Aakar Nepal was co-founded by Pestalozzi International Foundation, UK Alumni Prabha Upreti and Chhiring Lama. Pestalozzi is a UK-based charity that offers life-changing opportunities to young people from underprivileged communities around the world. The team ran a project in 2021 for the first time as a pilot project under a Pestalozzi Development Fund which resulted in positive outcomes. Hence, the team applied for Pestalozzi Development Fund grant one more time again and was awarded £1095 in February which allowed the team to implement their 3-month summer program for youth. This year, the core target participants were students studying from grades 9 to 12. Ten participants were selected for this year and completed a 3-month program by impacting different communities of Nepal. 

Aakar Nepal works to generate interest and confidence among youths to design and implement solutions to problems in their community and equip them with the right tools and resources to do so. It is a 3-month program where youth who are dedicated to creating positive social impact are guided to create and execute a project of their choice. Each participant is assigned specific mentors who are already in the professional world to help them throughout the project duration.

Six of us from Samaanta – Yubraj Ale Magar, Dipak Patel, Shobha Adhikar, Dipa Amgai, Dila KC, and Jay Kumar – also had the opportunity to attend the program. We also benefitted from additional programs such as career advising and guest lectures. Each of us was required to come up with a specific problem our community was facing. Then, we were assigned a mentor according to our interests. We also had to identify solutions to challenges that could potentially arise during the period of our project. The six of us attempted projects related to social media addiction, the gender gap in education, caste discrimination, child rights with a focus on orphans and street children, waste management and out-of-school children consecutively. 

The main aim of the whole program was to enable us the participants to solve the problem of our communities through different strategies.  Even though we could not completely resolve the problems we worked on solutions to an extent. During this program, Aakar Nepal provided the necessary resources to the participants to help us make our project successful. It covered finding a specific problem, project brainstorming, planning, project management, effective communication, building a supportive community, public speaking, presentation, and higher education and career discussion, etc. These skills enabled us to handle and implement the projects on our own. During the 3-month program, we went to our community and carried out the project by directly approaching the community members facing the problem. Our performance was evaluated during the whole period and in the end, we were awarded on the basis of our performance.

Aakar provided us an opportunity to engage ourselves in different communities and coordinate with the locals to mitigate the respective challenges. In addition to contributing to different communities in Nepal, through Aakar Nepal, we were also able to explore and learn new things and achieve professional as well as personal growth.

Aakar has been successfully contributing to the different communities of Nepal through its 3-month program. It has been inspiring students and the community to work together to resolve the problem of the community. The step of Aakar might look small for the world, but it can be the beginning of a bigger change and impact. We are grateful to have had an opportunity to be part of this initiative. These kinds of initiatives should be directly and indirectly recognized for their importance and supported by the broader communities.