Hear me out, you’ve probably felt this way before. Or rest assured, dealt with it. A feeling if explained in words is simply ‘baffling’. This can be overlooked by many, and grudgingly I plead guilty to this too.
Beneath all the chaos in our life which is inevitable there is a moment of quietness. We find ourselves craving, yearning for something that could mend the aching gap. Unfortunately, we have no idea how. It leaves us dumbfounded, frustrated. But now I’ve come to realize that these very defining moments were forcing me to seek a deeper truth and dive into what happiness really meant for me.
A month back I met this guy through a mutual friend. We agreed to meet at Himalayan Java the very next day. As I hurriedly made my way through the doors and took my seat, he greeted me with a huge smile. I started bombarding him with questions. He answered each of them patiently all the while listening to me attentively. Still, one question lingered in my mind and I blurted it without a thought “So how is it different from any other organization? What makes it stand out?” Maybe it is because I have worked with plenty of organizations, few of which have made me skeptical about their real agenda. He slightly smiled and replied ” We are all familiar with the concept of ‘reinventing the wheel’, that leadership lies in small steps you take which seem insignificant at first but can make a huge difference. Well, in simple, we aim for impact. We really care about our scholars and the students, we believe in creating a process where students are learning, enjoying and the impacts are long-sustained. Not only the scholars, everyone involved in the process care for the result be it the trainers, funders, facilitators, team, interns. The impact is absolutely important for us. And the greatest asset of our team is the feeling of belongingness and the zeal for change.”
Right then and there, there was something about it that warmed my core, brought a surge of energy. This was when I first met the co-founder, the Chairperson and Executive Director of Canopy Nepal, Mohit Rauniyar. It took us just a single conversation to realize that we clicked.
A week later, we met at their office in Baluwatar and as I was given a tour through their various work sections, I quickly realized that it was far bigger than my assumptions. A youth-led social enterprise, it was a platform with limitless opportunities which was making a sustainable impact in the education sector from grass root to the macro level. I got to know about all the remarkable works they have done in various schools, their programs like Learner’s Hub (Katha Bunaun, Lekhau, EIC), Young Learners’ Camp, Green Minds, Canopy Nepal Scholarship program (CANSHIP), Friends of Nepal- Adelaide Inc Education Scholarship (FESSHIP), Panel Discussion sessions, Free Mid-Day school meals, teachers’ trainings and many more. As I read through the success stories of their scholars written down on chart paper hung on the office walls it re-ignited the spark in me. I vividly recall a photo in the conference room taken during one of their career counseling programs. It showed a drunkard father in the audience watching his son speak on the stage about his dreams of becoming a pilot. The tears in his eyes reflected pride, immense pride. I heard from the team that he gave up his drinking habit and pledged to support his son after that session. This was one amidst the hundreds of stories I heard about how Canopy Nepal had touched the lives of many young minds and actually changed them. Not just was I fascinated but I felt this deep respect to the team working for such a noble cause. I didn’t need to give any second thought before accepting the Goodwill Ambassadorship of such an organization that has been working relentlessly for equitable access of education to underprivileged and promoting quality education. Rather I felt tremendously grateful and blessed to get the opportunity to work with people who shared the same love, the same passion for change. As I outlined my visions and work plan, I was fully convinced that Canopy Nepal would not be an organization to me. It would be my way of giving back while I too would embark on my pursuit of happiness.
Written By: Sareesha Shrestha
Sareesha Shrestha is the Goodwill Ambassador at Canopy Nepal. She is a medical student and the Immediate Past President at Rotaract Club of KIST Medical College. Sareesha will be supporting Canopy to reach out missions of creating educational accessibility of underprivileged students and promoting interactive learning in education.