While blogging about my time in Nepal, I happened to catch the attention of someone from an organization called Ashoka. I soon met with Sadhana Shrestha, country representative of Nepal for the Ashoka organization. She informed me of the history of the organization, its founding, its current state, and the plans for the future, both in Nepal and globally. I learned of the tireless work of William Drayton, and the many social entrepreneurs he has helped push to success (more on that later).
I now find myself in Pokhara, Nepal, meeting with three of the Ashoka fellows: Lucky Chetri, Mahabir Pun, and Rishi Tiwari.
Lucky runs a trekking agency that caters to female clients and offers female guides and porters. The women guides are given training in a variety of subjects including English, Nepali history & culture, flora and fauna, basic first aid, and computer skills among other things.
Mahabir has set up Internet access in 14 remote villages in Nepal. Using a series of relays he transmits signals through receivers tied on poles, trees, and housetops in order to help provide a wealth of resources to improve the ability of rural schools to teach their children. The villages are also connected to a hospital in Pokhara, allowing doctors to dispense advice to areas that would normally be inaccessible.
Rishi Tiwari works with local farmers to grow produce that has a value on the market as well as practice forms of crop rotation to maximize yields. He also works with those without land, encouraging them to collect dead plant life while herding their animals and then compost this material. This compost is then sold at markets in Pokhara.