In a joint effort of Help Nepal Network and Grassroot Movement in Nepal (GMIN), the first-ever Walk for Nepal event is being organised at the Royal Richmond Park in London on the 27th of July. Jay gurung, a graduate in Pharmacy from the University of Bath and an active member of GMIN – a UK based non-profit organisation that builds schools in rural parts of Nepal-- is co-ordinator of the event. Following excerpts of an interview with him:
NSUK correspondent: Walk for Nepal? Could you please tell us what this campaign is all about?
Jay Gurung: Walk for Nepal is a walkathon event with an aim to provide a common platform for various non-profit organisations, operating in Nepal or for Nepalese community, to raise awareness of their work through sharing and raise fund at the same time by walking a certain course.
Non-residential Nepalese population in the UK has increased considerably in the past 10 years. The population consists of many highly skilled people such as doctors, nurses, engineers and so on. There are numerous business owners, traders who have successfully made their mark amongst non-Nepalese communities. Consequently, the earning capacity and network of the community has grown substantially over time. Hence, the potential for the Nepali diaspora to make meaningful contributions back to Nepal has also increased. Walk for Nepal is aiming to plant the seed of civic collaboration and practical philanthropy for Nepal in each and every non-residential Nepali in the UK and around the world.
Walk for Nepal was first organised in Boston, Massachusetts on 2011 by an organisation 'Nepal ko Yuwa'. Over 300 walkers walked for 11 different organisations raising more than $15,000. Since then the walk has been organised in different cities of the United States, such as New York, Dallas and Washington DC, raising more than $50,000 dollars. Now, with the joint efforts of Grassroot Movement in Nepal and Help Nepal Network, Walk for Nepal has crossed the Atlantic and arrived in London to provide Nepalese in the UK an opportunity to be a part of this successful movement.
Also, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, Ample International Institute and Nirmaya Rodhighar, and all the supporters of the event.
NSUK correspondent: Why should Nepalese join this campaign? Which other organisations are taking part?
Jay Gurung: As mentioned earlier, Nepalese diaspora is fast growing in the UK and the potential of this population, with increasing earning capacity, to contribute back to Nepal is huge. Walk for Nepal will act as an umbrella organisation to promote various non-profit organisations, mostly youth-led, and provide them a platform to raise funds for their outstanding works in Nepal. Hence, Nepalese and non-Nepalese in the UK willing to help Nepal should join this movement and walk with us, walk with one of the participating organisations and show their support.
So far we have eight different organisations participating this year at Walk for Nepal, London.
Help Nepal Network: www.helpnepal.net
Grassroot Movement in Nepal: www.gmin.us
Mukti: Helping Maiti Nepal
Naya Yuva: www.nayayuva.org
Live for Change: www.liveforchange.org.uk
Heartbeat UK: www.heart-beat.org
Koseli: Helping Koseli orphanage in Nepal
NRN UK: Non-Resident Nepalese Association UK chapter www.nrnuk.org
NSUK correspondent: How can walkers join the walk?
Jay Gurung: Walkers can register themselves at www.walkfornepal.org
Walkers can choose the charity organisation they wish to walk for prior to submitting the registration. Registered walkers can sponsor themselves and ask their friends and families to sponsor them.
They can get more information from the facebook event page: Walk for Nepal London
NSUK correspondent: What is the main message of this campaign? What would you like to say to the Nepalese youths in the UK?
Jay Gurung: As most of us have moved out of the country in search of a better life, education and employment, there are still hundreds of thousands of unfortunate brothers and sisters back home lacking basic needs. Our collective efforts can bring positive changes in their lives, does not matter how small it is it will be a contribution towards our people and our country. Let's come together at Richmond Park on 27th of July and walk together to help bring these social changes in Nepal. Let's Walk for Nepal.
Most of the participating organisations in this walkathon are youth led organisations. Nepalese youths in the UK are aware of the difficulties and hardship people back home face in their daily lives. Through social media and internet, youths today stay well updated with the news and current affairs of the country. Hence, most of us are actively involved in voluntary works with charity organisations. I, personally, would request every youth to get involved with charity work, or continue their effort who already are, because there is a mutual benefit in social work.
NSUK correspondent: How will you ensure that money raised from this campaign will be well utilised?
Jay Gurung: Since this is a non-profit event, transparency is one thing we strive to emphasize during the running of this event. Reports from previous walks in the cities of the US can be found on the website. Similarly, we promise to provide a final financial statement after the event.
The credibility of participating organisations is visible in their corresponding websites given above. We sincerely request all walkers to look into their website and facebook page to read about their works in Nepal. More information will be provided on the event day too.
NSUK correspondent: Do you have any plans to give continuity to this campaign in the future?
Jay Gurung: Yes, this will be an annual event. I am sure next year there will be more organisations and more walkers taking part in the Walk for Nepal.