A young woman in Pokhara, who chooses not to reveal her real name, but prefers to be called Aneekarma, is gradually becoming well-known for her active engagement in social work and helping those in need.
When she was doing her +2, a massive earthquake shook Nepal to its core, leaving many suffering and in need. That is when Aneekarma, now 22, knew she had to get involved and do what she could to help. “I contacted a couple of my friends and we collected food and funds,” she remembers. They then visited villages in Rasuwa and Dhading to distribute the supplies they had collected.
After the earthquake, helping others became an important part of her life. When she can’t be directly involved, she works as a mediator. Since the earthquake, she has been continuously linking those in need with those who can help or donate to the cause.
Aneekarma has been doing the same now. With the country under the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic, she has been locating people who need her help through social media, friends, and sometimes even through phone calls that she gets from random folks who have heard of her and her work.
Aneekarma was a major helping hand in the case of Dambar Bahadur Shimkada, a poor man whose wife suffered from kidney failure. She managed to arrange Rs 150,000 for the wife’s treatment through crowd-sourcing. Aneekarma also rustled up Rs 50,000 for the family of Birenda Yadav, an India-returnee who had died while being stuck at the border during the lockdown.
Aneekarma has only just graduated with degrees in sociology and rural development from the Pokhara Multiple College. But she has been involved in different social initiatives like clean-up campaigns since her early childhood.
“During the current pandemic, I have played a role in helping people in over 15 cases,” she shares. “I believe we should all help those who are less fortunate than us. If you have the will, there’s always a way”.
Those involved in social work and helping others can often feel overwhelmed, as the work never stops. Because of this, it is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Aneekarma understands this. “I make sure I find some time for myself every day,” she says.
Despite her young age, she has already gained quite a bit of experience in social work, and in the challenges involved. “Sometimes, even when we collect help for someone, getting it to the needy can be difficult. In addition, raising funds while not being affiliated to an organization can be complicated,” she adds.
People with negative attitude are the main problem. “Maybe they’ve heard stories of how some people have disappeared with people’s money in the name of helping others,” she says. Most of the time, Aneekarma ignores her critics: “Why panic when my heart’s in the right place?”
Besides her social work, Aneekarma is also engaged in ‘What The Book Club’ in Pokhara that fosters a reading culture.
She also uses her voice to raise awareness on different social issues in her community. “I have been a part of many peaceful protests against caste-based discriminations and other social evils in Pokhara,” she explains.
She says it is not money but willingness that is needed to help those in need. “After all, there are many ways to help,” she adds.
Aneekarma believes many people in need are still “out of our sight”. Thus there is a need for constant vigilance “lest someone needs our urgent help.”