Do for nation’

Nearly 25 lakh rupees raised by the Help Nepal Network (HeNN) from Nepalis in 14 countries around the world were given out at a ceremony on Monday to fund education programs in Nepal.
The money was donated through a program called ‘Rs100 a Month Fund for Nepal’ in which Nepalis all over the world forego a bottle of beer or
plate of momo a month and donate it to the network. There are nearly 100 projects in health, education and disaster mitigation. Among the
beneficiaries on Monday was a school in Parbat that got nearly Rs 600,000 to build a library, a health post in Dhanusha, a project to train
community school teachers in Kavre, help to buy science lab equipment for a school in Ramechhap, a water project in Dhulikhel and nearly Rs 11 lakhs to buy furniture for a community school in Sankhu.

“The Help Nepal Network links Nepalis everywhere with a chain of love,”
said actor Hari Bansha Acharya at Monday’s ceremony, “the word ‘donation’ now also means ‘do for nation’.”

The 100 Rupees a Month Fund also supports e-libraries, infrastructure for schools and health posts, and uses money donated by Nepalis from Austria, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand.

HeNN’s Rabindra Mishra calls this “practical philanthropy” because it aims to collect small amounts of money from a large amount of people to make a difference. “We encourage Nepalis and those who love Nepal around the world to help Nepalis with health and education in rural Nepal,” Mishra says.

Also present on the occasion was Rameswore Khanal, the former finance secretary, who resigned earlier this year after his new minister refused to go after those accused in a fake VAT bill scam. Khanal said Nepalis shouldn’t wait for political stability in Nepal to help or invest in the country: “If we wait for stability we may be waiting for a long time, and many of Nepal’s problems can’t wait.”

Khanal added: “Ghettoised affluence is inherently unstable, and will
ultimately threaten those who are better off. You are not just helping
long-term stability by helping the disadvantaged, but you also gain a lot
of personal satisfaction.”

HeNN doesn’t use any of the money donated from the 100 Rupees program for overheads and administrative costs. That is all paid from a trust fund of more than Rs 1 crore donated by Siddartha Rana. The new three-person office in Chabel runs on the interest of a trust fund created by Rana’s donation.

“Why complain that the government is doing nothing? Little things that we can do ourselves can bring great changes,” says Mishra. A group of second generation Nepalis in London raised Rs 1.2 million running a marathon this year, and the money was handed over for school upgrade projects in Bajura, Sindhupalchok and Morang during Monday’s ceremony.

HeNN keeps meticulous records of all its projects and provides detailed
accounts of where the money goes. Donors are kept updated about where and how their contributions are being used.

Says Mishra: “Not everyone can be a social worker. What we are trying to say is you won’t miss that extra bottle of beer or plate of momo, but it will make a big difference back home, a little can add up to a lot.”

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