Many thanks for making FONNJ’s 10th year of LEGACY CIRCLE program a great success. With 87,000 worth of donations from LEGACY CIRCLE members, Nepal Earthquake Relief fund, the Asha Project and various Rotary Clubs, we have been able to receive matching grants from the Rotary International pushing our funds to $550,000.
Over the last five years, we sent 35 Rotaract students to Nepal to learn about culture and build better friendship and distribute over 6000 pounds of school supplies. The US Rotaract students along with their Nepali counterparts have distributed the school supplies, warm clothes and blankets; and participated in various community projects. Collaboration with several organizations have allowed us to accomplish a great deal.
Our annual humanitarian missions to Nepal from 2016-2020 has helped us to visit many schools, community groups, projects as well as carrying gifts from our members and supplies from district Rotary club members.
In early January 2020, we began working with the Rotary club of Patan-West to create the Rays of Hope Scholarship Fund for 100 school children in remote villages. Our collaboration with the Rotary club of Patan has already been providing more than 100 scholarships each year. During the same trip, we were able to set up a science lab at the Bal Kumari School at Sunakothi, thanks to support from the America-Nepal Friendship Society of NY. We also provided $100,000 matching grant we received from the Rotary International to two NGO’s to start the Micro Credit projects in several villages.
With the help from the Asha Project and the Rotary club of Branchburg, we distributed chickens at the Barumchuli Village in Lalitpur and Mushara village in Sauraha, Chitwan.
In late 2019, we took over 18 Rotary members on a humanitarian mission. They helped conduct two health camps, visited schools; distributed 5000 pounds of school supplies donated by the Color for Kids Foundation.
All of these projects were possible only because of the generosity of our LEGACY CIRCLE MEMBERS and our supporting partners. The COVID-19 has made fundraising by us and our supporting organizations almost impossible. The needy of Nepal are looking to you for help. Your donation and membership with the Legacy Circle will go a long way in helping needy people in Nepal. Let’s leave a LEGACY OF HOPE.
With best wishes for you & yours, Tulsi R. Maharjan, Ph.D. Chair, Friend of Nepal-New Jersey Past District Governor, Rotary District 7475 Founder, the Asha Project
What does a goat mean to women and communities in Nepal?
Empowering Nepalese women and feeding families are important missions within the ASHA Project.
The women assisted via our goat project tell us that keeping goats increases their earnings, provides pediatric nutrition via milk and enables them to save for their children’s health and education. From feelings of marginalization and despair, these women are shaping their own destinies. They come together in new ways, discussing husbandry and feeding matters, behaviors and signs of goat health and well-being. Any feelings of despair fade away and are replacement by hope, togetherness, female-empowerment and influence.
Since 2013, The Friends of Nepal –New Jersey (now the Asha Project) has been helping women in Nepal. Our first project was launched in 2013 with a special orientation session on how to raise goats. This was held in the Godamchaur (district of Lalitpur, Nepal) and thirty-five women participated. From those 35, 25 were selected who were able to demonstrate the skills required to raise animals.
Since 2011 we have been distributing goats in many other villages and districts.
Durlum Court (Parbat district) with the help of the Rotary Club of Hamilton
Dharan – Auntie Carol’s Pasture (Eastern Nepal) – St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
Three sisters in Sindhupalchok District – Rotary club of Hamilton
Rotary Village in Barumchuli, Patan. Various Rotary Clubs
Godamchaur (district of Lalitpur, Nepal) – Friends of Nepal-NJ
HOW DO WE FEED 9.7 Billion PEOPLE?
By the year 2050, there will be 9.7 billion people on planet Earth. Currently, we’re failing to feed just over 7 billion.
To meet the ever-growing need for food while preserving the ecosystems we depend upon, humanity will need to innovate. Livestock systems must be available to impoverished communities, to decrease their environmental footprint, and to make products accessible to those who need them most.
The NEPAL Goat PROJECT is the brainchild of the Asha Project. We aim to achieve food security through environmentally sustainable interventions. We prioritize animal welfare and act on community-defined need as we work to solve one of the world’s toughest problems.
ASHA invites contributions, comments, ideas that will assist our pursuit of a fundamental human right – receiving food.
Next Step: Rotary Global Grant Project:
Goat farming is a profitable business with a low investment because of its multi-functional utility like meat and milk production. Goats are widely used livestock in Nepal. Goat farming will help to generate income in rural Nepal. Every year Nepal important more than 50,000 bucks from India and China so there is a very good market for the goal project.
SCOPE: 1000 WOMEN IN 10 DISTRICTS IN 5 YEARS
From those first 25 women going out to change their own lives and those of their communities via the Goat Project, 500 women are now engaged in making a positive sustainable difference.
Within the Goat Project, participants receive goats, plants for forage and fodder, group savings and micro credit loans, access to literacy and gender equity training.
Yet, although we are happy about our progress to date, we will not rest. Change is on the horizon. Your support helps the Asha Project train and equips Nepali women across 10 districts to dramatically increase family income, well-being and self-empowerment through the production and sale of goats and goat products.
Our goal is help Nepalese women’s groups, support women-led farmer cooperatives and women-led self-help groups that provide literacy, gender equity, group savings and other opportunities. ASHA wants women to flourish, and, in time, be completely self-directed and independent.
We know – because we have been told this – that this aim is shared by women worldwide. Therefore, once again, please consider becoming involved.
WHERE DOES MY MONEY GO?
Let’s ask Yoda…
Yoda confirms that the Asha Project prides itself in transparency. 100% of your donation goes to the project.
Friends of Nepal- NJ is a New Jersey-based nonprofit with the goal of providing humanitarian support for Nepal. FONNJ has extensive in-country experience in Nepal and provides ongoing valuable advisory services during Asha Project’s micro credit project implementation.
In January and February 2020 we kicked off Humanitarian Mission 2020. This mission is about building hope and opportunity for the people of Nepal. We conducted health camps, sponsored schools and orphanages, and did needs assessments to further develop our impact in Nepal. #Peopleofaction #rotaryinaction #theashaproject #FONNJ #sustainabledevelopment #humandevelopment
HELPING poor people in Nepal to rebuild their LIVES and renew their HOPE.
The Asha Project is a joint project of the Friends of Nepal-NJ (FONNJ) and the Rotary club of Branchburg to help poor people in Nepal by focusing on education, micro credit and homes and community building.
ASHA PROJECT works in collaboration with many organizations to support community schools, health centers, micro credit projects and scholarships in Nepal.
With our ASHA PROJECT’S three pillar model, we are providing HOPE & OPPORTUNITIES for thousands of people in Nepal.
“What will really stick with me for the rest of my life are the youth leaders. They are such an inspiration to me and I can only imagine the great things they will accomplish in their lives.When you think about the ripple effect that will have, you really start to feel a sense of the scale of what is being accomplished by our ASHA PROJECT”.
Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan, Founder, The Asha Project
FONNJ has worked in Nepal for the past 29 years to provide humanitarian support. With a small investment of $500 made to start an educational fund 29 years ago, now we are providing more than 500 scholarships a year.
We have completed more than 17 Rotary Foundation grants in Nepal worth more than $950,000 to improve water, sanitation, health and educational opportunities for more than 70,000 people in Nepal.
KEY MILESTONES REACHED IN 2019
RAYS OF HOPE
5000+ scholarships provided to date helping 50,000 students access to education and school supplies
5000+ students enrolled in our computer literacy Digital Divide project
150 girls graduated secondary school from Schools since 2000
HOMES OF HOPE – HEALTH
Helping families stay healthy and thrive for generations
$15,000+ in medical supplies provided to date to health service
8000+ patients served to date at various Health Camps
LEGACY OF HOPE
Empowering parents to earn a sustainable income
10,000+ women empowered to date with financial independence
200+ women empowered through a new Women’s Empowerment Program
500+ participants trained in financial literacy and animal husbandry to lift a community out of poverty
JOIN US – MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE
It is amazing how a short, four letter words can represent so much. ASHA means HOPE in Nepali, and that is our purpose. I would like to personally thank you for being a part of the team. Your support for the ASHA PROJECT has transformed the lives of not just individuals, but entire communities, empowering them with the tools to break the cycle of poverty.
“We truly believe in the work ASHA PROJECT is doing in Nepal, they are making a huge impact in Nepal, not only with the services and support they provide, but also with the inspiration and education they provide to youth all over Nepal to make a difference and change our world for the better. ASHA PROJECT creates global citizens.”
Rotary club of Patan West.
YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT WILL HELP
[ ] $50 To provide meals for students.
[ ] $75 Send one student to school.
[ ] $100 Buy two goats for family.
[ ] $100 Support young ladies with sanitary pads.
[ ] $350 Support one student with a uniform and school supplies for one year.
[ ] $500 Establish E-library.
[ ] $500 Start a business with micro credit.
Call us if you would like to work with us to make a difference in the lives of people in Nepal.
Mentor, friend, wife, grandmother,great grandmother—Usha lived a life of many roles and with many talents. Born in Nepal 88 years ago, Mrs. Maharjan would ultimately become one of the most-beloved and well-respected person in Pulchowk. We call her an “Unofficial Mayor of Pulchowk”. She was the pillar of the community and family.
She was not educated, however, she managed to send her two sons to China and USA to study. She admitted her grand kids and great grant kids to St. Xavier and St. Mary school and helped many underprivileged children to get into St. Xavier school and other schools in Patan.
Helped many local people financially and motivating people in the community to do better by giving her life example.
In 1960 she worked in China with the Nepalese Ambassador Mr. Keshar Bahadur KC and took her elder son along with the family to study in China.
One year celebration of Life and Legacy of Mrs. Maharjan at the NJ Buddhist vihara.
One year celebration of Life and Legacy of Mrs. Maharjan. Due to Covid19 pandemic, I was not able to go to Nepal to conduct one year celebration so our families gathered at the NJ Buddhist Vihara to conduct the one year SARADA.
In 1972 she managed to send her 15 year old son to America to study.
Even though she was not a Rotarian she lived by Rotary’s 4 way test.
While her notoriety was great and her accolades numerous, for many in the community, she was a mentor. Approachable and authentic, Mrs. Maharjan was available to community people to help anyway possible.
We continue to celebrate her Life and Legacy by creating a Memorial scholarship at her favorite St. Xavier School during my visit to Nepal on the occasion of the 60 day celebration .
May she REST IN PEACE.
TRIBUTES FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILIES:
TRIBUTES AND MEMORIES FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILIES:
Sauni Didi Memories
It was in 1980, when I first came to Nepal, that I met Didi and Sauji. At that time they had a tuck shop in our school to supply stationey for the hostel students. She was very friendly with the students and spoke to them lovingly like a mother. Later the hostel was no more and the shop also was closed. She had good rapport with all the fathers and brothers. Later every year she used to invite us to her house during Dashain for a big “bhoj” with home-made Newari raksi. She took pride in saying that this raksi is more than 30 years old. “Nathini pani janmeko thiyena”, she would often say. It was really of excellent quality. Occasionally she would send a bottle for me saying it is cold medicine for you.
Many students remember her sitting at the guard house for long hours. When Fr.Marty Coyne was alive he was her companion near the gate. She knew all the news and gossips around Jawalakhel and would share with Fr.Coyne. At dinner table Fr.Coyne would share the same news with us. She enjoyed the company of children and many would greet her “Namaste” at the gate, and some would take her blessing. One negative aspect of her life was that she could never accept the fact that her younger son married a “kuire” girl from the USA, though didi was very friendly and close to many American fathers for many decades !
In the last couple of years it was difficult for her to walk and someone would reach her to school and take her back home. At Dashain time she felt bad that she could not feed us due to ill health. On the occasion of important Nepali festivals she would give a party to the fathers and the maintenance staff of the school. Often she would ask about the fathers who are here and abroad, especially about those who are sick. After my mother died last year I visited her and said, “My mother is gone, now you are my mother.” She was very happy to hear that.
She had a lot her friends in Patan area and they visited her often. Though she was wealthy she liked to live a simple life. Till the last days of her life she had good memory and recognized people easily even by voice. I am happy that God did not give her much suffering in her last days and she bid us goodbye after a few days of sickness.
***We miss your loving presence at our school, Didi,
We miss your sweet smile that refreshed us
And your love filled words that comforted us.
Thank you for being part of our lives
May you be counted in the company of the angels
And may the Lord of love reward you abundantly***
Fr. A. V. Mathew, S.J., St. Xavier’s School, Jawalakhel
Rajeeb Thapa Director Energy Efficiency Power Solution Pvt. Ltd.
Keith Federman Sending my condolences. I’m very sorry for your loss Tulsi. If the values we instill in others, and the caring and kindness is legacy what we leave behind, she has left quite a legacy. Sending prayers.
खुसी को कुनै आकार हुदैन हामी जति सुकै ठुला भएपनी साना साना उपहार अनि साथ मा पनि खुसी हुन सक्छौ । होला कसैलाई अर्थहिन लाग्ने त्यही चिज अरुकोहिलाई मुल्यवान् हुन सक्छ त्यस्तै हर चिज यसरी नै चल्दछ ।
हामिलाई कुनैदिन कक्षा मा पढाउदै गर्दा सर ले भन्नुभएको थियो “तिमीले कुनै प्रतियोगिता मा प्रथम भएर पाएको पुरस्कार एउटा ५ रुपैया को कलम मात्र पाएपनी त्यो पुरस्कार पुरस्कार नै हुनेछ अनि त्यस्को पनि महत्व उत्तिकै हुनेछ ” त्यस्तैगरि हामिले मन बाट कसैलाई गरेको सानो सहयोग पनि महत्वपूर्ण हुन्छ ।
उनिहरुको हर प्रयास मा सफलता अनि असफलता मा हामी साथ हुनु मात्र पनि उनिहरुको उदेश्य मा अर्को नया आसा थप्नु हो । नेपालको कुना काप्चा अनि दुर्गम ठाउका साना साना बच्चा तथा गरिब असहाय लाई सहायता गर्नु नै यो प्रोजेक्ट को मुल उदेश्य हो।
एउटा लेख्ने कलम वा लेखिने कपि का कारण कुनै बालबालिका को शिक्षा नरोकिओस् उनिहरुको सपना नखुम्चिओस् भनी यो अभियान अघि बढीरहेछ ।
The Mission: The GSE program is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for young professionals in their initial years of professional life. Rotary districts in different countries are paired to send and receive professional study groups of four to six non-Rotarian team members and one Rotarian team leader to travel for three to four weeks, staying in the homes of Rotarians when possible.
However, DG Ray Freaney from District 7475 wanted to have Rotaract members have the opportunity to not only learn about new culture and tradition, but also work on ongoing projects in Nepal. To fit this mission, a GSE team Rotarians and Rotaractors from our district visited Rotary District 3292 in January for three weeks. We will also have an opportunity to host a delegation from Nepal later in the year.
The Team: The District GSE team leads were PDG Tulsi Maharjan from the Branchburg Club and Robert Weisman from the Somerville – Bridgewater Club, and two Rotaract members were selected to participate in this program. The team of Rotaract members were Elizabeth Guinta and Monika Perez from the Raritan Valley Community College Rotaract club.
The Assignment: During the visit to Nepal, the GSE team members visited and observed and learned about the local history, culture and worked on many humanitarian projects, while sharing their own culture and traditions with their hosts and Nepalese Rotaract members.
Team lead PDG Tulsi Maharjan: In addition to leading the team, Tulsi worked with various Rotary and Rotaract clubs in Nepal to expand our Rotary District’s ASHA PROJECT, which has been going on since the major earthquake in Nepal in 2015. More than 10 Rotaract clubs from Nepal participated in the Humanitarian mission projects in Nepal, visited many schools, Orphanages and worked on hands on projects with Rotaract members in Nepal.
Robert Weiseman: wanted to learn about how Nepal is developing Mushroom farm and tryed to prepare to take a new VTT team to Nepal to help Nepalese farmers prepare and encourage to develop emerging technologies and become innovators.
Elizabeth Guinta: worked with students from Nepal and visited many schools and orphanages. During her time in Nepal, Elizabeth was excited to experience how schools are using teaching methods in Nepal, especially in early childhood education settings. On her return her goal is to share her knowledge with others on campus and increase cultural understanding and thereby bridge the gaps that inevitably occur.
Monika: Visited various orphanages and even join the “Mitini” program (lifelong Friendship). She is looking forward to visiting again to Nepal to work with new Rotaract friends in Nepal with new projects.
Join us at the District conference to hear from the team about their exciting GSE trip to Nepal. I, for one, looking forward to hearing about their exciting experiences in Nepal.
50 years ago I was in a receiving end, waiting for a “Small Box of gift” from the USA. Every year I used to wait for that day when I receive that small box of gift containing two pencils, eraser and few candies. That was what I most wanted in the world.
Now a day, when I visit Nepal, I reach into my backpack, and hand students with a pen and pencil, and see a wave of possibility washed over the student.
Seeing a smile and brightened wide open eye is my sense of happiness. I see the profound power and promise brought through something as small as giving a pencil or a pen. That is our ASHA project.
We would like to thank our supporters for making our 2020 Humanitarian mission successful. Your support is greatly appreciated. Thank you again.
एउटा पेन्सिल ले बच्चाको मुहारमा खुसी ल्याउछ भने पेन्सिल किन नदिने ? By Pankag Bahadur Dhami, Rotaract club of Rudramati-Babarmahal,
If one pencil can bring a smile – why not give them the pencil?
Seeing a smile and brightened wide open eye is our sense of happiness. We see the profound power and promise brought through something as small as giving a pencil, notebook or a pen. That is our ASHA project’s “Gift of Hope” for Nepal.
ASHA means HOPE in Nepali language.
Providing hope and opportunities are the Asha project’s purpose. To provide hope in all aspects of life by supporting initiatives that are run by the people of Nepal for the people of Nepal.
“3 years old chubby girl smiled and thanked when her mother taught her to thank for a pencil. Along with me; my friends are seeing this scenario and capturing it in our humanitarian mission to Ilam. Our leader Dr. Tulsi Maharjan has a unique way to bring happiness and smile in people faces” .
It was an early morning and we are on a morning walk in Sriantu, Ilam. As usual Tulsi sir carried his backpack with school supplies. On the way, when he sees a child, he gives out what ever come out of his backpack and that brings a smile of happiness from the children.
His philosophy is that if one pencil or pen can bring a smile in a child’s face why not?
Over the last 29 years, he has visited many village schools in Nepal, handing out thousands of pens, pencils or notebooks across many districts in Nepal. These pencils, these small pieces of potential, led to powerful conversations with local parents and children across countless languages. These are the guidelines on which ASHA Project was created in 2015 after the major earthquake in Nepal.
I had the opportunity to witness the big smile and happiness during our moringing walk in Ilam. After receiving a pencil, 4 year old boy Darshan and his friend Sandesh looked very happy. That was my Rotaract moment, knowing that even giving up a cup of tea once a week, I can bring big smiles on the lives of poor children in Nepal. I am sure that, I will cherish, seeing a happiness and a big smile on those children’s face.
We were enjoying the moment from the backside and suddenly they waved their hand and thanked us. That moment my heart felt very content, knowing that how a small pencil can bring happiness and joy. So if a pencil can bring happiness in life why don’t we do it ?
The Asha Project’s annual humanitarian mission 2020 took place from January 11 to Feburarey 18th, 2020.
THE ASHA PROJECT is uniquely postured to provide this assistance because of collaborative partnership with various organizations in Nepal.
The Asha Project always works in cooperation with other Rotary & Rotaract clubs and nongovernmental organizations.
Humanitarian Mission often result in saving lives and promoting goodwill in Nepal. Additionally, these Mission help build partnerships wih local organizations and schools.
THE ASHA PROJECT ’s humanitarian aid efforts are not new. During our early visits in 1990, we planted seed of hope with a small scholarship funds to start a scholarship and conducted several Rotary Foundation grants.
Special Humanitarian Mission started after 2015 earthquake in Nepal. THE ASHA PROJECT took part in a large-scale humanitarian operation in 2015 in Nepal called Gift of Hope, after a major earthquake.
Working with students
A recent humanitarian mission was in Illam, Jhapa and to provide school supplies, computer labs was very fulfilling because this remote area did not have computer labs and libraries. We distributed computers, conducted eye camp and set up school libraries at various schools.
An example of a large THE ASHA PROJECT humanitarian project took place in 2018 to distribute $100,000 micro credit loans to two NGO’s on Nepal in cooperation with the Mahabouddha Rotary club.
We continue to work in partnership with various Rotary clubs in Nepal to promote and develop humanitarian work in Nepal.
Sandra Cisneros once said “The older I get, the more I’m conscious of ways very small things can make a change in the world. Tiny little things, but the world is made up of tiny matters, isn’t it?” I think the world is also made up of tiny actions, the little things we do for one another are sometimes the actions that have the most impact. Privilege can be blinding and it gets way too easy to take things for granted, like having access to books to study from, having access to a computer and reliable internet, or even as simple as just having a pencil to use and paper to write on.
I’ve lost count of the amount of schools and orphanages we have visited in the 22 days we’ve been in Nepal, but the smiles and look of pure happiness of all the kids we encountered will forever have a place in my heart. I got to witness how a few packs of chalk could mean the world, how a story about believing in yourself and achieving your dreams served as a reminder that they can do anything and everything they set their hearts on, how something no matter how simple (erasers,pencils, pens, lollipops, gum, chocolate, markers,etc) could light up kids in a way that melts anybody’s heart. This trip was an opportunity to help create and maintain hope, we went to multiple towns, districts and cities: Gorkha, Pokhara, Lamjung , Banepa, Dhading, Patan and many many more, switching from doing need assessments to going to schools and orphanages and donating school supplies/money/sweaters/hats to taking dance lessons from all the kids, it feels like we saw so much of Nepal yet there is still so much more to experience that it is a must to come back.
I’m extremely thankful to the Asha project for choosing me to be one of the volunteers for this trip and I’m looking forward to working with them in any future endeavors. To anyone considering volunteering with the Asha project or Rotary international, just go for it, get out of your comfort zone, it is an extraordinary experience that you won’t regret.
Always remember: YOU CAN DO IT, anything you set your mind to, work hard and believe in yourself. So many unforgettable friendships and memories, I write this on my last day, seriously considering staying longer/already planning to come back.
Everyone has been asking, what is your rotary moment? I didn’t know what to give as an answer or what a rotary moment truly feels like. After coming to Nepal, I finally found my rotary moment.
During this trip we have been to about 4-5 orphanages, all filled with smiling children. As we approached St. Xaviers Social Service Centre, I wasn’t aware the impacts it would have on me. We walked slowly up a slight incline to a building where 45 boys, all orphans came rushing in to meet us. We handed out coloring books, pencils, paper, crayons etc. Their faces lit up and their eyes grew big.
I knew at this moment I was doing something amazing. I sat with a group of younger boys. They could not stop thanking me, showing me what they colored and of course smiling. It made me feel so good being their, spending time, and talking with them.
Tulsi explained to all the boy, they can do anything they put their heart to. When they all yelled out “I can do it” that’s when I knew we have made an impact, we have made faces smile and we have inspired the youth. This was my rotary moment.