PROVIDING HOPE AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE CHILDREN IN NEPAL.

asha2ASHA is the Nepali word for “HOPE.” When we think about what motivates us to serve,we are drawn to this word, which is the name of my current mission, The Asha Project. To us, hope and opportunity are really at the core of the Rotary’s mission. Providing hope and opportunities to people in Nepal who are less fortunate is what motivates us.

aHope and opportunity brought me to America 45 years ago and I always wanted to do something for those less fortunate people in Nepal. Now, my son has joined me as an E-club member in our district to assist with this project. We will be taking our 3rd humanitarian mission in early February 2017. While there we will also celebrate the Silver Jubilee of our humanitarian work in Nepal.

For over 25 years, Rotary Club of Branchburg and District 7510 has been working to provide hope and opportunities in Nepal through many international grants,scholarship funds, micro-credit loans, training programs,and collaborative partnership projects with many community organizations to create a new network of people.

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We formally created The Asha Project in response to the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal. In March 2016, we traveled to Nepal with the goal to rebuild homes. When we visiting a rebuilding project, we spoke with many people in the community and they told us that they were interested in opportunities to work cooperatively with other organizations.
We realized that house building was not enough. For a country that has spent decades dealing with political turmoil and economic instability, we recognized that simply resetting life what it was like prior to the earthquake was only the beginning.

cropped-ashalowhighres.pngThis is why the three pillars of the “ASHA” project are: building homes to help create stronger families, creating $100,000 microcredit loans for a prosperous future and to grow micro-businesses, and providing scholarships for under-represented ethnic groups through our Rays of Hope scholarships for a brighter future.
​We are furthering our collaboration by sending eight Rotaract students to volunteer in Nepal during their winter break. We also recently welcomed a student from Nepal to complete his Masters program in Health management as part of the Global scholar program. We are also working on several digital divide computer projects to connect these students with the outside world as part of the Rotary District 3292’s Total Literacy Project.

With our patience and persistence, we have been able to complete many humanitarian projects in Nepal. With greater collaboration and cooperation with many other non-profit organizations we hope to build homes, provide micro credit and scholarships for the people of Nepal. With everyone’s support, hard work and dedication many children in Nepal will have opportunity to be what they wish to become. Let’s spread the message that though Rotary we can provide “HOPE AND OPPORTUNITIES” for millions of people around the world and that’s what Rotary has done through the Rotary Foundation in the past 100 years.

http://www.theashaproject.org

Highlights of my trip to Nepal

15977282_1795114594074377_6631437180277987193_nSebastian’s Story

One unique highlight of the trip 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.

9Did you meet anyone who intrigued you or left a strong impression on you, and why?
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 SujanRegmi. 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.

● What was the most memorable portion of the trip to you and why? 
The most memorable portion of our trip was our time in Pokhara. They were extremely welcoming and very organized in helping us get where we needed to go. Throughout or time there we went to different schools, conferences and sightseeing which were all amazing.

● Anecdotes of my trip
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 imp6actful moments in my own life.

THIS HOLIDAY SEASON; TAKE A DIFFERENT APPROACH

asha2THIS HOLIDAY SEASON; take a different approach.
Provide a goat to a family in need FOR ONLY $50.
Families who receive your gift become donors as they pass on the gift to other families in their community. This allows them to help others as you have helped them. http://www.theashaproject.org

PAYPAL DONATION

 

 

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

Rotaract Friendship Exchange

The Asha Project

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…

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The Asha Project’s Children Literacy Campaign in Nepal

asha1This is a campaign to promote the reading culture among children by providing books through an easily accessible library system in Schools in Nepal as well as provide books to students to read.  Every school going child will have easy access to read their favorite books- inspiring stories with beautiful illustrations and pictures. Everyone has a dream to read a favorite book in their childhood which helps them to recognize their own strength to do something in life.

9But in many parts of the developing countries books are not part of a child’s early experiences.  For parents who cannot read or struggle daily to care for their families, books are not a priority.  With this project we hope to bring story books and literature to children and to classrooms is something we Rotarians can to improve access to basic education and literacy.

If you like to support this project with a small donation, we will provide books for schools and students during our visit to Nepal in early February 2018.  LITERACY FOR NEPAL

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Father and Son Team up to make a difference. — The Asha Project

For Father and Son, Rotary is about much more than belonging to a humanitarian organization. It’s about making a difference in the world. “When you’re a part of Rotary, you’re really making a difference, both locally and internationally,” Dr. Maharjan said. “When you think about all the wonderful things Rotary has accomplished, who wouldn’t want […]

via Father and Son Team up to make a difference. — The Asha Project

Father and Son Team up to make a difference.

For Father and Son, Rotary is about much more than belonging to a humanitarian organization. It’s about making a difference in the world.

16683827_1133621256748972_2397031918646421442_n“When you’re a part of Rotary, you’re really making a difference, both locally and internationally,” Dr. Maharjan said. “When you think about all the wonderful things Rotary has accomplished, who wouldn’t want to be part of one of the most successful humanitarian organizations in history?”

Dr. Maharjan recently took the helm as president of the Branchburg Rotary for the 5th time. Dr. Maharjan is a charter member of the club, which started in 1988. It’s the first time a father and son have served as Rotary members in Somerset County, Dr. Maharjan said.

16864357_1133621136748984_393466964053984311_n“It was fun to be able to do those things together, and it’s nice now because we can bounce ideas off of one another,” Anil Maharjan said. They have already completed three humanitarian missions to Nepal. They are planning their 4th Humanitarian mission in early February 2018.

Anil Maharjan joined the E-club last year and this year he decided to join his father’s club. Anil is a CPA and graduate of the Babson College and works for the MarketSmith as a director of the Innovation. He believes in the Rotary’s service projects and all the impact they are making around the world with various Rotary Foundation’s matching grants.  Branchburg Rotary has just received $95,000 grant to implement a micro credit project in Nepal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFather and Son team has been working on the Asha Project in Nepal to provide scholarships, micro credit and home building for the earthquake victims since the major earthquake in 2015.

Anil said Rotary sparked his interest after listening to his father always talking about various local and international projects his club has been involved for the past 29 years.

“We’re pretty good at raising money and giving money away to different organizations,” Anil said. “But I really like the hands-on service projects, where you can see you’re making a difference.”

“I would say one of the best things I ever did in my life was join the Rotary Club of Branchburg, because they’re just one of the most generous members I’ve ever known,” Dr. Maharjan said.

 

2017 Friendship Exchange Trip to Nepal

Seven Raritan Valley Community College students recently had a c

life-changing experience when they traveled to Nepal to distribute donated school supplies and engage in community projects.
The students, Amanda Greene (Lebanon), Daniel Hogan (Martinsville), Sebastian Gallic (Warren), Jenna Douglas (Bridgewater), Marcel Gorka (Lebanon), Ryan Galdamez (Bound Brook) and Manuel Ramirez (Bound Brook), are all members of the RVCC Rotaract Club. They traveled to the South Asian country January 4-17, 2017 carrying 250 pounds of school supplies, which they donated to four different schools in the region.
The supplies had been collected through fundraising efforts at the College in conjunction with the Hunterdon County YMCA aftercare program that’s located at the Whitehouse School.
While in Nepal, the students participated in Rotary community projects that included painting benches and walls. In conjunction with the ASHA (Nepali word for “Hope”) project, the students also helped rebuild homes for people who had lost their residences during the devastating 2015 earthquake.

 

 

 

As part of the trip, the students attended a Rotaract District Conference attended by 70 Rotaract groups from across Nepal. They also met with representatives of Rotary Nepal and other community groups; toured temples, caves and other areas; and hiked the region.
Club member Sebastian Gallic recalled an especially memorable experience meeting two young girls in an impoverished area of Nepal. The young girls, who did not speak much English, were filling approximately 20 bottles with fresh water from an outside tap. Watching their efforts, the RVCC students offered to help them with their task. Despite the language barriers, Gallic said assisting the girls was “one of the most impactful experiences, just being able to communicate human to human.”
RZ17PINAs members of the College’s Rotaract Club, students are given the opportunity to serve the community and learn about leadership, civic engagement and responsible citizenship. For additional information about Rotaract at RVCC, contact club advisor Nemanja (Nik) Nikitovic, Nemanja.Nikitovic@raritanval.edu.

If you are interested in traveling contact trm7510@gmail.com or visit http://www.theashaproject.com.

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.

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After 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.

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What 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.

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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.

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