Rotary’s vision statement, “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”
Come join us at CENTRAL NEW JERSEY’S largest ROTARY+ROTARACT+INTERACT+COMMUNITY WINTER FOOD PACKING EVENT on March 28, 2020 at the Raritan Valley College, cafeteria in Branchburg.
The Central New Jersey Rotary Families in collaboration with our local organizations plans to prepare 100,000 meals for needy people in the Central New Jersey area and donate to the local Food Banks.
As part of this campaign Central New Jersey Rotary, Rotaract, Interact Clubs and community organizations are planning to join together to prepare 100,000 food packages for malnourished children in our community and donate to our local food bank on March 28, Saturday from 12 to 6 pm at the Raritan Valley Community College Cafeteria.
This special service project is a part of Central NJ Rotary Club’s effort to curve hunger in the Central New Jersey area. This project is more than just bringing a smile to the recipients; it is also an opportunity for each club’s members to gather with their spouses and/or children to enjoy night of fellowship and the joy of giving back. “The members of the Rotary Club value the relationship we have developed with the Central New Jersey communities and Rotary clubs, and look forward to working on service projects in the future,” said Rotary Past District Governor Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan.
Come join us at our 6th Annual Winter Meal packing event. Our goal, with your help, is to raise $45,000 to fund over 150,000 meals to feed 900,000 children who are suffering from hunger.
Volunteers of all ages are Welcome!
donation of $25 per person and Or $40 per family and $150 per community
Contact us at
RotaryDistrict7475@gmail.com or 908-369-4318.
Emily Fabiano, 2019 Humanitarian Mission and Cultural Exchange
While my friends were out partying and midnight struck, the plane I was on became filled with clapping and cheering. It was now 2019 and my Emirates flight was departing for my third humanitarian mission and cultural exchange in Nepal. I was excited to see my friends in Nepal again, but I had doubt about whether it would be worth it to travel to the same place for the third time this year, especially after getting food poisoning during my previous visit. I was unsure if the experience doing projects in Nepal would impact me as much as it did the first time I took part in this mission. Did I make the right decision to go to Nepal again? Myself and five other students from NJ have checked 300 pounds of donations for schools and orphanages, and our adventure started on New Year’s Eve.
After about 40 hours of traveling, 8,000 miles from home,I was reunited with my friends in Nepal and we picked up right where we left off. I remember our first day in Kathmandu, we were jumping from program to program, and ultimately, I think we met with five different Rotaract clubs in just the first day when normally, we meet with one or two. This showed how much our friends wanted to see us again now that we were back in their country, and how excited the new clubs were to meet us. I made a lot of new friends in these clubs, as every club met us with warm welcomes and we could see how appreciative they were to have us in their country. This is true for every village we traveled to, and every new club we met with. The Nepali have a phrase “Guests are Like God,” and this is extremely evident in the way the Nepali host us. I remember one of the Rotaractors that hosts us everytime we come to Nepal, Narendra, made a comment that stuck with us while we were there. He told us “You guys are not tourists to me, you’re my friends,” which was very comforting for all of us to hear. Despite Nepal being on of the world’s poorest countries, this country has the most generous people I have ever been surrounded by, and this is what brings me back to this country time after time.
For the first few days I remember having a hard time adjusting. I was not used to sleeping without heat, taking cold showers (if we even had access to a shower), or hiking to the top of a “mountain” to where I will sleep for a night. These experiences are what make the trip meaningful and memorable, and taught us to appreciate many of the things we take for granted. In these moments it is hard to keep a positive attitude, but looking back I am grateful for living a very different way of life for two weeks. To experience the lifestyle of one of the world’s poorest countries has shaped my character immensely, and has changed my outlook on life and what I want to do in life. After being exposed to how kids live in Nepal, it makes me feel like I have no right to complain about my daily problems, because unfortunately most of my daily challenges/complaints are nothing compared to the way people live in Nepal.
At every school and orphanage we went to, the kids melted my heart and I wanted to take them all home with me. We could not walk through a school without all the classes looking at us, clapping and cheering, overwhelmed with excitement, as if we are celebrities; these kids had the biggest smiles on their faces the second they saw us. It is times like these when I am reminded that this trip is worth it. It was interesting to find that kids would touch my hair because they have never seen blonde hair before, or to be amazed that they are seeing identical twins (I am a twin).The way that the schools and orphanages welcome us each time made us all feel greatly appreciated for what we came to Nepal to do. Everytime we went somewhere we were welcomed with scarves, hot tea, and biscuits. Seeing the circumstances of where some of the kids go to school is not always easy, but we are there to help the students in any way we can by providing them tools they need, such as notebooks, pencils, rulers, and even socks sometimes. I remember a little girl at a school in Pokhara, she did not have any socks or shoes on, and she just sat in my arms so content. Seeing this girl, and the way she responded to receiving a pencil we gave her was really touching to me. Another great moment was when we brought some blankets to an orphanage that we had stuffed in our checked luggage. The owner of the orphanage told us the kids were sharing beds because the orphanage did not have enough bed sheets. I remember thinking that there was no way I could pack these blankets in my suitcases, but I am really glad that I decided to squeeze them in when I heard the owner of the orphanage tell us this. It is always difficult to say goodbye to the kids when we finish a program and must leave. The kids always stand in a group waving goodbye to us. Although I only briefly meet and interact with the kids, saying goodbye to them feels like I am saying goodbye to my closest family and friends. Even when we went to schools with deaf and mute students, there was still an unspoken connection with these kids, which was really meaningful to me.
Our itinerary was packed from day to day, but the busy schedule was worth it to get the most out of our time there. While we did many projects at schools and orphanages, we also had a cultural exchange taking place, and attended a number of Rotaract meetings. For example, myself and the other club members from the USA had a recipe exchange with the Lalitpur Rotaract Club. This was a lot of fun because we (the Americans) got to help the Lalitpur Club make MoMo, an iconic food of Nepal, while us Americans made nachos for the Nepali club. Although nachos are not a true “American” food, the Lalitpur club loved them and thought the combination of food was interesting, but really tasty. The various clubs that hosted us took us hiking and sightseeing to many places including the World Peace Pagoda, Swayambhunath, Boudhanath Stupa, and so much more. For me, simply walking from one place to another is “sightseeing” because the country is so different from where I come from; everything is new and intriguing to me.
Although conditions were very rough at times on the trip, we all kept a positive attitude and made every situation enjoyable as we learned to become more innovative. For example, we did not have a warm shower in a village, so we used heating rods in a bucket of water to heat the water. Our “shower” for that night was a bucket of warm water to bathe. At another guest house, we did not have warm showers, but we did have hot water boilers designed to boil water for tea. So, we all combined and had a total of three hot water boilers, providing enough water for one person to “shower.” I am studying engineering in school, so I enjoyed having these opportunities to be innovative. Our mottos for the trip became “You have to adjust,” and “It’s fine we can manage.”
While pretty much everything is different in Nepal one thing that stands out is the transportation. Many times, a group of us would be travelling and we would need to take a bus to get somewhere. A COMPLETELY FULL bus would pull up, and our hosts would tell us that this is the bus we are taking. A lot of the time I would be thinking “Are we seriously getting on that?” and everytime the answer was “yes.” I remember being on one of these buses and it got stuck in a large hole in the dirt road in the middle of a lot of traffic. I was squished between people so it was hard to see, but the bus was rocking back and forth and there were so many fumes from the driver trying to get the bus out of the ditch. After burning rubber, and many people getting off the bus and standing in traffic, the bus was moving again! Another time, we were on a small bus going to a school and I was thinking back to last year when we went to this same school…we walked a chunk of the way. The bus got to where a lot of water was flowing across the dusty dirt road, under a footbridge and down the cliff. At this point I continued to wonder why we were not getting out and walking like we did last year; clearly this was not designed for vehicles to drive through, and the footbridge is there for a reason. But the driver continued, and we got stuck in the water. The bus was not moving, so a bunch of people had to get out and push the bus through the water, up the hill. Although these situations do not sound appealing, they are entertaining for people like me, and again, times like these make the trip memorable and exciting. Traveling from place to place was always an adventure in itself, as you never know what could happen in Nepal. Another thing I really love about Nepal is the breathtaking scenery. Seeing pictures of the Himalayan mountain range, and the tip of Everest is one thing, but to see them in real life is surreal. Where I live in American I cannot wake up every morning, and go outside and sip tea with a view of the Himalayan mountain range.
In the end, it was worth it.
It was worth it to travel 40 hours and it was worth it to bring donations that weighed more than me.
A huge thank you to all the clubs in Nepal that hosted us, and a special thank you to my friends Jyoti and Narendra who traveled to all the villages with us, I do not know how they handled being with us six Americans for fifteen days, 24/7. While I have summarized my experience here, putting my experience and satisfaction from doing the projects into words does not do justice. The only way to know how amazing it is to be a part of this mission is to actually go to Nepal and experience it for yourself. I am really glad that all the friends I make in Nepal stay in contact with me, and I am excited for future projects with the clubs in Nepal.
People always say “third time’s a charm”, which as a kid I used to believe was true. Now that I have just returned home from my third humanitarian mission to Nepal, I can say this is not true because I am already so eager to go back. Most people would get bored of going to the same place or doing the same thing multiple times, which is understandable because repetition tends to be a bore. When I was getting ready to go to Nepal for my second and third time, all my friends and family kept asking why I kept wanting to go back to a third world country, after they heard my complaints about lack of heat and hot water. The answer is simple; the humanitarian fulfillment I experience in Nepal, and the experiences I have with all the friends I have gone on the trips with and my friends in Nepal outweigh the lows of the trip.
Choosing my favorite moment of the trip is one hundred percent impossible. Taking part in this trip through Rotary International and in support of the ASHA Project, we are busy on average from 7am-10pm everyday we spend in Nepal, visiting schools and orphanages, going to club meetings, or even just sightseeing. If I had to pick my best moment, I guess the only way to sum it up would have to be the moment our flight took off from Kathmandu airport when we were returning home. It was about 9:30 pm in Nepal and all six of us on that trip were sitting together on the plane. I just remember first looking over at the group, and every single one of us was asleep before the plane even took off because it was a long and tiring two weeks away from home. Then as we took off, I looked out the window and said my last good-bye (for now) to the dusty and chaotic city of Kathmandu. This was the most impactful moment of the trip because it is saying “see you later” to all my friends there that took care of us, all the students at the schools and orphanages we visited, and now made all the experiences we had just a part of our past as we move onto the next chapter.
Not knowing when myself or any of us will return is what makes leaving Nepal difficult, but I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay in touch all year with some of our friends there. It was also very hard knowing it was time to leave this amazing country knowing that we helped as much as we could while there, but knowing that there is so much more that can and still needs to be done. As much as I complain while I am in Nepal, I miss the hectic environment of having to do things like boil water with two coil rods or having to use tea kettles in order to have a hot shower; or even freaking out every-time we would drive somewhere with our luggage, hoping that our suitcases do not fall off the top of the vehicle and roll down the mountain.
Words can’t describe what it is like visiting the schools and orphanages in Nepal, and the pictures do it no justice, but I can sincerely say taking part in these experiences first-hand are unlike any other. Some schools we hiked up a mountain to, or took 3+ hour bumpy bus rides to get to, and some schools we took a vehicle to and rolled backwards down the hill multiple times before our vehicle finally made it. The schools have no lights or heat, many of them are just small buildings with a couple tiny rooms and bleachers for the students. We handed out supplies; such as pencils, pens, notebooks to the students; and it is incredible to see how ecstatic one pencil makes a kid. Most of the kids would be very excited to see us, as many students would even come up behind me and touch my hair because they have never seen blond hair before. The motto of Nepal is “Guests are Gods”, and those experiences are what really proved to me that this is absolutely true. The students and school faculty treated us with nothing but open, warm hearts and waving good-bye to them after our programs were finished was a feeling very surreal.
I could sit here now and write a book about all that I have learned in Nepal from taking part in this mission, all the experiences I had, and how this trip changes my outlook on certain things in life. I remember one night when we had a joint dinner with three Rotaract Clubs in Nepal, and for some reason all the other American students in my group had left to go back to the guest house already, but I was still at the dinner. I was standing there talking to everyone, telling them about my experiences so far, and then all of a sudden I was getting ready to also head back to the guest house and they started saying stuff in Nepalese. So my friend translated for me and said they were fighting over who wanted to take me back to the hotel. The generosity of the people in Nepal is astounding, and that is another reason that I am so anxious to want to go back and continue to help their community.
I think my biggest takeaway from participating in this trip multiple times is that it has made me start to realize what I want to do with my life once I graduate with my Bachelors in Chemical Engineering. I want to continue to work in underdeveloped nations doing both humanitarian work, as well as over time learning how to implement more engineering projects in these countries to give me the opportunity to also put the skills I have learned into use. To conclude, I plan on traveling back to Nepal by January 2020 at the latest, and until then, I will be wishing everyday that I could be back there sooner! NAMASTE
Six Rotary District 7475 Rotaract members recently had a life-changing experience when they traveled to Nepal to distribute donated school supplies and engage in community projects.
The students, Jeremy (Hightstown), Aiden and Collin Nodoro (Martinsville), Abby and Emily Fabiano (Somervillen), and Manuel Ramirez (Bound Brook), are all members of the Rotary District 7475 Rotaract members. They traveled to Nepal, January 2- 14, 2019 carrying 300 pounds of school supplies, which they donated to various schools in the region.
The supplies had been collected through fundraising efforts at the College in conjunction with the The Asha Project and members of the community. While in Nepal, the students participated in Rotaract community projects that included painting benches and walls. In conjunction with the ASHA (Nepali word for “Hope”) project, the students also visited many schools and community people in handing our sweaters and blankets.
As part of the trip, the Rotaractg members attended club meetings and projects in Pokhara, Patan, Kathmandu, Gorkha and Lamjung. They also met with representatives of Rotaract Nepal and other community groups; toured temples, schools and hiked the region. Rotaract member Abby Fabiano recalls many memorable moments in this trip, especially seeing little kid’s big smiles. “Imagine that a simple pencil and a notebook can bring such a wonderful smile”, said Abby. Despite the language barriers, Abby said “Giving a small gift to children was one of the most impactful experiences, just being able to communicate human to human.”
As members of the Rotary District 7475 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 District, contact Nemanja (Nik) Nikitovic, Nemanja.Nikitovic@raritanval.edu. If you are interested in traveling contact RotaryDistrict7475@gmail.com or visit http://www.theashaproject.org
Traveling to Nepal for Daniel was a mission of humanity. The language spoken there differed from his own. He had to adjust to eating the Nepalese food, so different from what he was used to in America. To a foreigner’s mind, the notion of an exotic locale at the top of the world incited mystery. Seeing the cracks in the roads, encountering the dust, walking among the ancient architecture in a completely different culture could have been very uncomfortable for Daniel. But that was not the case. The Nepalese culture did not shock, and any discomfort from a long journey was washed away by the love and gratitude of the people.
Any of those differences were superficial in light of the welcome
in Nepal. In fact, Daniel reported not noticing the differences till returning
home. For example, most of the food in America is processed while what he ate
in Nepal was mostly grown locally and prepared by those most likely to eat it.
The Nepali life struck him as more wholesome after he came home.
While there Daniel delivered school supplies to students. Those supplies did improve conditions for students but, more importantly, were a gesture that made ripples through the community. His acts of kindness forged connections with people and benefited people more than with tangible goods.
As Daniel said, “At the school for blind, I befriended a
particular group of kids. We hung out and they played on my guitar. All along I
couldn’t help wondering what it will be like to meet them again in a few years
time. Its true I have many new friends, and they all have brought me wisdom,
but above all, there was one who has impacted me in ways that cannot simply be
put in words. I will not give his name, so I will call him the ‘man on the
moon.’ Like a brother who I have never had. Humble as a man can be. Any lick of
avarice, if present, was covered by a pure gratitude and welcomeness for life.
If I could give one phrase to describe his air, it would be, ‘hard work in
silence, success is your noise.’ I feel that the seed we, the Rotaract clubs
and other friends, have planted, will provide a fruitful future.”
Daniel’s life was touched by his service in Nepal, just as he touched the lives of so many with his generosity of time and effort. If you would like to experience joy of meeting someone in an exotic land, and helping others, please contact the Friends of Nepal – New Jersey’s The Asha Project.
From a young age Marcel felt the need to help others. In the seventh grade he would volunteer at his church, becoming a tradition of service that continued through high school and into college. Now a graduate of the Raritan Valley Community College, who worked with children at the local YMCA. His studies and work augment the love of helping others.
After a chance encounter with Dr. Tulsi, Marcel learned of a greater opportunity to impact the lives of others. Till now Marcel’s giving focused on his local community. Through the Friends of Nepal – NJ’s ASHA PROJECT, Marcel embarked on a journey to help those in need across the globe. Joining the Asha Project, he will help bring hope back to Nepal. ASHA , which means hope in Nepali, provides relief to people in Nepal by not only providing micro credit loans to hard working people throughout Nepal, but by organizing volunteers, like Marcel, to help rebuild homes destroyed in the massive 2015 earthquake. Most of the nation was affected and many people still need homes, and children desperately need schools. Marcel and the Asha Project will bring them much needed supplies for schools and homes.
Marcel took part in 2017 Humanitarian Mission to Nepal and made connections that will last a lifetime. As Marcel said, “I am very excited to go to Nepal and experience their rich culture, to see Mount Everest from a distance, and meet new and exciting people.”
The Asha Project is grateful to Marcel and our other volunteers for their commitment to improving the lives of people in Nepal. If you would like to contribute, like Marcel, please reach out to the Asha Project at http://www.theashaproject.org/contact.html to find out more about how you can make a difference.
First of all I want to say Thank you to everyone who hosted us. You guys did an amazing job of making us feel at home. I truly enjoyed my time in Nepal and I will absolutely take my family there one day.
The Rotaract Club of New Road Pokhara members were awesome they did a great job of showing us the beautiful city of Pokhara. I was able to get very close to them because they were so loving and caring. One thing I learned from them was that they are very welling to help no matter in what way. For example they all were very aware of us and took care of us in whichever way they could. In Pokhara we did a lot; for example, the first two days we went to the 9th Rotaract Conference which was full of very talented young adults who are very willing to help the community. The next few days we went sightseeing, painting and delivered school supplies to a few schools. I remember giving the students the school supplies and the smile that came to their face really made me happy in the inside. I remember a quote I heard in Parbat by Antim Gurung and it stated, “You could go to a movie and have 3 hours of joy, but helping others is a happiness that will last a lifetime” and I truly believed those words. I also remember Hiking to the top of hill and seeing a big Buddha statue and then going up the stairs and seeing the whole city of Pokhara and my breath being taken away by the beauty of what I was seeing. Pokhara had so much to offer from a Five Star hotel to camping. The people that hosted us really did a great job of showing us what the city Pokhara really has to offer.
The last two days we stayed In Kathmandu with the Rotaract club of Rudramati. They also hosted us very good. I remember when we got there they took us to eat at a place where they order MoMo’s for us and they tasted very good and also sausage which was very good as well. They also took us to the Asha Project of the constructions of apartments and the painting of a park where many people go to hangout and have fun. I also remember eating where the construction site was and just seeing all the people there helping and doing a small part to help a city devastated by an earthquake two years ago. I also remember going to two schools and giving them schools supplies and they both received them with open arms. Kathmandu really showed me how close people get when there is devastation and no matter how bad the situation is life still goes on.
I learned a lot about myself in this trip because I was able to step out of my comfort zone and really engage with people I have never met before. But this trip really helped me come out of my shell and now I feel like I can take on any task put in front of me. Our friends from Kathmandu and Pokhara did such a great job of showing us Nepal that I feel like if I would have gone a lone and had done everything by myself I would have not experienced Nepal as I did with everyone that hosted us. 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.
The Asha project’s goal is to help today’s youth to become a Global Citizen. We have been supporting many schools in Nepal with scholarships, school building, books and supplies for underprivileged students in remote villages of Nepal. Students are getting opportunities to meet with students directly.
In this project we are trying to provide opportunities to: Broaden international understanding Explore NEW CULTURE Build enduring friendships Establish a foundation for peace and greater understanding Gain opportunities for active project involvement and support Learn about a region’s people, food, languages, customs, and history Finding partnership for new projects.
The Asha project’s goal is to help today’s youth to become a Global Citizen.
The 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.
More than reconstructing buildings, the project enriches lives by making connections between volunteers and those helped. The Friends of Nepal -NJ, Rotary club of Branchburg and Rotary District 7475’s special project “ASHA PROJECT” organizes trips for Rotaract students to participate in the GAP PROGRAM. 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.
Sebastian is one such person. He traveled to Nepal in 2017 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.
The 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.
As 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.”
The 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 us at www.theashaproject.org , The Asha Project to see how you can participate.
The Friends of the Asha Project team joined forces to take a “Global Action”, in January of 2016. Through the help of the Rotary Club of Branchburg and the Friends of Nepal-NJ, The Asha Project was able to raise funds to help many schools in Nepal to restore their buildings, purchase supplies, make technology upgrades, and provide a water supply.
Since 2015, after the major earthquake, we have planned four Humanitarian missions to Nepal and send two groups of Rotaract students to help the earthquake victims.
Now, we are working with local schools to raise funds to build a school in Nepal and give opportunities for our students to learn about 21st-century life and career skills as well as to engage as active citizens in a dynamic global society and to successfully meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st-century global village.
A tour to Nepal is always exciting, as you can have so many things to explore in this tiny country. You can immerse in the century-old temples in the medieval city squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur; experience the breathtaking views of the Himalayas in a trekking tour to Annapurna or other spectacular mountains in the Himalaya region. For wildlife and environmental lovers, exciting jungle safari at Chitwan National Park and their eco system is perfectly cut out, while a tour to Buddha’s birth place, Lumbini to learn about Buddha’s life and the development of Buddhism is an exciting venture.
Our 2019 Humanitarian Mission team of 6 will visit Kathmandu, Patan, Pokhara, Gorkha and Lumgung. They will work in collaboration with Rotary District 3292’s Rotaract team and with their SAP projects.
If you like to support this 2019 Humanitarian Mission team members with school supplies, blanket distribution and others, You can make a donation to our GOFundMe page. or you can donate with the Asha Project.
With your SUPPORT, we can make lives better in our community and around the world. Please give the GIFT of HOPE today and together we can keep Doing Good in the World.
BRANCHBURG — Rotary club of Branchburg teamed-up again to support veterans by donating $70.000 to seven different Veterans organizations. It’s become our tradition, for the past several years, Rotary club of Branchburg have collaborated with various Veterans organizations in support of the nation’s veterans. It’s our way to say “thank you” to our vets for providing the freedom we enjoy. With surviving veterans of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, it continues, along with thousands more who served in the Middle East and in other conflicts, there are literally thousands of veterans in the United States, too many of whom have fallen on hard times since their return to civilian life.
Branchburg Rotary Donates$70,000 to Veterans organizations during their annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Dinner and Service of Gratitude.
“There are many challenges facing our veterans when they return from active duty,” notes Joe Horner, Veterans Program chair.
“Examples are readjusting to civilian life and returning to the workforce. Sadly, many of the jobs they held before leaving to serve their country are no longer available, which makes the prospects of finding meaningful work more difficult than ever,” he points out. “To help in this time of need, Rotary club of Branchburg, our community, and many other Veterans Service organizations wanted to make a positive difference in their lives as one small way to show our gratitude for the sacrifices these heroes have made on behalf of all Americans.” For out-of-work veterans, food, shelter and clothing are often quite difficult to come by, particularly when it comes to seasonal items, such as winter coats and jackets. That was the motivation that launched the initial collection drive several years ago.
“Support for this worthy cause has grown each year,” says Joe. “Many people came together with timely donations to show how much we care about our veterans.”
The Rotary club of Branchburg was founded in 1988, has been doing many community service project. Rotary just celebrated its 30th anniversary. This year Rotary club of Branchburg raised more than $100,000 to help local veterans and the club distributed more than $71,000 dollars to seven different veterans organizations who helps veterans directly during their 17th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Dinner and Service of Gratitude. The Veterans organizations are Operation ChillOut, Operation Sisterhood, Frontline Arts, Operation Jersey Care, Welcome Home Vets, NJ Veterans Network and Horses for Forces.
Rotary International is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and works to build peace and goodwill in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 34,200 clubs across the globe.
As part of a unique old tradition, ethnic Newar community in New Jersey celebrated Mha Puja or the self worshiping on Saturday, November 10th. Mha puja, (Body worship) the worship of the inner self, is a unique tradition of the Newari community of Nepal. Newa people believe that one needs to understand and respect oneself before he/she can understand others. Mha puja (is purification, strengthening, empowering the soul and understanding of oneself). Mha puja exposes the relationship of a person with the surrounding nature and the cosmos. Mha Puja, which is marked annually during the Kathmandu’s second biggest festival Tihar. The day is celebrated as a part of celebrations of their New Year called Nepal Sambat as per the lunar calendar.
During the festival, family members gather and sit on the floor and worship their bodies with a belief that it will purify the body, mind and soul for enlightenment. They use the elements like flowers, fruits, oil lamps, nuts and sweets to worship after creating a colorful Mandala, circle of life.
Manda (Mandala) is an essential part of Mha puja celebration. First the floor is purified by sprinkling holy water. Next Mandalas are created on the floor in front of the row of seats for each family member. The total number of Mandalas exceeds the number of people in the household by three. One at the top of the line, which is usually smaller in size and separate from the rest, is for the House-God. This is followed by one for each and every member of the household and two additional ones at the end that are at right angles to the main row. The last two Mandalas are for the ever-watching Yamaraj and Jamaraj, the ambassadors of Death who are always ready to take sinners to hell.
Oil marks last longer just as Itah (oiled strand of strings) burns longer. Circles signify completeness. On the top of the oil rings a beautiful and artistic geometrical shape which constitutes the core of the Mandala, is created. The markings are done in yellow Potaye (yellow mustard powder). On the outside is a large ring enclosing a smaller one within which two squares are overlapped to form eight triangular shapes. Abhir (vermilion powder) is spread along the various Potaye lines. A handful of paddy and rice mixture is placed on each of the four triangles along the north-south and east-west lines with respect to the worshiper (worshiped) and one at the center of the Mandala.
Next comes the very important offer of light. Two Itaa (hand-woven cotton strands soaked in oil) about two and a half feet long, are lighted at each end and offered to the worshiped who accepts by chanting in Sanskrit – “Swah prakashah mahatejo sarbapatti bidapaham. Sabhayabhyamtaram jyoti deepoyam pratigrihyatam.” Newars use Sanskrit words during the worship. The light is accepted to enhance one’s inner supreme brightness and to drive away any possible problems. The blessing is for the person to be able to keep shining bright like the burning Itaa for a long, long time. The four lighted ends occupy the locations of the four outer paddy/rice lumps in the Mandala. Soaking of Itaa with mustard oil makes it last longer. The lights are kept on through the completion of the whole Mha puja process. Light, which is considered as one of the five elements used to create the universe (the other four are air, water, earth, and sky), has a special meaning in worships. The offer of light spiritually brightens the inner self, makes it more powerful and keeps anything evil at bay.
Sagun is another very important part of Mha Puja. Offering of Swaga (Sagun) to a person is usually made to to a person for their extraordinary and meaningful achievement. Dhau Swaga on the forehead unveils the shining and cheerful face enjoying a great celebration. Next comes the all important Khen (egg) Sagan. Khen Sagan constitutes the offering of Nyata (the five elements of egg, fish, Rakshi, bada and meat).. Nyata (five) signifies the five elements of water, fire, earth, air and space.
The final purification of the soul and the blessings come from the Naki (female head of the community) with a pouring of a mixture of paddy, flowers, pieces of fruits, abhir (vermilion powder), aakhen (hand-milled rice) and taye in a Patthi (bronze container about a gallon size). All during the puja, the light keep burning, the incense keeps spreading fragrance and the colorful Mandalas keep cheering the mood. Completion of Mha puja is achieved after the Naki drags tuphi (broom) from House-God’s Mandala all the way down to Jamaraj’s Mandala.
Shilpy Malla, a Hillsborough resident attended the event with her husband and young son. “This is my first time to experience such unique celebration with FONNJ family. I feel lucky to celebrate this special Mha Puja with my family,” Malla said.
Shilpa with her family
Shilpa with her family
The participants also enjoyed homemade special dishes like Sanya Khuna, PauuKwa, MeeKwa, Sisa pusha, special sweets, Pukula and Thou (special brewed liquor, popular among Newar community). Young kids prepared Masala pow (dreid fruits and sweets) and helped to prepare Mandala – circle of life.
“The main purpose of this event was to teach our young generation about our culture and tradition”, said, FONNJ Vice President Roshan Karmacharya. Surendra Man Singh, said, “We are very rich in culture and tradition thus the participation of young generation in such rituals strengthen the ties between community and culture of birth. It is an integral part of culture preservation.”
Our past programs have proven that one small loan can change a family. Several loans can strengthen a community and Thousands of small loans can transform an entire Village.
Micro Loan Distribution
Micro Loan Distribution
Micro Loan Distribution
With the Rotary International’s $95,000 matching grant, Rotary club of Branchburg and Rotary club of Mahabouddha in Nepal, is changing many peoples lives in Nepal. With a small $500 loan can buy a new tool, a machine, or a shop in the marketplace—millions of the world’s poor and low-income people have taken advantage of small loans to improve their lives. Over the past three decades, people have used these loans, known as Micro Credit, to launch new enterprises, create jobs and help economies to flourish. Poor people have proved time and again that they are able to repay these loans on time.
2018 Humanitarian Mission visit with the Micro Credit Loan distributors and Rotary club of Mahaboudha members.
2018 Humanitarian Mission visit with the Micro Credit Loan distributors.
2018 Humanitarian Mission visit with the Micro Credit Loan distributors.
What is it?
The Asha Project’s Micro Credit program is founded on a novel idea that education and financial support, not charity, provides the surest way out of poverty for poor families, Rotary Districts 7510 USA and 3292 Nepal in collaboration with the Friends of Nepal- NJ established the
“Legacy of Hope Micro Credit Project” to provide Nepal earthquake victims with $100,000 worth of micro credit loans. As a result, these people will gain knowledge and a source of income for themselves and their families.
The micro credit project has been empowering and providing hope for hundreds of people in Nepal to take control of their lives, improve their family’s standard of living and provide what every family wants for their children — hope for a brighter future through better nutrition, health care and most importantly education.
Our Rotary clubs are working on various ways to alleviate local poverty, one of which is to provide loans for disadvantaged people. Micro loans are powerful instruments for reducing poverty by enabling people to increase income and reduce their vulnerability to economic stress. Micro loans are also a powerful catalyst for empowering women.
For the past ten years our project has helped to provide loans to more than 500 families. The Branchburg Rotary is providing real hope and opportunity for a better future for the people of Nepal. If you like to learn more about the project, please contact Past District Governor Dr. Tulsi Maharjan at email@example.com