Global Partnerships-Bringing Library Books to Nepal

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When I returned to Nepal from my vacation in the US in July 2013, my suitcases were full of 200 children’s books donated by local libraries in the Mission Viejo area of Orange County, California.  These books were to be used to establish a library through some VSO volunteers who were working through the DEO, with some government schools in Myagdi.  My father had been able to acquire the donations and I was the delivery guy.  Little did I know that this was just the start of adding to/establishing libraries at government schools in various districts.

One thing that I’ve heard many times is that although there are a number of organisations, e.g. Room to Read and Asia Foundation, providing English language books, there still seems to be a dearth in schools. 

Once I was back in Nepal, my father asked if there was a need for more books.  Libraries in the Orange County, California area, where my parents live, seem to get lots of book donations, and some are taken by Friends of the Library groups and sold to provide badly needed funds for a variety of activities.  However, many of the books are just duplicates and are, at times, donated to worthy causes.  This time around my father was able to acquire some 600 books, donated by seven libraries.

I e-mailed my VSO Education program colleagues and I received enthusiastic responses from six  districts, i.e. Myagdi,  Surkhet,  Kailali,   Baglung,  Parsa and Rupandehi. The question now became one of how to get the books from Los Angeles International Airport to Kathmandu.  My father again undertook this challenge asking for help from some of his City Council members, various corporates and even the Nepal Embassy in the US.  I didn’t want any money to be donated, because I felt that would defeat the purpose, i.e. why spend an inordinate amount of money for transportation when these funds could be used to purchase books.   Not an easy task.

However, after numerous attempts and persistence my father was able to get a corporate,  i.e. Applied Medical, which provides innovative products that improve patient outcomes and enables the advancement of minimally invasive surgery, located in Rancho  Santa Margarita, California to ship six boxes of books through Federal Express to Kathmandu.  Shipping products throughout the world, this made perfect Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) sense.

A Nepali friend and I went to the cargo area at Tribuhuvan Airport and we talked to the person in charge and an incredible agent, who made it fairly easy to get the six boxes.  I then hired a car to transport the books to VSO, where another volunteer divided the boxes into six equal groups; they are now waiting to be picked up by the volunteers working in the districts mentioned above.

For the July project, my dad Norm stated, “Cooperation was the key word between individuals without any ulterior motives but to merely transfer children's books to a library in Nepal. A solution was doable and beneficial to the children of Nepal.”

It doesn’t take a lot to show kindness, to be partners, even when we don’t know others.  All it takes is “yes” I’m willing to explore and determine what is possible.  I enjoy connecting people no matter where they live and in this case there is now more of a connection between numerous libraries in Orange County, California and a variety of schools in Nepal, something which I never could have imagined or even dreamed of.  The unimaginable now brings a huge smile to my face.  I continue to ask myself, “What can I do today” to help others smile?; I realize that it doesn’t take much.  

Position: Lover of Life-Change Agent

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