To make a difference

SAHARA SHARMA Republica National daily

KATHMANDU, Aug 29: Kumar Paudel works as the coordinator of National Youth Alliance for Rhino Conservation, (NYARC), chairman of the Sci-tech Entrepreneurs Club of his College and also as a green activist for the Team for Nature and Wildlife (TNW).

Quite pessimistic about the current situation and the future of Nepal, this 20 year old sees “dirty politics” taking hold of almost every sphere of life. “It is almost like I myself have to be a judge in the courtroom if I wish for a fair decision to be made,” he says.

He has actively been involved in the NYARC, which has been working toward saving Rhinos and tracking down poachers. “We, the team of NYRAC have filed a complaint at the Judicial Council against a judge at the District Court Hetauda, who awarded minimal punishment to a poacher who killed 30 rhinos,” he says. Paudel, however, is surprised that the government has not taken any action against judge yet.

This lover of literature finds peace and joy in the poems penned by Gopal Prasad Rimal and for fiction he seeks Maxim Gorky’s books. He even scribbles poems when in a pensive mood. He likes writing about anything but romance, this he clarifies, “Romance is just not what life is.”

Born and brought up in a village in Barabise of Sindhupalchok life for Paudel has not been a smooth ride. Back in his school years he would spend hours observing the Sunkoshi Hydropower station. “I would often question my seniors on how the whole thing works.”

The whole idea of producing electricity through water always fascinated him so much that he knew he would become an engineer some day. After his SLC he came to the capital to pursue higher education and completed his intermediate level, but had to return home as he could not finance his studies any longer. “I decided that if I worked as a teacher in the village I would be able to collect enough money to continue my studies,” he says.

Currently pursuing his Bachelors degree in Science, he recently had an opportunity to take part in the Asian Science Camp, which was organized in India and had participants from all over the world.

He, however, laments that he could not participate wholly since he had a language problem. Having studied in a government school, Paudel is not a fluent English speaker. “Language has been a barrier for me,” he sighs. Paudel’s lack of proficiency in English has also reduced his grades in college.

The NYRAC has also submitted a petition to the government seeking amendment to the Wildlife Conservation Act. “The market value of a rhino horn in the market is around three million rupees, while the punishment for killing a rhino is only five years in jail and a fine of Rs 100, 000,” he elaborates.

From the Sci-tech Entrepreneurs Club of his college, Paudel also counsels students on job opportunities. This he does on the basis of the Graduation Course, ‘Arthalaya’ he received from the Samriddhi Foundation. “I really want to be able to make a difference in the society,” he smiles.

This is the story from Republica which appeared in print on Aug 29, 2010. Click HERE for the online reading from 

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