Jan 282017

Mira Rai in her right element: from Maoist guerilla to international trail runner

Young ultra-runner, Mira Rai, grew up in a village in the eastern district of Bhojpur. As a young girl, she joined a local Maoist platoon – it was under the Maoist conflict – where she learned not only guerilla warfare but also how to train and run in the mountains. Today, she’s a professional trail runner, and a good one too. She has several international medals to her name, close to taking the Ultra Sky Marathon World Series Championship in Europe, too, and now she’s a National Geographic People’s Choice Adventurer of the year! Read Mira’s fascinating story here – plus a bit about trail running in Nepal.

Sep 092016

Ashmin Parajuli - aka FlowPilot - is just one of many young artists on the rap stage in Hetauda.

Ashmin Parajuli – aka Inkie – is just one of many young artists on the rap stage in Hetauda.

What’s the rap stage like in Hetauda? Well, we didn’t know there was one until Ashmin Parajuli – aka Inkie – told us about it. Just 15 years old, Ashmin has already recorded a few singles at his local favourite studio, HTD productions. “This year I have to focus on my SLC, so maybe I won’t be recording a lot of songs, but next year I will release my first album!” says Ashmin. Studio time is 2-3,000 rs. per song, which is even low, and it’s the rate if you want good sound quality. Uploading his tracks on youtube, Ashmin performs at the local music venues too! Continue reading »

Feb 052016

Rojina Barcharya - co-founder of "Girls in Technology" and software developer - winner of Silicon Valley scholarship

Rojina Bajracharya – co-founder of “Girls in Technology” and software developer – winner of Silicon Valley scholarship

Who says computer programming is only for boys? Rojina Bajracharya, a young Bachelor student from Bhaktapur, just won a Toptal Scholarship for Female Developers! Who is Toptal? Well, it’s one of the fastest-growing companies to emerge from Silicon Valley in California in recent years, today connecting thousands of elite freelance programmers around the world with billion-dollar companies like J. P. Morgan and Pfitzer! The scholarship – launched last October – is designed to “empower and support the next generation of female computer scientists, software engineers and developers”. But how did Rojina, a young girl from a local community – seemingly so far away from the buzz of international software development – get selected?

Well, it was not a difficult choice, explains Toptal’s Director of Engineering, Anna-Chiara Bellini, who is also leading judge on the scholarship selection committee: “Rojina’s application [for the scholarship] just blew us away. She is both brilliant and ambitious, and is not only working hard to develop her own Continue reading »

Jan 122016

"Many students are down with the cold", says local principal, Ramji Shrestha, at typical TLC built of tin sheets in Ramechap.

“Many students are down with the cold”, says local principal, Ramji Shrestha, working at typical TLC (picture) built of tin sheets in Ramechap.

Students going to school in Temporary Learning Centers (TLCs) – built after the earthquake – have started to fall ill in worrying numbers. Most TLCs are built of tin sheets without any insulation, so wind and humid cold air easily get inside. As winter bites, going to school has become a health hazard! In Ramechap, scores of children are in hospital with the cold; in Bhaktapur the situation is the same. The need for reconstruction is acute – but work is slow! Continue reading »

Jan 112016

Post-quake, many students are left to study in tin shelters or under tarpaulins

Post-quake, many students are left to study in tin shelters or under tarpaulins

Will this year’s SLC students have a better chance than, say, last year’s class? Well, it was always hard to get through the “Iron Gate”: 10th graders have had to struggle a lot – the pass rate is barely 35 percent – and this year it’s not likely to get better. In the districts hardest hit by the earthquake, thousands of schools still lie in ruins – many students are left to study in tin shelters or under tarpaulins – and in the Terai, bandhs and unrest over the constitution have locked down many schools for months on end! Continue reading »

Sep 112015

We spent an afternoon down by the river outside Narayanghat watching the children play. Sure, those kids don’t have Ipads or mobile phones – there’s no swings or children’s bikes either. But as this video will show, they have so much more! Here’s a tribute to the Village Playground – down by the river…

Two hours use of gadgets every day - or a village playground? Wonder what a typical western kid would choose...

Aug 282015

Congratulations U-19 team!

What a final: U-19 soccer team with their trophy

What a final: U-19 soccer team with their trophy

The U-19 national soccer team of Nepal did it for the first time ever! They are now SAFF Champions after defeating all South Asian opponents. Wow!! Left in the unforgiving trail of young Nepalese boots lie Bhutan and Bangladesh, Afghanistan – beaten in the semi-finals – and in the final match, arch-rival India! Who knows what these young players might not achieve in the years to come, not least when they start filling the ranks of the adult national team – and what upcoming talented teenage soccers they might have inspired already!

Here’s more on Nepal’s young soccer players – and on soccer teams, games and more from around the country. It’s kicking out there for sure:-) Check out GoalNepal.com!

Mar 162015

Staring at the Iron Gate: SLC examinees

Staring at the Iron Gate: SLC examinees

These days our thoughts go out to Nepal’s young boys and girls who are about to face the SLC examination. Known as the “Iron Gate”, the examination is feared by thousands of youth every year – and for good reason. The odds of passing are simply poor. It’s not just that many of the students will get very low marks. No, most will not even pass. Last year, like in many previous years, only one-third of the SLC examinees made it. In total, 662,185 students took the test but only 217,211 pulled through! Continue reading »

Mar 152015

Money in football? Young players ready for a match

Money in football? Young players ready for a match

Football is indeed loath with money in many countries and can be the road to prosperity for a young person. But is football a source of income and profit also in Nepal? To be sure, money is involved. As a case in point, the next winner of the National League tournament will be awarded one crores rupees! But check out another fact. Just now, Far Western Football Club (Kailali) bought sixteen Nepal U17 players for the tournament to maximise their chance of winning. Total price tag: 1.3 million rupees. It is unknown whether the players got a share in the money – but money sure plays a role!

NB: All Nepal Football Association hold tenders on U17 players, as well as players from Army teams, every year. Local clubs submit bids and the highest offer wins. This year, Rupandehi gave up in the tender and Kailali scored the sixteen U17 players, only few weeks before the tournament kicks off!

“National team midfielder Rohit Chand became the highest paid football player in Nepal as he signed a Rs. 150,000 [a month] record deal with Machhindra Football Club…” Rising Nepal, Oct. 9, 2013.

By the way: football is indeed a major field of corruption in Nepal. Here’s more…

Sep 102014

Motorbikes and fast cars are conventionally a man thing. But not to a young woman down in Chitwan. To her, a fast-geared bike is as natural as a hair drier! Watch as she takes rounds inside an old-fashioned motordrome: on the wall of death. She is traveling with a whole crew of drivers – her being the only woman on the team – and she has made it her living. If there are few opportunities, well suddenly there is one, after all. Once seeing the drivers and trying it out herself, she just got caught and never looked back. Her family supports her too. Here she is – telling a bit about herself – up on the wall of death!

May 142014
Gets the biggest budget: Ministry of Education

Gets the biggest budget: Ministry of Education

What’s the annual budget for public education in Nepal? Well, this year it’s 80 billion rupees – four times the budget for agriculture, almost three times the budget for health and – in fact – far above the budget for any other development sector in the country. Perhaps it’s not a big budget compared to the needs. But with this budget, all school children would at least have basic things like textbooks for their studies, right? Wrong. This year, tens of thousands of students began the school year without books. Continue reading »