Rupsi Parajuli

Parajuliis a Grade XII student at Global College of Management, mid-Baneshwar.

Published On: February 3, 2018 09:31 AM NPT By: Rupsi Parajuli



They say there isn’t anything you can’t do, if you put your whole heart into it. I always had an extreme desire to travel abroad and participate in workshops and training to hone my skills. I was invited to participate in a training in America but sadly, my visa got rejected. Then, I couldn’t make it to a training in Vietnam. So, I started looking for other opportunities, which are not so hard to find if you have the determination and a good internet connection. 

 It so happened that one morning, while surfing my Facebook, I stumbled upon ‘Asia Pacific Youth Exchange (APYE) - Thailand’ program and in the next few days, I passed all the criteria needed to apply for APYE, along with an hour-long online interview. To my parents’ great surprise, I got accepted to APYE, one of the largest international exchange programs for youth in Asia, with a partial scholarship as one of the delegates from Nepal. And to my surprise, I came to know I was the youngest delegate ever to participate in APYE.  

The APYE for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held from January 14 to January 26. I was not representing any organization, but was representing myself as a Nepali youth, eager to learn and take action. I had arrived at Bangkok, Thailand, without a clue about what I’d be bringing home. 

Being my first international visit, Bangkok truly was a colorful surprise for me—food, beaches, shopping, nightlife and people. It was a bright afternoon when the plane landed and sleep was all I could think of, after the long flight. But, the moment I exited the airport, all my fatigue washed away and I couldn’t help but photograph the beautiful sunny afternoon that day. Having seen such beauty in postcards and movies, it was surreal seeing it in front of me. My excitement level soared when I saw the APYE’s ‘Welcome to Thailand’ placard being held up for us. The journey of fun and learning had just begun!

We reached the hotel, built a good rapport with some of the fellow delegates from other countries, had dinner, attended orientation class and called it a night. The next day we went to the United Nations, Bangkok. Being a great UN fanatic, it felt heavenly to be at the UN’s main conference hall amongst other delegates of diverse backgrounds, from different walks of life with so much to offer to one another. The answer to the question ‘What can the youth do to make SDGs a success?’ was our lesson of the day. And listening to the stories of success and failure from changemakers in Asia and their action for social change and community engagement, made me realize how oblivious most of the Nepali youth were toward their roles and contributions, no matter how big or small, in achieving SDGs.

Under a week-long immersion at Bangkok’s local sites, we were divided into groups and tasked to solve problems related to the SDGs. I was sent to Nong Sarai, a beautiful village of Bangkok that sustains on farming, with my team. Staying there made me feel like I was staying at some village of Nepal because of the similarities in surroundings. But, what surprised me the most was that the village was as developed as any city, there was nothing to complain about—plastic was banned, bamboo dustbins placed at every corner, roads were dust-free and lined with flowers. However, the river of Nong Sarai was not clean, so we decided to work on one of our SDGs-- Clean Water and Sanitation.

We made a proposal to use ‘Bokashi Balls’ aka super mud balls (a mixture of clay, ceramic powder, brown sugar or molasses and rock salt) to improve the river’s life and help restore its proper ecological balance. Bokashi Balls, once dropped into water, dissolves over six months and micro-organisms in them feed off the water toxins, resulting in cleaner water. The villagers liked our project and regarded it feasible, which made me realize it could be used to clean up rivers in Nepal too. Upon our return to Bangkok, each group presented their idea at the UN. Among which, few were to be funded and implemented by Asian Development Bank (ADB) together with its many partner organizations in the country.

I came back to Nepal with more knowledge on SDGs and social business enterprises, but more importantly I brought home with me an experience of a lifetime; new friendships, reinforcement of our roles as Nepali youth, and drive to work towards achieving SDGs in our nation. One of the SDGs, Nepal needs to work on is ‘Quality Education’. And if we ever hope to improve, we must start by spreading awareness about its importance and connecting people from all walks of life. 

The whole APYE experience taught me that being a changemaker means you should have an open mind and heart, to understand that we are not the same; we all have our differences yet we should accept and love them. We need to have determination and commitment towards our responsibilities as changemakers and sincerely help others who are in need. APYE also made me realize that as the next generation of leaders, we do care. We long to make the world better for our generation, older generations, and generations to come.  

Parajuliis a Grade XII student at Global College of Management, mid-Baneshwar.

sdgs, our, responsibility,

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