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Message from the President

Namaste!

During the 1990's and decades since then, the rapid migration of Nepali diaspora to the United States and Canada led to formation of various Nepali organizations in major cities. The mission and activities of the organizations at this time period focussed on celebrating Nepali cultural events and annual social gatherings. The organizations grew with pains of their membership's cultural baggage of ethnic clustering and polical bickering with a general sence of malaise about, "nothing good is happening in Nepal". Except in times of natural disasters in Nepal, the participation and involvement of Nepali diaspora in the development activities in Nepal was personal and minimal at best.

During the same period, poltical developments in Nepal led to openness and beginnings of decentralizion and community based development initiatives. Various local organizations such as youth and mother's clubs, business clubs, allumni associations and other entities began seeking resources to develop infrastructures for education, health care and other socio-economic needs within the community. The rapid growth of communication, internet, and media helped bring communities in Nepal closer to their own departed natural and adopted sons & daughters.

Empower Nepal Foundation, and America Nepal Medical Foundaton were started concurrently by group of Nepalis and friends of Nepal individuals (Peace Corps Volunteers, frequent travellers and trekkers, Nepal scholars) who believed in positive aspects of developmental challenges in Nepal. The impetus to do something for Nepal was based on mutual love for Nepal and realization that investment in education is the key to begin making a difference in the quality of life of individuals and communities. Inspired by and to support the work of Mahabir Pun, ENF started its first project in 1996 with a modest $350 annual scholarship program for 7 students attending Himanchal High and feeder schools in Nangi Village in Myagdi District.

Through support from individuals and grant funds from other sources since its establishment, ENF's direct and indirect nvestment in Nepal has reached almost $400,000 with 34 projects in 12 districts. This was all possible with small contributions by individuals who donated and volunteered as project sponsors and sought out contributions from their own network of friends and family members. This was all done with volunteer help and near zero administrative expenses. From the very beginning, a budgetary norm was established in ENF, "With $50.00 savings on administrative expenses, we can support a child to stay in a community school in Nepal for a year".

Being a volunteer only organization, ENF has limitations to its organizational efficiency. ENF Board of Directors are all busy individuals with their own professional and personal life. This has often led to lagging behind in communication with its donor base and general public. Having no administrative staff has also handicapped ENF's ability to seek more individual and institutional grant funds from businesses and other organizations, and follow up with project reporting essentials. As new technologies emerge for online documentation repository and data exchange, we hope to catch up with the lag in frequency with which ENF communicates with its donors. Launching of this newly designed website is an attempt to document achievements to date, and with addition of blog, social-media pages, and newsletters, we hope to catch up.

The Gorkha Earthquake has brought out overwhelming outpouring of support and love for Nepal from around the world. This has led to unprecedented successes in fund raising and raising awareness about Nepal. The Nepali youths were dynamic in organization of events and used social media and mobile phone technology to the fullest to execute fund raising events and accomplish goals beyond expectation.

Similarly in Nepal, where government was mired by inaction, youths sprung up into action and showed extraordinary efficiency in delivering relief to earthquake victims. Many youth organizations, religious and social charities, Rotary and Lion clubs, chamber of commerce units mobilized their membership in collecting and distributing relief supplies to earthquake victims.

Nepal is a resilient country with a sense of pride in being an independent nation. Nepali people are shaken but not deterred. Looking at the positive human energy that was released in support of the disaster victims, and the resiliency of the local community to get on with their lives, there is hope. There is potential for Nepal to withstand this disaster and rebuild sooner than expected and come out stronger than before, and better informed to face the challenges of future disasters.

With Nepal's story disappearing from international media headlines, the relief donatons will begin to trickle. It is very important for the Nepali diaspora to step up and keep the vigil candle lit in our hearts and minds and continue the "Let Us Build Nepal" movement alive.

Empower Nepal Foundation intends to participate in this movement of support for Nepal by continuing to invest in today's rebuilding needs and for tomorrow's quality of life improvement and sustenance needs. ENF aims to continue its mission of bringing people and resources together for Nepal's development efforts for generations to come.

Thank you for your continued support.

Padam P Sharma,
President, ENF.