Early morning on January 11, on the occasion of Prithivi Jayanti, Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Lal Babu Pandit, and other noted leaders and personalities including Nepali Congress leader and former Deputy Prime Minister, Prakash Man Singh, Deputy Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Hari Prabha Khadgi and a number of students and security guards gathered at Tinkune, Koteshwar. They gathered there with brooms in their hands to sweep dust as a part of Kathmandu cleaning campaign. The program was commenced in Koteshwar and concluded in Maitighar.
The master-mind behind the campaign was KP Khanal, an aspiring social activist who also led around 1,700 people in the Clean Kasthamandap Campaign. Eighteen-year old Khanal looks lean but his personality is just as evidently contradictory. His bold presence and attitude can never be undermined and that is the main cause of his still rising fame in Kathmandu within a short period of time.
Khanal was born and raised in Ramaroshan Rural Municipality nestled in Achham district in Province-7. Most children in the area have their parents away from home as they look for better employment opportunities in the neighboring country of India. For Khanal, life was no different. In fact, after the SEE examinations (then SLC) he too tried his luck and tried looking for a well-paying job in India but was grossly rejected because of his young age. He finally landed himself a job as a dishwasher at a hotel in New Delhi after which he returned to his homeland at which point he realized he had passed in first division with 65 percent.
After completing his higher school studies, he came to Kathmandu for further study. However, things went differently for young Khanal as he found Kathmandu streets dirty and dusty. The plight of the environment saddened him so much that he had to take it upon himself to improve the situation. He initiated a campaign on Facebook and asked like-minded people to join him in the venture. At first, when seen cleaning the streets alone in the wee hours of the AM he was called crazy, but that didn’t stop him. It only pushed him further toward his dream of seeing a green and clean Kathmandu.
The journey of Khanal’s social activities began when he became a member of the ‘Children Club’ of Kailali. He also ran a 30-minute-long live program called ‘Bal Awaz’ (children voice) on Radio Namaste. He went on to become the president of the club and used his influence to eradicate the ‘Chhaupadi Pratha’ (practice of keeping female at a shed out of home during menstrual period) from the area.
He also led a similar cleaning campaign in Bageshwari Temple in Nepalgunj which saw the mayor and deputy mayor of Nepalgunj as participants too. Other locations where he has led cleaning campaigns include Dhangadhi and Lapkichuwa.
He also piloted a running campaign via Facebook to raise funds. He collected about Rs. 100,000 within four days and donated rice, lentil and cooking oil to the people in need of them. Likewise, he also ran ‘Bhokai Chha Humla’ campaign and collected Rs 150,000 and walked to Adanchuli Rural municipality in Jumla for seven days with aid for them.
Currently, he is busy collecting funds for 12 orphans of Bajura to build them a home in collaboration with Concern Bajura. The foundation stone of the home has been laid. To complete the home, an amount of Rs 4,000,000 is needed while he has collected Rs 700,000. He is studying Bachelors in Social Work in Texas International College in Kathmandu under full scholarship.