Altruism is the bedrock of a healthy society. The Asha Project in collaboration with Rotary, Rotaract and Friends of Nepal NJ completed more than 30 projects last year 2021, putting the Altruism in Action.
“Economic Empowerment of Indigenous Women” Projects – Total Budget $3,500.00
Food Distribution Projects – Total $1,000.00
Library Project – $1000.00
•Goat Project in Dhulikhel – $2,000.00 (Rotary Grant for $40,000)
•Computer Project in Tulsipur Dang at the Prison library- $2,000 (Rotary Grant for $15,000)
•Banepa Hospital Project $3000 (Rotary matching grant for $36,000)
3 Health Projects – Helping youth group with hygiene pads and educational programs- Total Budget $2,000.00
•Scholarships for minority students – $2,000.00
•Distribution of books, bags and copies – $3,000.00
We believe, all of us must embrace the innate source of compassion within us to make a difference in our community and in our homeland. The Asha Project’s mission is to “help the underprivileged people of Nepal to rebuild their lives and renew their hope.”
To actualize compassion, we need to transform our pessimism into optimism; connect to the deeper purpose of our passion; expand our communities to create more belonging; and be intentionally present with ourselves and others. With your small contribution, we have been able to do a lot with the help of many organizations, Rotary and Rotaract support.
Our Rotaract members who are all “ordinary people” doing an “extraordinary work” in Nepal—brave young people doing heroic acts of kindness and compassion, every day in the simplest of ways. We would like to thank them for their time, talent and dedication in helping with our projects in Nepal.
The Asha project calls for action to bring more compassion to the forefront of our life and provide hope and opportunities for poor people in Nepal. Thanks to our LEGACY CIRCLE members for putting Altruism in Action by helping poor people in Nepal.
One of our outreaches focuses on the empowerment of girls and women because they are often the most vulnerable in our country to becoming victims of discrimination and exploitation. To combat this, the Asha Project has several programs to empower girls and women through a combination of education, training, and care.
Our mission is to transform lives by promoting Health, Education and Women empowerment. Primary objective is to help people reach the highest potential.
So, what does Altruism mean to you? How is Altruism an alive presence in your life? Do you create more joy for others? In what ways are you a compassionate person?
Without our New Jersey Nepali diaspora with generous heart and compassion, our projects would not have been possible. Thanks to all our Legacy circle members for their financial help.
Let’s put our Altruism in Action and make a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate than us and provide hope and opportunities for many years to come.
Anil Maharjan: A Young Professional Change Maker Year 2015
A typical busy professional, 23-years-old Anil Maharjan juggles his work with PwC being an Auditor and with various extracurricular activities, such as playing soccer with his office team, helping to set up a youth program and running cross-country. What sets Anil apart from other young professionals is his passion for helping others. From an early age Anil enrolled with the local boys scout and have worked with many community projects to do volunteer work. Now, he continues his volunteer work at full-blast.
When Anil learned about the plight of the Nepali people following the earthquake in April, he wanted to something. He began a digital fundraiser through FONNJ with the idea that any amount he could raise would help to build houses in Nepal. He worked with his friends to help to create the Homes of Hope- Nepal Project to build 1000 homes and provide $100,000 dollars worth of micro loan project as well as set up an open library system in Nepal where more than 100,000 students are displaced.
Anil is taking one month sabbatical from the PricewaterhouseCoppers to go to Nepal in March of 2016 to help build houses and set up other logistics to help Nepalese people. There are more than 500,000 houses being destroyed, 1 million children without school and 2.8 million people displaced in April earthquake. He plans to continue and expand his campaign for Nepal Relief, to provide aid to the Nepalese people as they rebuild their lives. Please visit http://www.theashapproejct.org to learn and support the project.
As of 2021, we have completed more than $500,000 worth of projects in Nepal in cooperation with various Rotary clubs and with the support from the Friends of Nepal-NJ.
First Dashain away from Nepal, the best time to feel homesick. The only good I could think about this year’s Dashain was thankfully, it was on a Saturday. I opened my eyes the Dashain morning and as I got off my bed, I remembered the times when I used to wake up with the aroma of fresh fini and sel roti spreading through the house. I’d be so excited to show-off my newly bought clothes and receive my dakshina. I think it probably is every Nepali’s favorite time of the year.
Dashain feels empty when you don’t get to put tika with the same people you used to, every year. When the entire family celebrates back in Nepal, sends you pictures and skypes with you, and you don’t really feel those festive vibes in this foreign land. I was so jealous of the people back in Nepal, who got their long Dashain vacation and got to travel to their hometowns and celebrated with their families and loved ones. Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram certainly did not help.
Dashain is not just about “khasi ko masu” or “sel roti” or “loads of dakshina”. Most importantly, it is about being with your family and spending quality time together, exchanging stories and laughters. I missed my grandfather’s long ashirwad as he named all the Gods he could possibly remember. I missed my cousins with whom, at the end of the day, I’d count all the money we’d have gotten and see who received the most. I missed my aunt’s handmade “aloo ko achar”, which I could never get enough of.
Early in the morning, I got nostalgic and wished I was back in Nepal having my morning tea with sel roti. I really didn’t have any expectations for this Dashain out in this faraway land. The plan for the day was to visit some Nepali families and celebrate with them, which to be honest, I wasn’t very excited about. But to my surprise, people despite their busy schedule, celebrated the festival so beautifully and with all the required rituals. I could see women dressed in their traditional attires, everyone’s forehead filled with akchheta and different food items filled the large table with the tastes that reminded me of home.
As I experienced my first Dashain in America, I came to know that the Nepalese living here know how important our culture and traditions are, and value it even more, as they are away from home. The Nepali communities had even hosted Dashain parties for all the Nepalese to join in and celebrate their grandest festival, together. And it made me feel so proud to see their Dashain spirit as they presented performances depicting our diverse culture.
Maintaining your culture when moving to another country can be difficult, in particular, if you’ve been trying to immerse yourself into the new culture to adjust to your new community. But it’s important to know that just because you’re adapting to a new culture doesn’t mean you need to let go of your own. Balancing both worlds is important because your culture and traditions define who you are, and that is and always should be a part of you. Even though we’re miles and miles away from home, I hope that by teaching younger ones of Nepal’s traditions, we would be able to keep this spirit alive and it would carry on through the generations to come.
Written by Medha Joshi and Krishna Prasad Sharma – As part of our 30th Anniversary of the Nepal project we are highlighting some success stories.
Jyoti Maharjan and Niraj Maharjan are two of the four siblings who came from a modest family background. They share their experiences about how the Rotary – Friends of Nepal-NJ scholarship they received in school changed their life.
The eyes of Jyoti Maharjan shine when she says how happy she feels to teach dancing to students. She works at a finance company and runs a dance center and tuition center in her free time. But she hadn’t always been this way. She recalls her school days, “We felt uncomfortable when we couldn’t see our exam results after failing to clear our exam dues.” She further shares how her sister felt embarrassed when she couldn’t afford the school fees, “My sister went to the school to give exams but she was stopped at the gate as she hadn’t cleared her dues. She had to lose a year of school as a result. Being the eldest she was mature enough to understand and feel the humiliation of not being able to pay the school fees”. Jyoti recalls how hard it was before when she along with her four siblings were enrolled at the school and none of them got scholarships. She tells us how she used the money she got from the Rotary-Friends of Nepal-NJ to pay her own and her brother’s exam fees. She shares how she didn’t have to ask her parents for money to buy stationeries. She was supported from Class 6 to 10 and passed her SLC in 2064.
After teaching students for six years she started working at a finance company. The catastrophic earthquake of 2072 brought down her house. So the steady income she had before is now spent on paying the loan interest she took for rebuilding her house. She says, “Life isn’t easy even now. It’s hard to meet the financial obligations but the scholarship we received in school has helped us to face life’s challenges now.”
Her brother, Niraj Maharjan got the scholarship a year later and was supported from Class 5 to 10. He shares, “The scholarship helped me to study. With the money I got, I used to buy study materials, stationeries, pay exam fees, use as pocket money and make small savings. I used my savings for social work.” As of now he has taken training on electrification from CTEVT. He is happy to use his skills for arranging electrical wiring in his newly built home. He also shares his love for social work demonstrated by his involvement in social projects since his school days. Even now he works actively in the club that these siblings had cofounded. He shares, “The club has organized different programs and events involving adult literacy, skill building and competitions for children.” When asked about the importance of scholarship support to school students he advocates, “Such scholarships should be continued to support people with less resources. Such scholarships will continue to play an instrumental role to provide support to children who’ve come to the valley from far off parts of the country in search of a better education, a better living.” Both of the Maharjan siblings are very thankful to their scholarship sponsors. They have a Bachelors degree now. With their joint incomes these siblings pay the loan interests and send their sister to a boarding school. They share that they will also look for chances to go abroad to earn money to clear the home loan. They suggest that such scholarships should also be available at the college and university levels. Sharing their own experiences they say, “We wanted to become lawyer and engineer ourselves but we had to study business at the college level due to our limited financial resources. We want to suggest that these kinds of scholarships should also be available at the college level. So students will be able to study what they are truly passionate about.” An hour of conversation with these siblings was enough to figure how optimistic they were about life. They shared that they wouldn’t give up and continue to face life’s challenges as they come.
Since 1998 we have been supporting the Bal Kumari School with Building project, computer lab, science lab, sports camps and annual scholarships at the school.
It is true that Partnering with Purpose works because we have many projects which we are collaborating with other organizations rather than competing with each other. At the moment many communities are facing complex challenges and find convoluted, redundant systems of services and organizations to be discouraging. We, the Rotary club of Branchburg, with motto of “SERVICE ABOVE SELF” decided to utilize the kitchen at the Bound Brook Presbyterian church to cook our food and then we found out that the church was also giving out food for food insured individuals in the community so we decide to work with them to engage in a meaningful, coordinated partnership and the final result has been excellent.
THE HUNGER IS REAL and the need is great. Every small donation counts. We have been successful due to our connection and partnership with many local organizations.
COVID Hunger Project
The Rotary Club of Branchburg has been distributing fresh food as well as cooked meals at the Presbyterian church in Bound Brook for community people who lacks transportation to receive food from the Somerset Food Bank. Rotary Club of Branchburg has been working on Hunger project for more than 5 years. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic food insecurity has increased in our community. This is particularly true for households with young children. We realized that Bound Brook’s resident community was not able to receive food due to lack of transportation said club president Jody Dipine. In addition, many fellow Branchburg Rotarians are delivering weekly food donations to the Lamont School Bound Brook food kitchen, St. John’s church in Somerville and Senior center in Somerville as well.
Knowing that the community has many families that are struggling, due to conditions brought on by COVID-19, the Rotary Club wanted to do more for our community. The club has already donated more than $100,000 worth of food from various food drives and food collocation from local food stores.
With the support of our club’s members and award winning chef Jim McGrady has been cooking food ever since early February to feed more than 500 people each week. Our new fresh food distribution on Sundays feed more than 350 people each week.
According to Joe Horner, member of the Branchburg Rotary club, “We are happy to be able to distribute fresh food to our local needy people. The food distribution at the Bound Brook Presbyterian Church from 1 to 2 pm draws more than 100 families each week. We would like to continue this project, but your support is urgently needed to continue this humanitarian project in our own community. Please help to feed people who are affected by COVID-19 PANDEMIC. Your small donation of $5 will feed one person. If you like to help, please support clicking these links. https://gofund.me/724ddb94 or https://go.eventgroovefundraising.com/7862bf
Be a part of this great challenge and make a difference in our community. According to Bill Stabile, member of the Hunger Project “Now more than ever, we must come together as a community to help one another. Rotary has a long history of showing support in many ways to both local organizations and international service projects, and we are proud to carry on that strong tradition with our current members.”
Ram Malakar came to the United States from Nepal in the early 1980s with his family and lived in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. During his early years, Mr. Malakar worked and traveled extensively overseas in India, Italy, and Malta for the U.S. Embassy and then worked as a food service director at St. Luke Institute in Washington, D.C. until his retirement.
Malakar was one of the early settlers from Nepal to Washington, DC. To meet and network with other Nepali and friends of Nepal, he got involved with the America Nepal Society and became the president of the organization. During his tenure, Mr. Malakar promoted and fostered Nepal’s literature, arts, culture, values, and social customs in the U.S.
To continue the preservation of Nepal and Newah culture, Mr. Malakar founded Nepa Pasa Pucha Amerikaye (NPPA) in November of 1991. NPPA was incorporated to conserve and preserve the cultural heritage, the traditions, and the customs of the Newah people and to participate and facilitate the growth and development of the Newah culture in arts, literature, language, science, commerce, music, dances, customs and rituals of the Newah people in the modern world.
Lastly, to support the aging Nepalese population in the U.S., Mr. Malakar founded Nepal American Senior Community in 2002.
Mr. Malakar embodies what it means to be a community connector and community builder. He exemplifies not only as a great community leader but also someone who gives back.
He currently lives in Rockville, Maryland, surrounded by his wife of 60 years, Bisnu Malakar, and his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
We would like to congratulate Mr. Ram Malakar for his passion and purpose filled work he has been doing in his community and wish him all the best for his future endeavor.
Today Branchburg Rotarians, Rotaractors and the monks from the temple put their compassion into action by helping to create a special Rotary Peace Garden at the NJ Buddhist Vihara and Meditation Center. The Rotary Club of Branchburg working together with various community groups as well as Rotaract and Interact members, put Rotary’s mission of “Service Above Self” in motion to engage members and volunteers, we are finding personal satisfaction and a sense accomplishment.
Embracing inherent source of compassion
Compassion is the bedrock of a healthy social movement to make a difference in our community and communities around the world. The Rotary Club of Branchburg’s District Governor Elect John Shockley urges us to turn Compassion into Action so that we can craft engaged and meaningful lives. He believes that we must each embrace the innate source of compassion within us and impact world, one action at a time.
Transforming pessimism to optimism
To actualize compassion, we need to transform our pessimism into optimism; connect to the deeper purpose of our work; expand our communities to create greater sense of belonging; and be intentionally present with ourselves and others. “Compassion into Action” calls us to start an action to bring more compassion to the forefront of our lives, our community service and our daily lives. We are all “ordinary people” doing an extraordinary thing in the world—Rotarians around the world doing heroic acts of kindness and compassion, every day in the simplest of ways.
Service Above Self.
Whether you are a Club President who is committed to exceptional service, a passionate volunteer proudly doing special work to help communities here and around the world, or anyone who believes that actively giving of yourself changes the world…then we are moving to bring Compassion into Action. Let’s ask our self, what does compassion mean to you? How can we put our compassion in our life? How can we create more joy for others? How do we create a sense of belonging in our community?
Please join the movement.
We invite you to visit our Rotary Peace Garden in Princeton and find a calmness of our mind in this turmoil driven world. We have created a garden and meditation walk path surrounding one of the tallest Buddha statue in the northeast. If you like to volunteer or donate a tree or plants, contact District International Service Director PDG Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling him at 908-458-7712.
We would like to thank Rotaract members, Rotarians for devoting their time on November 7 to plant trees and to the creation of the Peace Garden project on November 7th, 2021. Special thanks to DGE John Shockley for his help and distributing district pins to thank our volunteers.
The Asha project has a long history of supporting the school since 1990. Recently completed a science lab at the school.
On 5th October, The Asha Project conducted a scholarship program for children studying in grade 5 and 6 of the Balkumari School , Lalitpur municipality – 27, Nepal .
Every child has the right to quality education . But all the kids come from families having low economic status making it difficult for the children to attain quality education. Their parents work as factory workers and farmers and have a really miserable life.
This small act of kindness by Asha Project- Nepal has brought smiles on the innocent mellow faces of the children there. They were appreciative and thankful for this humanitarian gesture and were happy that they get to buy school supplies and pay their annual fees without any difficulty for their working parents.
It was the most beautiful feeling to witness and was able to capture moments of big smiles and happiness among the poor children of Sunakothi.
This scholarship was given in memory of my grandmother Usha Devi Maharajan, who was not educated but believed in educating children. My grandmother even helped me to attend the St. Xavier school eleven years ago. She was very kind and generous and helped many children to get into the St. Xavier school with her kind words and request with fathers at the school. This scholarship program brought happiness and smile on the faces of those needy children. I am very delighted to be part of this special memorial celebration for my grandmother.
My grandmother believed that “Helping the poor and needy is the greatest service you one can provide.” Once again thank you to Asha Project -Nepal for this special “Usha Devi Memorial Scholarship” for poor children in my village and I am very happy to be a part of this work to help needy children in my village.
The Asha Project’s mission is to “help poor people in Nepal to rebuild their LIVES and renew their HOPE.”
ASHA means HOPE in Nepali language. It is amazing how a short, four letter word can represent so much. Asha means hope, and that is its purpose. To provide hope in all aspects of life by supporting initiatives that is run by the people of Nepal for the people of Nepal.
I hope I will be able to help with this project and make a difference in poor children’s lives in the future. I believe that “Even by putting little effort or by giving just a little of what we have, we can make a difference in their lives.”
Branchburg, N.J. – Rotary Club of Branchburg and The Somerset County Cultural Diversity Coalition (SCCDC) will be hosting its 20th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Dinner and Awards presentation. Several outstanding individuals and organizations who have promoted peace and diversity in Somerset County will be receiving the 20th Annual Diversity and Peace Award.
The awards will be presented at the Interfaith Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday, November 20, 5:30 p.m. at Raritan Valley Community College in the Conference Center, Route 28 in North Branch. Members of the public are invited to attend.
“The mission of the Coalition is to strive for greater awareness and respect for for all people in our community” said Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan, chair of the SCCDC Coalition. “And it seems appropriate that we recognize people and groups that value and promote peace and diversity as we celebrate our 20th annual Interfaith Thanksgiving dinner and awards ceremony. We invite people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds to come and celebrate with us.”
Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan, Chair SCCDC, PDG Rotary District 7475
“We invite everyone to share a special Thanksgiving meal and celebrate the service of gratitude,” said Dr. Maharjan. “Prayers will be offered by local representatives of the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Jain, Shinto, Native American and Sikh communities.”
At this special event the Rotary club of Branchburg will be donating $100,000 to various veterans organizations. According to club President Jodi DiPane-Saleem “We are very happy to be able to partner with various veterans organizations to help homeless veterans as well as any veterans who need additional help.
Our keynote speaker will be Mr. Subarna Malakar, who is a Veteran as well as the Head of the Diversity and Inclusion of the Sanofi Pharmaceutical North America.