Here are some profile of our young Change Makers in 2015
Anil Maharjan: A Young Professonal Change Maker
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 $50,000 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 www.theashapproejct.org to learn and support the project.
Notwithstanding the everyday struggles of a soon-to-be high school senior, Uditi Karna has taken it upon herself to aid her community in the most efficient way possible. While ambitious to achieve her academic goals in school, she has simultaneously devoted herself to public service through her organization: Made for Aid.
Towards the end of Uditi’s sophomore year, her and her friend Malavika realized that their school was incredibly privileged and talented, especially in the arts department. They thought: how can we take advantage of this resource? Over the summer they discussed nitty-gritty logistics, took a stab at web design, and produced Made for Aid. The general concept behind this organization is: students donate their artwork, Made for Aid sells the pieces on its website, and the profits go towards something charitable.
By the time they had raised over $10,000, the news of the earthquake in Nepal had sensationalized the media. There was no other cause more worthy of donation in their eyes. However, even though the destination of the funds had been selected, the two Co-Founders were worried that their money would be used ineffectively. After expressing their thoughts to the head of their school, they received the prestigious Community Service grant to go to Nepal themselves and ensure that their funds were having an impact.
While in Nepal, Uditi and her friend managed to take a journey to the dangerous, mountainous area of Sindhupalchowk multiple times. One day, they visited 7 different villages in order to find schools in need of funding. Another day, they held a health camp which brought in almost 350 villagers for their very first health check-up. And on the other days, they witnessed and helped out in the construction of the six homes Made for Aid had funded. The homes were built for not just any village family, but for the poorest-of-the-poor Dalit (untouchable) families. It really hit Uditi when she found out that the Dalits were not receiving any of the donations given to the villages of Sindhupalchowk, and that is why she made sure that these homes were built for none other than them.
Besides Sindhupalchowk, another place that received the help of Made for Aid was Bhaktapur. In an area of Bhaktapur called Thulo Byasi (Ward No. 10), there is a camp full of tents set up by a group called ArTree Nepal. These tents house all displaced families who have lost their home. While walking through the rubble-filled streets of the town and speaking to families living in the tents, the two girls found out that an unreasonable amount of children had dropped out of school because of financial reasons post-earthquake. After hearing the stories of many, they decided to fund the tuition of five underprivileged students who wished to continue their studies.
In these ways, Uditi was able to give back to her own community by herself. However, this was not the first time she had helped her home country. Four years ago she raised money for Raksha Nepal: a home for sexually-exploited girls and their children. It was not until this year that she had a chance to visit and was given a warm welcome and a certificate of appreciation. During that time she had also understood the terms of her grandmother’s death and realized that if her grandmother had had an ambulance to transport her to the hospital, she may have survived. In honor of her grandmother, she funded the construction of an urgent care building (that included ambulance services) in her father’s village of Godar, Janakpur as well.
It is because of those with a passion for service like Uditi that the next generation of Nepalese in America can be inspired to take a shot at humanitarian work. We are proud of her accomplishments and wish the best for her as she comes to the end of her high school career.
When someone falls down your initial gut reaction is to take them by their hands and pull them back up. However, imagine seeing them fall, seeing the pain and suffering, seeing the loss and all
the tragedy right in front of you but unable to reach them.
This is a modest interpretation of what I felt when I first heard about the earth quake. I hadn't known fear and heartache until I went through those three days following the initial quake. All I did was sit in my room going through articles upon articles, pictures upon pictures of the tragedy waiting, praying for some sort of word on how my family was doing. It was excruciating. Three days had never felt so long. In three days I prayed the most I ever had in my whole life. When we finally got word on family I felt like I could finally breathe again. My family was safe and that was all that mattered to me. The pain however did not end there. As I looked at all these pictures of fallen temples and broken homes and lost lives my heart broke.
It was the first time in my life that I truly understood what it meant to be devastated. Anyone who knows me knows that I have immense pride in my country. There is no place in the world that brings me more joy and happiness than Nepal. There is nothing I truly love more than the people of Nepal. So for me every life lost felt so agonizingly personal like I had lost someone in my own family.
This was the first time in my life I had ever felt like things may not be okay. That life may never go back to normal and I couldn't stand that thought. Never had I ever felt such a strong urge to do something. My country needed help and I was willing to give it everything I had and therefore I started this initiative. It was a simple idea but I needed to do something and I needed to do it fast so I talked to Dr. Maharjan and we both decided the best thing to do to raise funds would be to sell bracelets. And so I did. I sold anywhere and everywhere I could. I sold them in churches, I sold them in school, I sold them at concerts, I sold them at temples, I sold them on doorsteps, there wasn't a place I wouldn't sell these bracelets. However there is no way I can take all the credit for this. It was Dr. Maharjan that gave me this idea and encouraged me to go on with it.
I also could not have done it without my parents and all their help in the process. But most of all I could not have done it with out all my lovely friends who took time out of their days to sell
bracelets with me and get the word out about the cause. And of course all the kind hearted people who bought bracelets and fully supported this cause that I hold so close to my heart.
Our work is far from over. Aftershocks are still happening in Nepal even today. Rubble still lays on the streets of Nepal and homes have yet to be rebuilt. Together with our efforts we can reach Nepal, take it by its hands, and pull it back on its feet.
Nepal Day Celebrtion at the Readington Middle School in Hunterdon County, NJ