nepal-shakti_small

How to empower Nepal?

पैसा [paisaa] (money)
विकास [wikaas] (development)
शक्ति [shakti] (power, energy)
वातावरण [waataawaraN] (environment)
स्वार्थ [swaarth] (selfishness)
गुनासो [gunaaso] (complain)

I have donated money two weeks ago to the Party BibekSheel Nepali as it was recommended to me from several people whose judgment I trust as doing effective work. Of course there is never a certainty that this is true, but no other source had been recommended to me this much – so there is some likelihood that the money will do some good at least.

Is there a time of dawn and empowerment coming for Nepal?
Will there be a dawn for Nepal?
Still, donating money to any organization in Nepal makes me feel kind of uneasy:The question of >what will really help Nepal< has been raising its head again. Is money really the way?

I have asked myself this question in the last 14 years many times. I have worked with local NGOs, foreign governmental aid agencies, international organizations, Nepali governmental development programmes. I especially remember one German root-level aid worker who said to me 10 years ago, that he had stopped investing any money in the village in Far-West Nepal where he was working after about 3 months: „पैसा [paisaa] made everything only worse. People were only focussed on how to make money out of me. They did not care if the work was done properly, people started fighting over my money ressources amongst each other.“

I feel frustrated looking at the 60 years of विकास [wikaas] aid history in Nepal … and now contemplating the current situation does not improve my mood. Of course the emergency help was crucial – people need to survive. I would not refuse to help someone who can in no way get up by themselves. But when does helping someone stand on their own two feet become harmful? When does my support stop the person learn to improve their own lives by themselves? Now after almost one month when the dead are burned and the wounded and homeless are taken care of, different things need to be happening. It is very dangerous to let the current state of affairs become a permanent one. I am doubtful (as I always have been) that money will aid Nepal’s development. Well to be perfectly honest: I am doubtful that any outside „aid“ will actually aid Nepal. What Nepal needs now more than ever is a sense of self-empowerment. As a country and as individuals. Pumping money into the country in the way it has been happening as a long-term measure weakens the power of the individuals as well as the community.

art by me
orginal art

I feel that each individual Nepali eventually has to find a way to see that there is शक्ति [shakti] inside of them. That they are not helpless victims of fate. That they can get it if they really want. This is self-empowerment.

I am not denying how harsh the reality of living in Nepal has always been (in comparision to a western livestyle) and especially is now after the earthquake. I am not denying how much the social वातावरण [waataawaraN] of Nepal fosters a sense of fatalism and स्वार्थ [swaarth] in people. I am not denying how much easier it seems to keep just looking out for yourself only and just accept corruption, nepotism and discrimination as a god-given fate of being a Nepali who lives in Nepal. Still the only change will happen from a sense of empowerment, when the desire for improvement becomes greater than the fear-driven need to share once गुनासो [gunaaso] with each other and whoever wants to listen. Yes, to complain gives relief from the self-defeating thought of ones own powerlessness. The person who complains believes that they have no power at all over their destiny. We are all stricken with unfortune sometimes in our lives – and the poverty that already exists in Nepal as well as the disaster of the earthquake are particularly harsh ones. And to complain as a short-term measure is good and helpful – it gives relief, ensures survival just as the food and tents do. Unfortunately though there seems to be a permanent culture of complaining in Nepal. Something that is done as a permanent measure – and this is dangerous.

 

What do you think:

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