I’ve been living in the UK for over 4 years now. But having spent the preceding 17 years of my life in Nepal, being Nepali is something that’ll never leave my system. I guess this is true for most Nepali people who’re currently living in the UK. It hasn’t been that long since a lot of us came over. So, the Nepalipan is still there to see (especially apparent when I hear stories about people from The Midlands drive to London just to eat at momo restaurants). I am proud of my Nepalese heritage. I never hesitate to tell my non Nepali friends about our rich culture and natural diversity. Unfortunately, every time I tell my friends about how wonderful Nepal is, one way or the other, I end up lamenting about the political turmoil and the instability in our homeland. I start with Everest and Buddha, but it ends in Nepal bandhs and load sheddings.
I write this blog, not to discuss politics though. Quite frankly, I am not the most politically aware person in the world. I admit that the first thing I read on a newspaper is the sports section. And even though, I genuinely want to see some form of stability in the government, I am not sure what I can contribute to it really. Now and then, I get flashes of patriotism and I think of how I could perhaps contribute. But without any conclusions, the feeling dissipates. If politics stimulates you, let me introduce you to this group where you’ll get the opportunity to speak to like minded people. The group is called Bikalpa and it aims to find an alternative to the current situation of Nepal.
So like me, if you are a political ignoramus who genuinely wants to contribute to development in Nepal, where do you and I stand? Well obviously there are other areas we can contribute to. If you were schooled in Nepal, I’m sure your Social Studies teacher must have told you a million times about the lack of infrastructures in rural parts of the country. Things we take for granted now like transport, energy, safe drinking water, internet and perhaps more importantly, education are all hardly there. And that’s where Grassroots Movement in Nepal (GMIN) comes in. I came across GMIN via our dear friend Facebook last summer. And with that, presented opportunities to do something good for Nepal, however small, but something I can be proud of.
GMIN is a registered non-profit organisation in the USA and was founded by individuals who wanted to see changes made from a Grassroots level in Nepal. GMIN is based in New York City, U.S.A. from where they liaise with sister organisations in Nepal. Together, they are currently working towards improving the education sector in rural Nepal. Their projects include things like giving schools in rural areas a “makeover” to improve the facilities for students, providing books and stationery and even providing clothing for children. You can also sponsor a student through GMIN and financially support their educational needs.
So how can us, UK based folks, get involved? It’s simple really. With the help of some like minded friends, we have already laid the foundations for a GMIN sister organisation in the UK (GMIN UK). We are now looking for more people to join us and contribute ideas that we can act upon. There are some events we’ve planned that are already in the pipeline and will be organised around summer time of 2011. These will mostly be fundraising events and the money will go towards renovating another school or sponsoring a child. You probably have the odd fundraiser around your school or university for different causes. How wonderful would it be if we could do something similar for Nepal? For as little as £65, we can sponsor a student studying in Grade 11/12 for a whole year. That is not a big amount if we all work together. By spreading the word about GMIN around, we can get more people to attend these events we can make the fundraiser more successful. Should you wish for a more “hands on” involvement, some of us are also thinking of going to Nepal as a group to partake in a GMIN project. Once we get going, the possibilities are endless. A distant goal is achieved by many small steps in the right direction.
If you’d like to know more about GMIN, please “like” this page on facebook
Also, you can join our GMIN UK group and contact me (Kushal Joshi) for any queries.
Check out the video of GMIN –
Check out the video of GMIN –