Posted by Bibhav Acharya
In January 2010, we received an enthusiastic email from a Nepali living in Norway who was impressed with Nyaya’s work and wanted to fundraise for Achham. A few months later, Chhavi Raj Bhatt and his team raised over $10,000 at a concert and birthday party in Oslo. We asked them a few questions about their inspirations and their experience:
How did you first hear about Nyaya?
Few days after starting a Facebook group, Reinforcing Nepal, I found blog news being posted on its wall “Nyaya Health Launches Capital Campaign for Hospital Expansion”. The news was very encouraging and interesting that lead me/us to learn more about the mission and activities of Nyaya Health published on its website.
What first motivated you and your friends to conduct a fundraiser?
My friends Dr. Knut Skyberg and Ms. Borgny Ween are the main fundraisers. The socio-economical condition, general health, high maternal and child mortality rates in Achham have been alienating people in the region for a long time. The deep rooted tradition of Chhaupadi (where a woman is forced to live in a cowshed when she is having periods) has been making the situation much worse. While I have been in Norway, we had been discussing all these serious issues and also about the possible collective efforts if something, however small, could be done to help discourage the worsening situation in the region. In the mean time, we came to know about the Nyaya Health’s adorable activities in the area. Personally, I have also been feeling to do some philanthropic work as I came from Baitadi district, where people have been living with similar socio-economical and health conditions like that of Achham. I still feel sorrow that a few of my cousins died as neonates due to the lack of primary health care and safe delivery. Also, one of my aunts, along with her twins, lost her life during giving birth to them. So, all those events in my childhood have been imprinted in my memory so strongly that I felt heartedly to be associated with Nyaya Health’s noble work.
Please describe the fund-raising event that you hosted on behalf of Nyaya.
Knut celebrated his 60th birthday in May 2010 and he had invited “The Hollies”, his top most favourite rock group over to Oslo on this occasion. It was planned that the surplus money earned through the Hollies concert should go for supporting health projects in Nepal, and fortunately, Nyaya Health managed to get the primary attention for it. The idea was published on January 2010 issue of Hamro Patrika, as titled “Concert with The Hollies in support of projects in western Nepal”. Hamro Patrika is a magazine published by Norway-Nepal Association (www.norge-nepal.no). In the meantime, it was also planned to collect some donations through individual contributions from the friends of Knut and Borgny who would attend birthday celebration. As planned, I made a Powerpoint presentation to the audience at the birthday party highlighting the works of Nyaya Health including its mission. The presentation prepared from my own experience and Nyaya Health website was applauded by the guests more than I had expected. I am happy that I could help to make people understand about the Nyaya Health’s mission and objectives.
What aspect of the event do you think inspired your audience to support Nyaya’s work?
The fundraisers/audience were very much inspired by the motto of Nyaya Health; transparency, participation, evaluation and responsiveness. Besides, its commitment to allocate > 99 % of any donation to spend on health care delivery further impressed them. Another impressive factor about Nyaya Health was the selection of Achham, one of the remotest places, for establishing primary health care centre. Moreover, the presentation based on my childhood memory mimicking the present situation in and around Achham could add further inspiration.
How much did your team raise from this event?
This event raised about USD 10, 000 both from the concert and individual donations.
How do you see yourself and your colleagues continuing to be involved with Nyaya in the future?
The work that Nyaya Health is doing for the needy people in Achham is praiseworthy. Therefore, I would like to engage myself in the future within my personal capacity in whatever possible way. The continuous transparent operation and regular communication from Nyaya Health could motive my (Norwegian) colleagues.
7. Any other comments?
I think it might be useful for Nyaya Health to be part of greater Nepalese Diaspora from around the world and tie up with Non-Resident Nepali Association to expand its mission for its sustainability in future. I also hope that Nyaya Health would put its continuous effort for preventive health programs as awareness regarding sanitation and preventive measures against infectious diseases among rural population to reduce morbidity and mortality.
Last but not the least; I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Knut, Borgny and their friends for raising this fund for Nyaya Health. We wish the extension of Nyaya Health’s services to the larger population in the regions could be possible through many more such clinics in the future.