Three youths from Nepal will be selected and funded to attend UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum 2018 at UN Headquarters in New York, as per an announcement by Renauld Mayer, the country director of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Nepal. Mayer made the announcement at the closing session of Youth Co:Lab in the valley.
Few weeks after the announcement, application was opened and I was selected as one among the three youth representatives from Nepal for the forum. An email telling me that I was selected, was probably the most pleasant email I have received so far.
Never in my previous foreign visits were my parents this excited. Just a week earlier I had come back from my week-long Thailand visit and nobody had even cared when I left or when I came back. This time, even before the journey had begun, everyone was saying -- “Hey! Can we meet before you leave?”, “When are you leaving?”, “Don’t forget to bring back gifts” and so on. I was starting to see the impression ‘United States of America’ had on minds of people first hand.
On January 29th, 2018, I landed in the US. I still remember that as soon as I stepped into the American soil, I looked up to the sky and wondered -- “What is beneath these skies that people tend to forget their entire life and start over here again.” Later, my experience taught me that the answer lied in the freedom of expression and dignity of work that was so evident in the country.
First day of the event (January 30, 2018), we entered the premises of UN Headquarters. In front of me, were the buildings whose name I had trouble remembering during social studies classes back in grade 10. Two years later, here I was attending UN ECOSOC Youth Forum 2018, proud to be able to represent my nation inside these buildings.
UN ECOSOC Youth Forum is an annual event that takes place at the UN Headquarters in New York, which gives a platform for youth to raise their voices, share their ideas and give their opinions in different brainstorming sessions, panel discussions, breakout sessions and many more. All the sessions are aided by experienced personals from the UN, government bodies and various other local and international bodies. The main focus is to let youth decide their future, frame the types of policies they want.
I was a speaker for the Asia-Pacific session, where I got to share about different youth-led initiatives in Nepal that were contributing towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), some of which were SDGs studio, Teenage Society Nepal (TSN) and many others.
I was sitting in a round table with a crowd from all over the world who were there to represent their country like me. Most of them had their earpieces on and were eagerly listening to me. When I finished, a wave of claps that followed, brought me pure satisfaction. The feeling was even better than the one when I saw my crush for the first time.
My realization after attending the forum was that life was not only about studying, getting a job, getting married and then dying. It was about making world a better place, to hand over a livable place to the next generation and about contributing to humanity, regardless of its magnitude. It is not always necessary to work under a logo or slogan to do so. Simply by not throwing food, you contribute towards SDGs goal number two “Zero Hunger”. Gift a pen and a copy, you contribute to SDG number four “Quality Education”. Water a plant, there is your part in reducing global warming. It is these macro efforts that can lead to big change. For instance, if everyone in this planet donated 1 rupee, we will have eight new billionaires in matters of seconds. That is how powerful our macro efforts can be.
My part of contribution started from macro level, by forming group of teenagers (TSN), creating libraries, carrying out donation programs, hosting awareness events and in the forum I launched my global platform “sharemywrite.com” which will be a place to make your voices heard through your writings no matters which part of the world you are, free of cost.
I got to learn a lot when I participated in the forum. I am also pretty satisfied with what I had presented there. It was an enjoyable experience. USA is a good and beautiful country, but then again ‘heaven is myth, Nepal is real’. Go to other countries, get experiences and learn, but you should return when your purpose is complete. Never forget the bigger purpose in your life.
Dangi is the Founder of Teenage Society Nepal and a young member at The New York Academy of Sciences.