Though it was just five months ago that I wrote my “About Me” page, so much has happened since that I decided an update was in order.
Based on the words of a 12-year old child from Qatar Academy, the school in Doha, Qatar, where I was working at, the father of the child filed a formal complaint against me with the school and a criminal case with the authorities, alleging I had insulted Islam.
Before all that happened, completely disappointed with my teaching experience at Qatar Academy, I had plans to return to Nepal to pursue a new career–a career in social work. By the time the fateful event occurred, I had already turned down a job offer paying thousands of dollars a month in salary. I had already been in talks with my classmate and old friend Jayjeev, Founder and Executive Director of Community Members Interested (COMMITTED), to work with him on education-related charity projects. (Jayjeev gave up a permanent job in the United States which, just like in my case, paid thousands of dollars a month, and instead returned to Nepal to do social work.)
But then, within about five days of a small incident in the cafeteria with a few 12-year olds, my employer had taken away my job, taken away thousands of dollars that I would have been able to bank had I lasted until the end of June, and taken away my health insurance. To add insult to injury, two days before I was to fly out of Qatar, quietly, I was locked away in a private cell on May 1.
However, following a massive international campaign–lasting just a few days–by thousands of people around the world, they released me from jail after eleven nights twelve days. (Check out the series of posts titled “Qatar…From Afar” for more.)
Soon after returning from Qatar, intent on following through with my long-held dream, and my original plan, of doing education-related charity work, I ran a very successful fund-raising campaign–Education is Freedom-Nepal. (You can find details of the progress of the campaign here.) Having accompanied Jayjeev on a visit to the village of Thangpalkot last summer–to help out with the Science Lab project and the Pig Farming Social Business–I was keen to improve the quality of, and access to, education in the village. I visited the village again in June. (Click here to read about my visit and here for photos from the trip.)
Since the completion of the fundraising campaign, I have been laying the groundwork for the projects. I have partnered up with my friend Jayjeev as Education Program Director at COMMITTED. With my extensive experience with international teaching, more specifically Chemistry and Science, I shall be working closely with the management committee of Raithane School to plan and carry out education-related projects in line with School Improvement Program (SIP). Additionally, to continue to pursue my passion of teaching, I shall be working closely with the resident science teacher to make science come alive for the beautiful children of Thangpalkot. (Visit my Science Blog for challenging science problems and videos of fun science activities I engaged in with students in the past.)
Furthermore, I shall also be applying myself to address the problems created by the social scourge that is corruption. Transparency and accountability will be the bedrock of how we–both COMMITTED and the community of Thangpalkot–conduct our development work. In ensuring that, we hope for us all to be educated about the scourge and empowered to do something about it with any future projects, whether financed by COMMITTED or other institutions, such as the government and other NGOs.
If you would like to contribute to this cause click here. (The donate button appears just above the bottom right corner.)
Education Program Director
Community Members Interested (COMMITTED-Nepal)
Community Members Interested (COMMITTED-USA)
Alexandria, VA 22304