My journey to the US began after much-awaited anticipation of being an ‘Atlas Corps Fellow’. When I received the news of my selection as one of the Atlas Corps Fellow through email, I set my journey that moment ready to chase my dream of being a non-profit leader and I am very thankful to Atlas Corps enough who made my dream come true.
I joined non-profit sector 6 years ago and have been working on different social issues – women’s empowerment and gender equality, community development, economic empowerment of women and marginalized communities, media and right to information and safe migration. Joining social sector was not an easy choice for me as I had completed my post graduate in Microbiology. I could have a better career as Microbiologist but deep inside I always wanted to work in the social sector – for the empowerment of women, children, and marginalized people, to help them raise their voice against inequality and injustice.
My learning is more of practical than academic. I learned a great deal of community development and community service through non-profit organizations in Nepal that I had worked with. I had the opportunity to work with women and people at grass hood level, interacted with them and realized their core issues. At the same time, I had the opportunity to work with policymakers so had been part of policy advocacy to contribute to improving the situation of women and marginalized communities in Nepal.
Through these years, I have seen the changes in the lives of women and communities in rural villages after having access to education, training, resources, and opportunities. What could be more satisfying than to see the change in lives of the women and people? I have seen the transition in lives of the women from being shy, timid and dependent to being leaders in their communities who could speak confidently, independent of their male counterpart and lead their families and communities. This transformation in communities made me proud of what I am doing right now.
Now I have shifted from Kathmandu- the capital city of Nepal to Washington – the capital of USA for a year -with a dream and a hope to learn more about non-profit management skills and improve my leadership skill. I left Nepal with a mixed feeling – both excitement and nervousness. I was excited to meet non-profit leaders from across the world, eager to learn the best practices and stories of these leaders and to serve in my host organization ‘Internews’ based in Washington, DC to build upon new skill and knowledge on non-profit management. I was anxious as it was my first time in the USA and I’m here to stay for a whole year.
However, the first two weeks had been an amazing learning experience for me. There was a week-long orientation program for new fellows followed by Global Leadership Lab with fellows from other classes. I have never met such a diverse group of people in my life before. Through these two weeks, I met awesome fellows from Africa, Asia, Australia, South America and North America who are different in terms of language, culture, religion, and regions but the commonality among all is that all are young passionate and inspiring leaders who are working incessantly to make positive transformation in their communities.
Moreover, I had a great time listening to inspiring speakers, visiting the white house and Washington’s monuments, watching a baseball game and had a proud moment when Atlas Corps along with representatives from host organizations and non-profit leaders warmly welcomed Class 24 Fellows.
For me each day is a learning experience – I learned to ride bike in the second day in DC, had my first metro riding experience in the third day, and so on. I am very grateful to the Atlas Corps staff, fellows, local ambassadors, big sisters and brothers for making the first two weeks of my life in DC easier.