Three Nepalese Schools Just Got a Little Brighter Thanks to People Like You
By Paul Smid, Project Ambassador at Heroes and Friends.
Does this sound familiar to you?
You are going about your life and suddenly you come across a situation that hits you on a deep emotional level. "This is such a good example of what is wrong with the world," you might think. And you feel a strong call to action. You can’t sleep that night. You swear to yourself that you won't rest until this situation is fixed.
But after a bad night’s sleep a gloomy reality sets in. You don’t have the money, the time or the appropriate expertise to fix this. You don’t have the network and you have plenty of your own problems to worry about. Your intended project gets filed into the ‘One day I will do something about this’ category in your head and life goes on….
But it does not have to be this way. The story of Jeff Gomez, a 22-year-old changemaker, who is living in Amsterdam the Netherlands is an example of how we can all make a difference. Through a friend, who had spent time volunteering in Nepal, Gomez heard about the Maya Universe schools.
The Maya Universe schools are the first three private schools in Nepal that do not take fees from the parents of their students. Instead, they ask the parents to donate two days of work to the school each month. That way, even the children of the poorest parents are able to access education.
But there was one big problem that each school faced: there was no stable source of electricity. Sometimes the electricity in these villages was down for weeks on end and this seriously hindered the children's ability to learn.
One of the three Maya Universe schools.
There were also quite a few children actually living inside these schools. Imagine going to the outside toilet in the dark, knowing that there are leopards in jungle around you!
Jeff heard about all this from his friend and decided to help these schools on the other side of the world. His idea was to put solar panels on the roof of the three schools in order to provide a sustainable and reliable source of energy for the children.
There were only a few problems.... Jeff knew very little about solar panels, did not have much money and lived on the other side of the world.
Surely it was time to put this in the ‘One day I will do something about this’ category?
Nope, Guess again.
Jeff understood the power of vision and the power of networks.
He started a crowdsourcing campaign on Heroes and Friends to bring together everything he needed. He asked for money, volunteers, expertise, plane tickets, campaigners, you name it.
Then Jeff found 3 volunteers to help him. Raised all the money he needed and got on a plane to Nepal. There he bought the solar panels and went to work with a team of volunteers. Today, the three schools have a sustainable and stable source of energy.
Jeff helping install solar panels in Nepal.
If you want to see how he did it here is the mini-documentary that was made about the project.
But Jeff is not done. He is now busy trying to buy a school bus for the children that live far away from the school. So even more children can go attend the school and enjoy their solar powered education.
If you want to help him with this awesome new project you can do that here.
But let’s take the most important lessons from this story.
1. The most important thing is vision.
If you have an idea in your head and you believe 100% in its importance, people will listen. Enthusiasm is like a virus, it spreads.
2. People in your network want to help!
You would be surprised how many people share your dreams and values. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.
3. Just do it.
Just go do it. If you are not going to do it, who will?
Feeling inspired yet?
Maybe one of these days you will want to turn a ‘Someday I will do it’ project into a ‘I am actually freaking doing this’ project.
If your project involves some fundraising or crowd sourcing Heroes and Friends would love to help you. We made a free platform to help people tap into their network and do some real good in the world.
Happy Maya Universe student
Have fun doing good and take care!
Paul from Heroes and Friends