Namaste to Entrepreneurship
Homecoming has always been a matter of excitement and delight. Though I longed to get off that airplane and step into the cool embrace of the Kathmandu breeze for a whole year while I was in Thailand, it feels somewhat eerie to be back. Nepal is a matter of fact, different than what I remember. Somehow being in a country far more progressive and liberal than my own Himalayan paradise has changed my perception towards it.
Being in the GSSE program for just two years has greatly affected my thinking. Whatever I have learnt in college, I could not even fathom when I was in high school and that is what makes me see things a whole lot differently now that I am back here. Progress has been something achingly slow in Nepal. Still tied down in most aspects of traditional values and beliefs, change is something that takes time to set roots and be accepted in the Nepalese society. Of course, after the 2015 earthquake, things have only gone downhill. As people still try to rebuild their houses and lives, very little thought has been given to rebuilding the nation as a whole.
Globalization has been hot only with a certain demographic. I have observed sights of young adults clad in international brands, opening up to foreign cuisines and practicing an overall liberal outlook towards life. However, it takes time for the older generation to, first of all, begin to understand these changes and accept them in time. There are still areas in rural Nepal where the most forward technology that the people know of is the radio. Women still walk for hours to get water from the communal spring and children still hike up hills and walk rickety bridges to cross rivers and get to school. When is that going to change? Sadly enough, those in charge of running the country, are not sure about the meaning of change or the hard-hitting impact of globalization.
I think it is about time the youth are taken into consideration when it comes to developing Nepal and changing it for the better. Exposed to social media and the web, the young crowd over here has learnt to imitate new trends and practices. However, there needs to be a solid base for understanding rather than just imitation according to what I have observed. It is time to educate the youth of today, leaders of tomorrow, about why changes take place and how important it is to mix our ideas and beliefs to create something that benefits everyone. And perhaps we can start by incorporating a practical knowledge on the foundations of social entrepreneurship in the education system. This branch of knowledge can be tailored to fit the conditions and issues of Nepal so as to give those starting out on this area, a chance to analyze all aspects related to the work they want to do.
Ever since the earthquake, the rise of social enterprises has been slow but steady in Nepal. Young Nepalese have taken a keen interest in establishing businesses with the purpose of helping their fellow countrymen to recuperate from the disaster and reconstruct their lives on a stronger foundation. But the issue with this is, all of these social enterprises are based in the central area of Kathmandu valley. Sure, the proceeds from these businesses might be going to the villages that still lie in ruins in the rural areas but can we really say we are progressing if all are not able to be self-sufficient? My take on this is to educate even the youths in the rural areas and set up cottage enterprises in the villages that can help the people sustain themselves.
Seasoned business folks do not view Nepal as a nation, but a market where every outlet is seen as a business opportunity rather than a stage to do something progressive for the local people. However, my time here has led me to believe that furthering the concept of social entrepreneurship can help open doors to both money-making and rendering local service. It is up to the youth to change the perspectives of reputed established businesses, politicians and bureaucrats alike by engaging in activities that can bring about tangible progress. The elders have always believed in what is perceptible rather than something that is not and this could lead them to accept these rapid changes that globalization brings. As for the younger generation that has already dived headfirst into the Social Entrepreneurship scenario, experiential learning is what will help in their sustainability. I believe that with the correct knowledge of ideas and a keen sense of where to focus and how to uplift the standard of those in dire need of change, we can all be Social Entrepreneurs and maybe home won’t seem like such a different place anymore.