanitarian project, we are planning to build two schools for the earthquake victims in Nepal.
    Opportunities are available to go to Nepal to help rebuild homes and schools in mid February 2019. Please let us know, if you are interested. This will be your opportunity to fulfill your BUCKET LIST.

     

Acting Locally and connecting Globally — The Asha Project

As the world become a small global village, we have been able to connect with people from around the world. During our 2018 Humanitarian mission to Nepal, we delivered Branchburg’a Stony Brook students’ messages to students in Nepal. THANK YOU Stony Brook School’s Student Leadership Teams for your thoughtful messages of “HOPE” to your peers […]

via Acting Locally and connecting Globally — The Asha Project

Acting Locally and connecting Globally

As the world become a small global village, we have been able to connect with people from around the world.  During our 2018 Humanitarian mission to Nepal, we delivered Branchburg’a  Stony Brook students’ messages to students in Nepal. THANK YOU Stony Brook School’s Student Leadership Teams for your thoughtful messages of “HOPE” to your peers in Nepal. The Asha Project.www.theashaproject.org.

During 2018 Humanitarian Mission to Nepal our students from the  Stony Brook School’s 4th and 5th grade Leadership Councils participated in an outreach project called “ACTING LOCALLY and CONNECTING GLOBALLY” to support and inspire students from Nepal.

Students supported the Branchburg Rotary’s ASHA Project, an initiative that “provide(s) HOPE in all aspects of life by supporting initiatives that are run by the people of Nepal for the people of Nepal”, the leadership members spearheaded the “FLAGS OF HOPE” project in which they led their classmates in creating flags that sent messages of hope to their peers in Nepal. On the flags were written the word “ASHA” (which means “HOPE” in Nepali) and words of encouragement.

These flags were distributed to students in Nepal to hang in newly constructed schools. The Leadership Councils also organized a school supply drive.
The decorated box, filled with over 100 flags and school supplies.

If any schools like to implement similar project, please let us know. You can contact us at trm7510@gmail.com.

PICTURES FROM SCHOOL SUPPLIES DISTRIBUTION IN NEPAL DURING OUR 2018 Humanitarian Mission.

Fellowship with the next generation of Rotary leaders

The highlight of the 2018 Humanitarian Mission to Nepal was meeting with many Rotaract club members from Nepal.  We even had three Rotaract club members who came back to visit again since they enjoyed their first trip so much.  We  had opportunity to talk to many Rotaract club members from variou clubs in Nepal.  Rotaract clubs of Parbat,  New Road- Pokhara,  Gorkha, Babarmahal-Rudramati,  Lalitpur,  Yala and many more clubs.

We made special presentations on various topics including opportunities and challenges in the United States. We shared our personal experiences and talked about entrepreneurship.

We visited many projects and distributed schools supplies and establish new rotary scholarships.

In retrospect, our Humanitarian mission was definitely a great learning experience for us. All the experiences made our life more open to the world, more colorful, and more hopeful and bright.

 

2018 Nepal – Humanitarian Mission to Nepal

NJ Rotary District 7510 and Friends of Nepal-NJ have banded together to establish the ASHA PROJECT to help the people of Nepal to rebuild homes, schools, libraries and provide school scholarships and school supplies as well as $100,000 worth of micro loans. Working in partnership with a number of organizations in Nepal and USA, volunteers have been bringing hope and opportunities for a better future to some of the world’s poorest people in Nepal.  We would like to thank everyone for your continues support.

During our 2018  Humanitarian mission we visited many schools, community groups and 5 districts to explore possible joint projects with them.  Thanks to all our supporters.  With your continued support we have been able to provide HOPE and OPPORTUNITIES  to many community people and students in Nepal.

 

If you like to support visit http://www.theashaproject.org.

 

Perspectives from the Asha Project Humanitarian Mission 2018

In February, we traveled with 5 professionals to Nepal on our 2018 Humanitarian mission.  We spoke with many Nepal’s top leaders about their views on the development projects, community development, funding, the type of public leadership Nepal needs, the complexity of the Nepalese government, the true balancing act of what NGO’s work in Nepal and how those funds been misused as well as how to develop youth entrepreneurship in Nepal to keep youth involved in Nepal’s economic development process.

We also created partnership with many new organizations and gave some HOPE and OPPORTUNITIES  to young people to explore the world of possibilities. The Asha Project’s mission is to help Nepalese people to renew their HOPE AND build their FUTURE.  With your continued support we hope to accomplish what we have planned out in the near future.

During this mission trip:

  • We established 4 scholarships for Dalit students in various parts of Nepal as part of our RAYS OF HOPE PROJECT.

  • We worked out a deal with two Micro credit organizations to distribute $100,000 worth of micro-credit loans to earthquake victim areas to help women to develop new business as part of our LEGACY OF HOPE program.

  • Distributed more than 25 goats to marginalized poor community groups in Durlum court Parbat.

  • Did needs assessment programs to build two schools in Gorkha and Lapshiphedi area as part of our HOMES OF HOPE program.

One additional perspective from our team member, Philippe Topdjian,

“Finally, my largest takeaway is that Nepal is ready. The people are ready for a change. There is so much motivation to become further educated and develop new skills. There is a lot of drive to change the worlds in which they live. However, the challenge lies with fostering champions who will lead Nepal to its future. Those who have the ability to leave Nepal, but choose to stay and create a difference. The opportunities and NEED for local entrepreneurs is what can save Nepal and create the systemic change needed. Those are the leaders who can help create local solutions that address the challenges of tomorrow’s farmers leaving for the big cities, access to clean water, the ever increasing demand for electricity, and increasing tourism without disrupting local cultures. The question now becomes, how can we help empower these individuals make this happen?”

If you like to learn more about our project visit http://www.theashaproject.org.

My Nepal Story — The Asha Project

In the blink of an eye I was sandwiched between nearly 40% of the world’s population (China and India), as I stepped into another culture to learn about my own. This was no ordinary place or country, it was Nepal. I was walking on holy land where Buddha was born, and the world’s highest mountain […]

via My Nepal Story — The Asha Project

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN NEPAL

28167984_10156142806180960_755626770652845312_nGoing on The Asha Project’s annual Nepal trip was extremely eye opening to me. First and foremost, when stepping off the plane, you quickly realize how different Nepal is from every other country you’ve visited. It’s different from India and China (even though they are neighbors). It’s different from the Middle East (even though many Nepalese go there to work). It’s difference at times can be hard to describe. However, two things I noticed right away were that poverty was not directly in your face with visible homeless and beggars (like in many places in India), and the gender ratio on the street was a lot more evenly balanced (around 60% male and 40% female) when compared to my trip to India where it felt like at least 90% of the individuals out and about were men.

28167124_1414679378655532_4470445280648126239_nThis trip was a humble reminder of how political some nations are. A large portion of our time was spent visiting with politicians, local Rotary and Rotaract clubs, schools, and remote villages. In these meetings we often were not actively building the change that we were seeking for, but rather inspiring for change and gaining alignment/commitments among stakeholders to better ensure the success of the proposed projects after our short time in Nepal ends.

There are three takeaways that I have from this trip. The first is regarding technology. I was shocked that no matter how remote the village we were in, there was always strong cellular signal. Nepal’s ability to keep connectivity put the US’s ability to shame. However, when it comes to land lines, forget about it. This shows that in an underdeveloped country, there are opportunities to skip steps in the technological revolution that could drastically improve the lives of those living there thus saving time, money, and reducing environmental impact. We need to always keep this in mind as we work on projects there because we may not be thinking big enough if we are working on projects that only take the country up one level instead of multiple levels in one initiative.

Secondly, we heard from a few individuals in different cities that “The people are rich, but the government is poor”. While there still is vast poverty in Nepal, it appears as if there is a sizable middle class. However, when you consider the 250% tax on all vehicles causing Nepalese to pay as much for a motorcycle as I did for my car, or the price of buying a small rundown apartment (comparable to the price in many US cities), you can’t help but wonder where this money is coming from, where is it going to, and how can it could be used differently if the government corruption was not as extreme.

Finally, my largest takeaway is that Nepal is ready. The people are ready for a change. There is so much motivation to become further educated and develop new skills. There is a lot of drive to change the worlds in which they live. However, the challenge lies with fostering champions who will lead Nepal to its future. Those who have the ability to leave Nepal, but choose to stay and create a difference. The opportunities and NEED for local entrepreneurs is what can save Nepal and create the systemic change needed. Those are the leaders who can help create local solutions that address the challenges of tomorrow’s farmers leaving for the big cities, access to clean water, the ever increasing demand for electricity, and increasing tourism without disrupting local cultures. The question now becomes, how can we help empower these individuals make this happen?

Thank you for your support.

 

With your financial support, during our 2018 USA-Nepal Humanitarian mission, we were able to provide Hope and opportunities to more than 2000 individuals, students and community members.  Thank you for your continued support.

  • Visited rebuild communities in Nepal after the earthquakes.

  • 28167291_10156135449695960_7600463580289170510_n
  • Conducted needs assessment to rebuild, renovate and/or support schools in remote villages.

  • Sponsored primary and secondary school Dalit students with scholarships.

  • Provided more than $100,000  micro credits loans to people who were affected by the earthquake.

  • Conducted leadership program for Nepalese youth.

  • Visited future vocational training centers for women and poor people.

  • Provided Hope and opportunities for many poor people in Nepal.

  • Thank you for your continued support.  If you like to support our project, visit http://www.theashaproject.org.

USA-Nepal Humanitarian Mission – Clay Mason’s story.

Just when we thought the day was coming to an end, as we looked at each other’s exhausted dust covered faces, King Tulsi would suddenly remind himself that we have another site to visit before dinner. Without much hesitation, the five of us jump into another four-passenger taxi and head for an orphanage.

28168705_10156148743285960_6821904311325882912_nWe entered the steel gates of the St. Xaviers Social Service Center and were greeted by 50 or more orphans, of all ages and backgrounds, from every corner of Nepal. They gathered in a big circle and very impressively introduced themselves to us in English.

We then distributed school supplies and listened to their dreams and aspirations of becoming doctors, singers and social workers. One child that stood out, who I seemed to easily bond with, wanted to be a business man.

I thought that he was brave and I was tempted to give him an extra pencil or two. But all in all, the children were filled with spirit and determination to seek a brighter future. I was taken by how grateful and ambitious they were, considering their circumstances. It was an experience I will never forget.

Clay Mason’s Nepal Experience story.

But just before I had time to think, the ASHA Team of five are squeezing into a small four passenger taxi heading to our next mission. It was during these long and treacherous rides that we began to taste the dust of the Kathmandu Valley, and really bond as a team.

We then transferred to a large off-road bus that was of full of colorful tapestries that hung across the front dashboard and windshield. Full of Rotaract students, we packed in like sardines and headed for the mountain top.

We didn’t miss a bump, not even one. When I looked down at the steep cliffs of death below, I realized the bumps are what kept us on course and safe. When we reached the top of the mountain overlooking the entire Durlung Valley, we were greeted by the villagers like royalty, underneath a majestic white temple.

27858855_10156128478430960_8628536406221946333_nAt that moment I begin to swallow my pride as something touched me deep inside my heart. I could feel the gratefulness glaring from the villagers’ eyes. It was hard to described but enough to make me pause life for one still moment, like everything stopped around me.

27972282_1906719012731548_3344850967117356168_n

There, we delivered 25 goats, distributed school supplies to the children, and planted numerous trees together with the villagers on this very holy site. To end each mission, Tulsi would deliver an inspirational address, that lifted the spirits, hopes and dreams of not only the villagers, but to all who were listening that day. Where there’s is a will, there’s is a way!.

DSC_9703

My Nepal Story

In the blink of an eye I was sandwiched between nearly 40% of the world’s population (China and India), as I stepped into another culture to learn about my own. This was no ordinary place or country, it was Nepal. I was walking on holy land where Buddha was born, and the world’s highest mountain peaks stand. A place where the  cow is sacred and often seen roaming the streets aimlessly, as if they were homeless gods. And this was just the beginning.

Each morning around 5:30am, I woke to the sound of bells and gongs as visitors entered the nearby temples in early prayer.  As I yawned to wake myself up, I could see my breath pass though the cold crisp morning air. Following a refreshing ice cold shower, hardboiled egg, toast and luckily some instant coffee, we were out the door onto our mission. King Tulsi, lead the way as we visited numerous schools, orphanages, Rotary project meetings, and villages throughout Nepal. The momentum never stopped. We hiked through villages, four-wheeled through mountainous terrain, and darted in and out of the chaotic city traffic on the backs of Rotaract scooters to get to our destinations. The rides were almost always death defying. But if I closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best, we would always make it to our destination alive.

Each place we visited, I couldn’t help being shaken by the poor conditions and lack of resources of each site; at the same time inspired by the spirit and resilience of the Nepali people. One school that stood out the most was The Bamboo School in Patan, Kathmandu. It was made completely out of, well, bamboo. It was held together with traditional mud bond and wire, supporting the walls and ceilings. The first thing that came to mind was the story of The Three Little Pigs.  Lucky there was no Big Bad Wolf in sight.

DSC_9703.JPGWe spoke with the teachers and listened to their ideas on how to improve the conditions of the school. Clearly a need for urgent repair and upkeep was necessary, but water and dust management seemed to be on their priority list. After assessing the situation, we discussed our ongoing commitments to further support the school. We also listened to the children, as they played in the dusty playground. Their laughter and smiles were filled with confidence, spirit and gratefulness while we distributed school supplies donated from the USA. Most noteworthy was their ability to speak English. The students gracefully thanked us in our mother tongue. They also wrote short stories for us in English about their dreams and aspirations of being doctors, flight attendants, dancers and the like. In that moment I thought about my own culture and our children in the USA, and wondered.

DSC_9566

But just before I had time to think, the ASHA Team of five are squeezing into a small four passenger taxi heading to our next mission. It was during these long and treacherous rides that we began to taste the dust of the Kathmandu Valley, and really bond as a team. We then transferred to a large off-road bus that was of full of colorful tapestries that hung across the front dashboard and windshield. Full of Rotaract students, we packed in like sardines and headed for the mountain top. We didn’t miss a bump, not even one. When I looked down at the steep cliffs of death below, I realized the bumps are what kept us on course and safe. When we reached the top of the mountain overlooking the entire Durlung Valley, we were greeted by the villagers like royalty, underneath a majestic white temple. At that moment I begin to swallow my pride as something touched me deep inside my heart. I could feel the gratefulness glaring from the villagers’ eyes. It was hard to described but enough to make me pause life for one still moment, like everything stopped around me.

 

There, we delivered 25 goats, distributed school supplies to the children, and planted numerous trees together with the villagers on this very holy site. To end each mission, Tulsi would deliver an inspirational address, that lifted the spirits, hopes and dreams of not only the villagers, but to all who were listening that day. Where there’s is a will, there’s is a way!.

DSC_1484Just when we thought the day was coming to an end, as we looked at each other’s exhausted dust covered faces, King Tulsi would suddenly remind himself that we have another site to visit before dinner. Without much hesitation, the five of us jump into another four-passenger taxi and head for an orphanage. We entered the steel gates of the St. Xaviers Social Service Center and were greeted by 50 or more orphans, of all ages and backgrounds, from every corner of Nepal. They gathered in a big circle and very impressively introduced themselves to us in English. We then distributed school supplies and listened to their dreams and aspirations of becoming doctors, singers and social workers. One child that stood out, who I seemed to easily bond with, wanted to be a business man. I thought that he was brave and I was tempted to give him an extra pencil or two. But all in all, the children were filled with spirit and determination to seek a brighter future. I was taken by how grateful and ambitious they were, considering their circumstances. It was an experience I will never forget.

DSC_0217.JPG

We closed each evening snacking on Dal Bhat, Momo, and of course, washing it down with some local spirits as we reflected on all the places and hearts we touched that day. Like many who describe their brief travels to Nepal, I could write a book. It was one of the most fulfilling adventures I have had in a long time. A true honor to serve those in need. This was an experience I wish upon anyone. I would do it again.  As one of my dear Nepali friends said to me while we strolled along Phew Lake in Pokhara, “Everyone comes back to Nepal”. I think she maybe right

Till my next visit.

Clay Mason

 

.