Writer, journalist, speaker, and young social worker Pradeep Ghimire “Amulya” has been dedicating himself to social service. Pradeep Ghimire, a social worker from Ramechhap district of Nepal, started feeding homeless people during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the virus spread rapidly across the world, many people lost their jobs and struggled to make ends meet.
He started by feeding a few people in his community, but soon his efforts grew, and he began providing food to hundreds of homeless people around Kathmandu. Pradeep and his team of volunteers would cook food and distribute it to people who are homeless, under bridges, and in other public places. Pradeep saw the plight of homeless people in his community and felt compelled to take action. Despite facing many challenges, such as funding and logistical difficulties, Pradeep was determined to continue his work. He and his team received support from various individuals and organizations who were inspired by his efforts.
Pradeep’s work gained widespread recognition, and he was featured in local and international media. His work also inspired other individuals and organizations to step up and support the homeless community in Nepal.
Pradeep’s work did not stop at feeding the homeless. He also provided them with clothing, blankets, and other necessities. He even helped some of them find jobs and provided them with educational opportunities.
Pradeep’s work has made a significant impact on the lives of homeless people in Nepal. His efforts have not only provided them with necessities but have also given them hope and a sense of belonging in society.
Up until now, in just one year, Pradeep and his team have provided food for around 200,000 people. During the initial stages, with his own resources, he provided food to the needy, and later, after receiving support from individuals in the country and abroad, he was able to continue his efforts. With the help and support of everyone, Pradeep continues to provide food to the hungry and distressed people residing in the streets, under bridges, in drain pipes, around temples, and other places in various parts of Kathmandu during the nighttime.
Arjun Pradhan of Nepal Live Today caught up with him to ask what inspired him to work for the needy.
When did you start cooking and feeding the homeless people in the streets?
After the rapid spread of the Corona virus around the world, the Nepali government declared a lockdown from April, 2020. The lockdown had an immediate impact and was visible throughout the country, including in Kathmandu valley. During the lockdown, when the cooking fuel became scarce, I started distributing essential food items such as rice and lentils. Since cooking was not possible without fuel, we started serving hot meals. We have been continuing this work for the past three years.
What inspired you to take up this noble job?
During the lockdown imposed by the government without any prior preparation, the daily wage earners who had been managing their livelihoods with great difficulty lost their means of livelihood. Many laborers went hungry on the streets after not finding work, and I saw them suffering with my own eyes. After hearing the cries of those affected by hunger, I couldn’t sleep at night. I started thinking about how to feed the hungry stomachs.
Until now, how many people have you provided food?
Since the start of the lockdown, we have provided food services to around 250,000 people.
What kind of people did you prioritize while distributing food?
We prioritized elderly, disabled, physically and mentally challenged people, as well as poor individuals who were forced to live on the streets due to being homeless and without any family support.
Over the past three years, which types of individuals have you met while distributing food?
I met people who have experienced life in a much more profound way than I have in my previous years. I experienced firsthand what it means to face life, what it means to be in this world. I got an opportunity to learn how people who smile on the outside can be struggling on the inside, not even being able to eat a meal. I met people who have been reduced to the state of life and death, having gone without food for up to a week, drinking the dirty water from laundry basins.
I met individuals who live in the streets, finding shelter in various temples, shrines, and pavilions, narrow streets, and buildings, without having a proper home. I also met people who live in the slums, having been evicted from their homes by their landlords.
I also met elderly people who, despite being physically weak and in pain, still work to make ends meet. I met seniors who were forced out of their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, and those who couldn’t even swallow a tablet due to their frail condition.
I met people who went to bed hungry, unable to eat even a single meal, and those who had to resort to eating garbage or wild fruits to survive. I also met people who were forced into prostitution, and those who were forced into labor for little pay.
In your view, what are the necessary steps the Nepali government needs to take for the protection of the homeless? Does such work have any impact on human health?
To some extent, such works do have an impact on human life and health, as health workers have reported negative effects on their respiratory health.
In Nepal, the major festivals like Dashain, Tihar, and Chhath are celebrated inside the house. However, the steps taken by the local government to prohibit the use of roads have had a significant impact on the groups that used to dominate the roads. As a result, many people may feel mentally distressed. Is it not the right of the state to ensure the right to survival? Why does such discrimination exist in a legal state?
To whom should we give credit for inspiring such a selfless act of social service that you have been doing?
Today, I first acknowledge God as the source of inspiration in the social service I have performed so far. What I have done is God’s play. It is truly regrettable that human beings have inflicted so much injustice, abuse, distortion, conflict, murder, violence, corruption, and harm on nature in this world. Although God periodically gives humans consciousness, humans often get distracted by their thoughts and eventually suffer the consequences of their actions. Every object in this world eventually turns into dust, and every event that occurs in this world ultimately dissolves into the dust. I am aware that more than seven billion people living in this world will one day dissolve into dust. Therefore, I have realized that no matter how much wealth and riches one possesses, one must eventually leave everything behind and depart empty-handed.
I have understood that I am a human being, and I must perform human actions based on my relationship with other human beings. Therefore, I am engaged in charitable work until today. I acknowledge God as the source of inspiration in social service. Since God is the one who controls my mind, I will continue to do what God wants me to do.
You mentioned receiving support from various individuals both in your country and abroad. Can you explain whether they provided the support after you requested or they themselves offered to help you?
I had made them aware of my work here. I have received support, cooperation, and appreciation from individuals and organizations who have seen the results of my work and the impact it has had on various aspects of society. They have recognized and appreciated the philanthropic work that I have been doing to save lives, and have become part of it, offering their support, cooperation, and encouragement.
What would you like to say to all your supporters who have helped you both at home and abroad?
The essence of the Vedic saying “Paropakar Punyaya” (the greatest virtue is helping others) became clear to me when tears welled up in the eyes of the suffering, poor, weak, and helpless people who had just eaten a meal, and their hungry cries turned into smiles. I am extremely happy. And from the bottom of my heart, I pay special homage to them. I am just a means to an end.
On this day, I extend my heartfelt gratitude, respect, and appreciation to all my supporters who have made this great campaign of mine possible with their empathy, cooperation, courage, inspiration, and blessings. All the holy support provided by each one of you in your country and abroad has made this virtuous work possible so far. I am nothing without your unwavering support.
During the initial phase of this campaign, it was carried out with enthusiastic personal efforts, in which the support and cooperation of many individuals played a significant role. Bhottu Indira, who has been involved in social work for 23 years, is currently holding the position of Secretary in Indira Social Welfare Organization.
How do you like to describe yourself in this social work?
I like to think of myself as an ordinary person. The basic human needs are the same for all of us, and I wish everyone understood this. Life is transient, and every living being that has ever existed on this planet is mortal. We should all have the attitude of accepting life as it is and try to make the best of it while we are here. I want to cultivate a mentality of accepting life and cherishing it for all living beings, not just humans. This earth is shared by all of us, and it is our natural right to protect it. Everyone’s life should be beautiful, we can all breathe together, live together and survive together.
What support do you need right for this movement now?
Currently, I need a vehicle and financial support for cooking food and distributing it. As the number of people in need is increasing day by day, it would be helpful to have a vehicle for distributing food during the night time in the winter months.
How can people contribute to your campaign?
People who are interested in joining the campaign can contact us physically or financially. They can also message me on my Facebook account: Pradip Ghimire Amulya https://www.facebook.com/amulya.ghimire/ or call me at 9841141468. This campaign is for everyone, and they can also start their own campaigns. We welcome everyone here.
Finally, what message would you like to share with people in our country and abroad?
The expectation was that this difficult situation would soon come to an end, but unfortunately the situation is still dire. The description of the situation of the affected people is unimaginable. The cost of living has doubled, and the night has become four times longer. The government is ineffective. The economic situation is fragile. The state of the industrial sector is dismal. Business is collapsing. The situation of those who had foreign employment is also vulnerable.
In the country, hospitality, tourism, agriculture and other sectors are in disarray. Banks and financial institutions are shutting down every day. Various types of infections are spreading. People who were doing well in various fields are now suffering from depression due to the current situation. Some have even resorted to suicide. Despite such difficult circumstances, we sincerely salute all our collaborators and wish for their continued support, cooperation, encouragement, energy, inspiration, and blessings for our ongoing mission of providing food service. Service is our religion. Let’s save ourselves and save others.