As a child in Nepal, I used to wait for the Nepali New Year to receive a box from the Nepal Red Cross which is sent from the United States Red Cross. That was my favorite month of the year, waiting for a special box that contained two pencils, a pencil sharpener, an eraser and maybe a piece of candy. That was forty eighty years ago.
In 1972, I left Nepal to further my education after finishing my high school. During my college years, I did not think about those old days. After being in the States for ten years, I saved enough money to visit my home country. During my visit, I encountered with two little girls who were collecting pennies outside a temple. I asked the girls why they were not in school.
I found out that their parents could not afford to send them to school. That was my turning point that was when I found my purpose – providing opportunities for poor children to get education. As Picasso said “the meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away”. I came back from my trip with the determination to send those two girls to school. I started to organize small events to raise funds for scholarship programs. During my second visit to Nepal in 1990, I challenge group of Rotary members from the Patan Rotary to match my donation of $500 to start a scholarship fund for poor children. Now, after 25 years, that program is providing more than 500 scholarships for public school children across Nepal.
The Nepal Project has become my passion. As of now, we have completed more than half a million dollars’ worth of projects to provide safe drinking water, to building libraries and establishing computer labs. During my Rotary Governorship, I used the theme “Passion into Action”. That passion is now in a full gear, especially, after the big earthquake in Nepal in April 2015.
My passion has infected my family. I am working along with my son and daughter on our new project called the “Asha Project”. Asha means hope in Nepali. We working to give the poor in Nepal hope and opportunities. HOPE and OPPORTUNITIES brought me to this county forty five years ago andwe are trying to provide to people of Nepal the same hope and opportunities.
In partnership with the Rotary Club of Mahabouddha, we just started distributing a $100,000 Rotary Foundation micro credit grant to earthquake victims. We are also in the process of working with the Rotary Club of Lalitpur to set up computer labs in six schools with $50,000 grant from the Rotary Foundation.
During our 2018 humanitarian mission trip, we visited many community schools to distributed school supplies to students and also conducted workshops for young people. Our small amount of money goes long way in Nepal. If you stopped drinking a Starbucks coffee once a week, we can save enough money to send one child to school in Nepal for a whole year. As an African proverb says, “Things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy”. So what kind of legacy we want to leave behind?
Whatever your passion is, whatever idea you’ve been dreaming of for these years, embrace it! Let’s put our PASSION INTO ACTION and try to help those who are less fortunate than us.
Thankfully, we all have gifts to give/share with each other and the world. So be it. ~ Namaste.
Visit http://www.theashaproject.org for more information about our project. Thank you.