January -February 2020 Humanitarian Mission

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

2019 HIghlights of the Asha Project


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.



  • 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


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


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


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.


[ ] $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.

Phone 908-369-4318 or email us at trm7510@gmail.com. www.theashaproject.org

Please mail your tax deductible check to the address below or contact us for more information.

P.O. Box 5015, Somerville, NJ 08876 908-369-4318

Email: trm7510@gmail.com

Ceremonies and Celebration of Mrs. Usha Devi Maharjan’s Memory.

No tribute could ever come close to adequately describing 

अनिच्चावत संखारा उत्पादवियो धम्मिनो उपज्जित्वा निरुझन्ति तेसं भूसमोसुखं!!!

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.

Grand son Anil and Daughter Tara.

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 . 

Monk Krishna Man performing rituals.




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

It was really sad to hear the incident and let the departed soul of our thulo muwa rest in peace.
She was such a nice person and past memories always flash back and stays permanently. She was so helpful and because of her only I got the opportunity to study in AVM and now where I stands is due to her blessing. There is no words in the dictionary to thank her and could not say anything either. She was so charming and have positive attitude. Because of the love and full of compassion she helped many more and her soul will reach to nirvana. No word ever exist but for her remembrance some words are still remaining in my heart.
My love to my loving Usha Thulo Muwa

Let the departed soul rest in peace.

My Thulo Muwa…

May my Thulo Muwa be happy and obtain the causes of happiness.

May my Thulo Muwa be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.

May my Thulo Muwa always have excellent happiness in which there is no suffering.

May my Thulo Muwa live in immeasurable equanimity free from attachment and hatred towards those near and far.

May I be able to take upon myself all the adharma of my Thulo Muwa’s so that she will be free from all sorrows in her future life.

Rajeeb Thapa

Rajeeb Thapa
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.

Chandra Sakya Heartfelt condolence to you and your family !

Shanta Khadgi My deepest condolences to you and family Tulsi ji. May the departed Soul rest in peace.

Gyan Lal Maharjan May God bless her soul! She was just amazing!

Rup Kumar Shakya अनिच्चावत संखारा उत्पादवियो धम्मिनो उपज्जित्वा निरुझन्ति तेसं भूसमोसुखं!!!

Rajendra Basnyat Thanks to Maharajan brothers for establishing one outstanding students award in the name of Usha fufu for continuity of her attachment/legacy with St. Xavier’s school

One year death ceremony…

One year ceremony
45 day celebration

60 day celebration at the Dhayakuti Bihara and feeding senior citizens.

Asha Project – एउटा लेख्ने कलम वा लेखिने कपि का कारण कुनै बालबालिका को शिक्षा नरोकिओस् उनिहरुको सपना नखुम्चिओस् भनी यो अभियान अघि बढीरहेछ । By Sapana Limbu, Damak Rotaract

Sapana Limbu attending the Rotaract Zonal Leadership event.

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 ।

Damak Library visit

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 ।

Group Service Exchange to Nepal – Travel, Learn and Serve

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.

Bringing smile with a Pencil.

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.

Gift of Hope for the children of Nepal

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?

Pankaj Bahadur Dhami

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 ?

By: Pankaj Bahadur Dhami,

Rotaract club of Rudramati-Babarmahal

2020 Humanitarian Mission Educating Children, Saving Lives and Building Goodwill

 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.


Elizabeth GuintaAttachments10:38 PM (6 minutes ago)
to me

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.

Namaste! Mero naam Samantha ho. Malaai Nepal dherai manparchha.

GAP Program of the Asha Project

By Samantha Waldron , I am a proud member of the Rutgers New Brunswick NJ Rotaract Club in USA, partnered with Raritan Valley Community College NJ Rotaract Club in USA and the Asha Project. http://www.theashaproject.org

Namaste – I love Nepal very much.

I am so emotional from this week. I have had the valuable privilege of meeting a bunch of really lovely people, given a ton of school supplies to wonderful children, interacted with fabulous kids and awesome college kids, rode motorcycles, ate delicious food, danced my booty off, broke language barriers, hiked till I couldn’t move, experienced spiritual temples, gazed upon gorgeous mountains, dressed up for photo shoots, smiled, sang, laughed and appreciated life for what it really is. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the welcoming attitude, exceptional protection, lovely hospitality and exhilarating fun.

When I got off my plane in Kathmandu, I was not expecting Nepal to be such a beautiful and amazing place, with such incredible and fantastic people. Nepal has changed who I am, and solidified the fact that service above self runs through my blood. Sharing gives pleasure. Guests are gods. Love is the universal language. Making the world a better place is why I was created. All I want to do is be a good person on the inside and outside.

This is not just about experiencing culture and expanding my horizons, nor is it about putting myself in a developing country. I don’t care if there is garbage, I’ll clean it up. I don’t care if the water is dirty, I’ll drink from a bottle until I can remediate it. I don’t care if the dogs could carry disease, they are adorable and just want to be pet and loved. I don’t care if it is hot or cold or what, I will be prepared for it.

I came here for service above self. I took a 20+ hour journey to a faraway place to do something good for the world, even though I may never see them again. I came here to enable children to obtain an extremely valuable opportunity to earn knowledge, and knowledge with the passion they already have gives them the power to improve the world in a way we never could. These children can bring us peace on Earth, we just have to give them the chance.

Everyone you smile at, smiles back, and they press their hands together, and they say Namaste, which has so many deep positive meanings. They sing to me, they hold my hands and tell me how grateful they are for me. They describe their every day life to me, and explain how helpful my friends and I are for helping them out. They open up their homes, and they share every last thing that they have with us, even if it leaves them uncomfortable. They are so generous, kind, and more.

I cannot just simply come to this extraordinary country, experience what it has to offer, and never return. I have to come back. There is so much more that I can do. (Yes, I also volunteer in America. Don’t start with me, hoina holaa)

I fell deep, irrevocably in love with Nepal, it’s people, places, music, food, culture. I am so grateful to have this exceptional opportunity and privilege to experience all that this excellent country has to offer.

Thank you so much for reading. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

My daily blog is Snapchat strawberrysmash

My Instagram is samantha_waldron97

#theashaproject #peopleofaction #Rotary #Rotaract #VisitNepal2020 #Nepal Rutgers Rotaract Club – New Brunswick Rutgers Rotaract Club – New Brunswick

ROTARACT 2020 Friendship Exchange

In January 2020, Branchburg Rotary Club had the opportunity to send their 5th outbound friendship exchange – Inter Club Youth Exchange Program (ICYEP) to Nepal. Friendship Exchange is an international exchange program for Rotaract members and friends that allow participants to take turns hosting one another in their homes and clubs. Exchanges offer unique chances for cultural immersion and interchange.

Rotaract members from District 3292 Nepal invited members of the Rotaract District 7475, New Jersey, USA to take part in the 5th outbound friendship exchange and Inter Club Youth Exchange Program (ICYEP). Last year, six Rotaractors visited Nepal.
From January 10 to February 2, there will be also a special GSE (Group Service Exchange) team visit to Nepal through our Rotary district 7475. They will attend various projects and conduct workshops on teacher training, mushroom farming and help conduct health camp in Nepal. The team will visit global grant projects, schools and community centers.

Thanks to all the friends, families and Rotaractors from District 3292 who have made this a memorable experience. The experience showed how international Rotary really is. For members of the exchange, it has been a trip of a lifetime so far. Rotaractors are developing a close bond with friends in Nepal who they stayed with. This friendship exchange will allow to demonstrate that Rotary indeed is a wonderful service organization with PEOPLE OF ACTION.

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