31 July 2016: Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) Australia is in the final process of completing a major philanthropic project in eastern Nepal, says NSW coordinator of the diaspora organisation. Dinesh Pokharel further added that the construction of Pathibhara Shradhdhashram, a retirement village for helpless senior citizens, is the biggest project NRNA Australia has so far signed with the Government of Nepal.
NRN Australia, under immediate past president Mahendra Oli, had singed a memorandum of understanding with Biratnagar Sub-Metropolitan Municipality to construct the retirement home which, when completed, would provide safe and convenient sanctuary to at least fifty elderly citizens of the region. And it is only the first phase of the philanthropic project!
Mr Pokharel told southasia.com.au that members of the Nepalese community in New South Wales alone have pledged over $120,000 in the past two months. “This is in addition to the approximately $100,000 we already sent for the project last year,” he reminded.
The complete list of donors who have pledged a total of $135,000 was made public at a fundraising dinner held at Sydney’s Blacktown last Friday.
The donor list includes Consul General of Nepal in New South Wales Deepak Khadka, Mukesh Regmi, Sanjib Sharma and Badri Aryal (jointly), Bhawani Oli, Mahendra Oli, Pradip Dhakal, Ramesh Pande and Bhairab Dhakal who have pledged to contribute NRs 1 million each (approximately $12,000 each).
All donors have promised to honour the pledges in less than three months, Mr Pokharel said and added that funds are never going to be an issue hereon. “Even if we have, many community members are willing to chip in more,” he said.
Civil Engineer Rajan Sitoula, who is coordinating the construction of the project on behalf of NRNA Australia, said the retirement home will have eight common rooms with four beds in each as well as four single rooms with attached toilets and bathrooms – a massive facility in a country where the concept of well-furnished retirement homes is still a distant dreams.
The project reminds of the constructive role non-resident Nepalese living across the world can play to create pockets of happiness back in their country of origin. In this regard, NRNA’s role in the aftermath of last year’s devastating earthquake also cannot be forgotten. The global body is in the process of building an entire village in Gorkha district, near the epicentre of the 7.8 magnitude temblor.
When asked if NRNA has become a “fund-creating machine” for philanthropic causes (given the number of fund-raising activities the organisation has led since last year’s earthquake), Mr Pokharel was reluctant to accept the nickname because it might not be always possible to achieve as much, he argued.
The southasia.com.au understands a good chunk of funds are yet to be added to the $135,000 already pledged or raised because Melbourne and other major capital cities are still to organise their own fundraising events.
All in all, some fifty lucky senior citizens of eastern Nepal are set for a cosy retirement home, complete with a doctor’s room.