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main blog0009 : hh blog reloaded (again)

krishna bikram shah january 15, 2020; wednesday 17:00 nst (nepal standard time)

oh boy!

a year did indeed pass, didn't it? and just last year around this time [ blog0008 : hh blog reloaded ] i thought i had reloaded the hoste hainse blog. i wrote then that perhaps i would end up writing quarterly in 2019, as i thought that if i committed to monthly writings, i would be setting myself up for failure. well, i failed anyway, even at quarterly. hence, another reload.

this is what i am thinking -- new year... new resolutions... (by the way, best wishes for 2020!). but maybe i will fail again, like 75% of the people who make new year resolutions to go to the gym, but end up quitting a month into the new year. 75%? really? that high? i did not know either. i asked google. :)

but let's be optimistic -- maybe i will not fail this year. maybe 2020 is special. after all, it's a new decade! maybe i will be able to write at least monthly posts this year. here i go again. i could not even do quarterly posts last year. what makes me think i can do monthly? well, it's the thought that counts. and it's also the thought that drives me.

so where do i even begin? so much time has passed since the last time i wrote to you. and even then i had just scratched the surface. in 2019 i was going to write follow-up posts to make deep dives into topics, like my first 6 blog entries in 2015 which pretty much fed into each other kind of like a season of game of thrones (but what do i know? i don't even watch tv), and they focused mainly on our post earthquake rebuilding activities (after all, 2015 was the year of the big earthquake). i did not write for 3+ years. nothing in 2016. nothing in 2017. nothing in 2018. then, january of 2019 i finally came up for a breath of air, when i promised that i'd be back, but that ended up being a false promise. another year passed since then. coincidentally, last year's blog entry was also written on january 15, on my day off, due to maghe sangranti. this year, maghe sangranti is not even a public holiday anymore, but we have it off in the office. we just have 14 paid holidays in a year, and maghe sangranti has, i guess, always been there. it's good to have a day off on a weekday, even though i don't even get paid. ;)

"executive director, pro bono" is my new title, by the way. ahem. that happened sometime between 2015 and 2020. the story there is that i used to have just "volunteer" on my hoste hainse business card, and we had been running without an executive director since early 2015, when binay chaudhary, our sarlahi coordinator advised me that hoste hainse may be running out of compliance without a "karyakari nirdeshak" (executive director). hence, to solve that problem we quickly made me "volunteer executive director" to cross our compliance i's and dot our t's (even though compliance does not even have a t). wait a minute... it is "cross our t's and dot our i's" rather. sorry. "volunteer executive director" stuck for a few years and now in 2020, i am "executive director, pro bono." that title came up as i also embraced the role of "executive director, pro bono" for global compact nepal [ ]. yeah, am doing that too now.

so where do i even begin? i guess i can start by saying, "the state of our hoste hainse is strong!" :) exciting times! so many things going on in parallel. once again, i don't even know where to begin, but let me give the overall picture that hoste hainse is probably at new heights ever since we started 30 years ago. we used to be a non-profit that just catered to the education of underprivileged children, and now in addition to that, we are a non-profit that does the right thing to make our world sustainable. now that sounds big. but these two logos should speak for themselves and actually deserve blog entries of their own:

hoste hainse is a member organization of both ungc as well as iucn. you might already know the u.n. global compact [ ] is the wing of the united nations which urges businesses and organizations to embrace social responsibility. iucn [ ] on the other hand is all about the conservation of nature.

i have been lucky, in the sense my family has always been involved in social responsible activities. i began to realize this myself ever since my mother, sulochana shrestha-shah, received a human rights award from the u.s. based advocates for human rights in 1997, for her continuous spearheading of social issues from the business sector. i was based in the u.s. then, had just graduated from college and had begun working in corporate america. but the question had been asked very early, "what i am doing here in america when so many exciting things are happening in my own country, nepal?"... the very foundation of my eventual move back to nepal.

but i don't want this entry to become an autobiography (i don't think it's time yet), and so let me try and get back to the point -- after i moved back to nepal in 2014 (just before the 2015 earthquake), i realized that my family was still doing socially responsible activities, but in a very disconnected way. for example, my mother was (and still is) involved in many fronts via goodweave as well as the global compact, both whose local chapters in nepal she helped establish; my father via ronast (royal nepal academy of science and technology) and aepc (alternative energy promotion centre), to name a few. i, myself, was planting trees wherever i could, was recycling like a mad man (this took new heights as i realized we can actually sell recyclables in nepal (as opposed to just recycling without getting paid in the u.s.)). hence, after the earthquake dust settled, i began to think about how to streamline all these socially responsible activities and bring them under one umbrella, i.e., hoste hainse.

recycle for education. now, this program perhaps makes perfect sense, right?

the perfect example of marrying a socially responsible activity we were already doing with our core competence -- education of underprivileged children. in the past, we were informally using recycling proceeds to pay for small hoste hainse needs or other social activities. now, everything is streamlined -- we recycle (enough said), and use the proceeds of recycling to pay for the education of underprivileged children via hoste hainse, and that too by means of our flagship project, project 3k []. the "recycle for education" page even lists how many students are getting an education via this program! check it out @ [].

in essence, we are doing nothing new, but just collecting metrics, presenting them, and advertising them for expansion of the program. and it has worked! we are now not only recycling our own materials, but also of other supporters who are donating their recyclables to us. it has become a paradigm shift!

just like our "recycle for education" program, we have also launched the following programs:

again, nothing new really. just re-branding and re-organizing and re-presenting. so, now we can also see what hoste hainse does underneath the covers. so much more than just education. :) and best of all, it all feeds into education.

if i go through all the other programs that we have launched since 2015, i am probably going to end up writing another 5,000 words, and so for the sake of brevity, i think i need to save that for subsequent deep dive blog entries, which i hope i will do this year in 2020. but while on topic, also please check out our annual tree planting (brikcha ropan), which we have also turned into a project: [].

now, onto the other big thing i want to write about in this blog entry... when i took over hoste hainse in 2015, almost 100% of our funding came from overseas (international donors). this is how traditional ngo's work in nepal. no wonder they (we) have gotten the derogatory name of "dollar kheti garne sanstha" (translation: organization that farms dollars) in nepal. since 2019, i am quite proud to say, 50% of our sarlahi budget is funded by nepal-based projects and fundraisers. this again requires a blog entry of its own, but wanted to share this news right away. we are in the process of publishing all our finances online for 100% transparency, just like we already do for the "recycle for education" as well as "reuse for education" programs. the first time we did this was during the earthquake -- 100% transparency. that spreadsheet is still online: scroll to the bottom of our donate page: [ ].

how did we do it over a span of less than four years? "recycle for education" as well as "reuse for education" add to the bottom line (in fundraising), but "project 3k", without a doubt, has been our flagship, raising us over npr 10 lakhs per year since we started [ ]. the other source has been our income generation programs that we started in sarlahi itself in 2016. those programs raise us about npr 15 lakhs every year. then, we have our annual movie charity event, which has always been making us npr 4 lakhs minimum. check out our fundraisers page for more information: [ ].

raised npr 4,00,000.00
raised npr 6,00,000.00

it's a shame that so much information (primarily history) is missing from our website. we're a 30 year old organization, and right now ngo's that are less than three years old have more pictures and information on their websites and social media pages. please bear with us as we play catch up.

perhaps by the end of 2020 we'll be completely caught up. i hope that will be the case. here's another fundraiser of hoste hainse that has no mention on the website as of yet. you probably know about it already since i have been doing it for the last 8+ years. it's my personal weekly uplifting electronic music radio show, prakrity sessions:

prakrity sessions 446 (january 11, 2020)

a fundraiser for the education of underprivileged children in nepal

more info @

available as a free subscribable podcast on itunes, an any-time on demand download, or live on local fm, radio nagarik, 96.5 mhz., every friday night at 9pm nepal standard time. :)

and i think that's all she wrote for this blog entry. before i close, allow me to point you to photos of the latest hoste hainse public event... we took part in brand nepal go local 2019 a little over two weeks ago (on december 28, 2019), the annual carnival that showcases nepali local brands over a fun-filled saturday. hoste hainse had a stall -- this was our first time attempting a fundraiser by selling pickles, titaura (candy) as well as small carpets (rugs). we did not make much via sales, but the expsoure we got via radio nagarik 96.5 mhz. and the event overall was priceless.

photos of the event on facebook here: [ 2019/12/28 Hoste Hainse @ Brand Nepal Go Local 2019 ] (no facebook account required)

thanks for reading, and now comes the big test -- will i be back on february 15, 2020? wish me the best! :)

cheers, krishna

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