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vasti's blog #1: it feels kinda weird to upload your own blog

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

vasti salazar august 26, 2020; wednesday 20:00 est (eastern standard time)

Hello! My name is Vasti Salazar, and I’ve been volunteering at Hoste Hainse for about 3 months now! Aayushma Bastola, a good friend of mine and icon in the Hoste Hainse scene, introduced me to Hoste Hainse 3 years ago when she was recruiting sponsors for Project 3k (more info here)! When Aayushma told me that I was welcome to join Hoste Hainse this summer, I was hesitant to jump on at first. I had never written a grant, project proposal, or done anything high-level for a non-profit before. I was enticed by the idea of working so close to the front-line and making a genuine impact on this amazing organization, but simultaneously insecure about my own inexperience. Eventually, I decided that Hoste Hainse could be a great learning experience either way, and that it would be worth a shot. After all, you do miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Once I agreed to volunteer with Hoste Hainse, I quickly became familiar with the actual scope and impact of this organization, which surpassed any presumptions I had made about it. I learned about the power of education, how school is a place for boys to go to instead of working in the fields, and school is a place where girls learn that they are worth more than a dowry. I learned about how Hoste Hainse helps the communities directly, as well, with sustainable projects that generate income for both the adults in the villages and our schools. I learned that Hoste Hainse even has an annual event where we plant 100 new trees to promote environmental conservation! Every time I learned something new about the range of our impact, I became more impressed and motivated to do my best for the people I was working with.

Aayushma gave me very easy tasks to start with, and I quickly worked my way up to help writing grants. The first thing I worked on by myself and published on the forum was a CSR letter that would be sent to banks in Nepal, requesting their support for Project 3K. Getting it approved and seeing it be sent out immediately gave me a boost of confidence and reassured me that I was making a positive change. We quickly moved onto SO many things, like the HH roadmap, the new website, many failed CSR requests, a student well-being survey, and a collab with Books of Joy, who is helping us renovate the bathrooms and build a mini-library at our Dhangada school. There is never a shortage of things to work on at Hoste Hainse, and you're always able to find something you're passionate about! I never would've imagined that I'd be in charge of creating a whole new website from scratch, but here I am, uploading all the posts on this blog. And having it be my own post finally feels like a testament to everything I've contributed so far. Uploading this blog itself is a contribution! It's just hard to explain how weird it feels for me to be responsible for something as small as uploading a blog, while the action and blog itself are representative of my whole journey that has built up to this exact moment. Anyway...

After a month or two of Aayushma and I working together, we welcomed a third member to our party, creating our girl squad, which we coined The Marxistears (don’t ask)! Megha joined with an interest in marketing and networking, so she quickly got to work on revamping the Hoste Hainse Instagram. She made a video dedicated to Project 3K, which was so cute and very well done, bringing in a lot of new P3K supporters! Since then, she’s been keeping our social medias up-to-date with cool infographics and answers any questions people have about Hoste Hainse.

Here's Megha expertly handling some DM's from Nepali Americans for Biden 2020:

Recently, we’ve welcomed two additional volunteers, Maya from Singapore and Ayush from Nepal! Maya was introduced to Hoste Hainse through Megha, and Ayush decided to get involved on his own after seeing us on Instagram. Since Aayushma is off to college, I’ve taken the lead with these new volunteers, and although I’ve already had a few slip ups, I’m certainly learning, and I’m excited to see what they’ll do!

Overall, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive, and it feels amazing to know you're helping make real change. It's hard work, but it's immensely fulfilling, and we all have fun doing it! Why else would we be discussing Hoste Hainse and celebrating new sponsors at 2am in our group chat?

I'm very grateful to have shooted that shot 3 months ago. Now, I can't wait to see what else the future has in store for us. :)

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