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Following her Heart – NEEVA MATHEMA PRADHAN

Text by: Pabita Dahal
wow photo file © Gokul Shrees

An international corporate trainer and a humanitarian do not quite sum up Neeva Mathema Pradhan who has various areas of work that she passionately pursues. An example is her engagement providing Excellence at Workplace corporate training through the Art of Living Foundation, or her association with animal welfare causes. She is also a writer, homemaker and a doting grandmother. WOW gets to know more about Neeva’s humanitarian and creative side in this interview; excerpts:

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

There are two things that inspired me to write my first book, Best of Both Worlds:
1. I had perused Journalism degree as my undergraduate major in the US and my father always encouraged me to become a writer.
2. I saw the need to share an immigrant’s story. I wanted to reflect on how important it is to balance dual cultures.

Describe your style of working…

My writings are based on my personal experiences. My style is the usage of humour and narration. I use many personal anecdotes to support my statements. I believe in sharing from the heart.  My readers have complimented me that they could completely relate to the storyline.

What is the situation for woman writers in Nepal?

Even though my book was published over three years ago in the US, I now have met and come across aspiring women writers in Nepal. I feel the environment is very conducive for women writers and many have been recognised for their work. The biggest challenge is to find the resources, the right editorial help and publishing house that will also help to market the book after release.

What projects are you are currently working on?

Currently I am a social worker and involved in a few innovative projects. I am organising and conducting youth empowerment seminars and vocational training through Rotary Club of Kathmandu Midtown. Through Rotary I am also chairing a Committee working with Nepal Ambulance Services to bring basic life-saving skills to our communities. I conduct corporate training with various organisations in the areas of leadership, management, stress management techniques through the Art of Living Foundation. Also, I have been actively involved with the Society for Animal Welfare (SAW) to bring awareness on the plight of stray dogs and calves in Nepal. Furthermore, I enjoy writing poetry on topics that inspires and touches me, and I am looking to find out how I can get them published.

What stirred your interest in animal awareness?

About a year back as I was walking one morning towards Swoyambhu,  I came across a scrawny and famished calf searching for food. I was in a hurry for a meeting so it was convenient for me to ignore it. But on the following days too, I came across the same animal around the same location. On the fourth day, I could not ignore it any longer and purchased some fresh vegetables and fed the calf then and there. It gobbled all the vegetables within minutes. I left the calf there but that night I had a difficult time falling asleep thinking about it. The next day, I met the calf again and immediately I called my household help to meet me on the street nearby with a rope and took the calf to my sister’s who had agreed to keep it in her backyard.

Having no prior experience or knowledge of caring for a cow, I ended up doing some research on what to feed and how to care for it. We named the calf ‘Ram’ and hosted him for around three weeks and fed it vegetables and corn feed. Ram started gaining weight and looked healthy; it was very satisfying to see him progress. I then started sharing my story with friends and neighbours and many were shocked to know that I brought home a calf. In the meantime, I started hunting for animal shelters in town that could take care of Ram and had no luck, until one day a friend shared a card of Gai Bachha Sanstha based in Gaushala.  I called them and went that very day to check the place and talk with the team. I requested them to take Ram and promised to help bring awareness to their cause in any way that I could and that’s how I started this initiative and have been working for it.

How has the response been?

Response from every side has been overwhelming and authentic.  All organisations and individuals have been forthcoming and generous with their time, ideas and resources. Institutions like Kathmandu Engineering College, ASMAN, Daya Foundation and Vet for Your Pet have already partnered with the Corporate Program, The Art of Living Nepal Foundation. Their degree of interest for the cause and eagerness to make a change and difference have been encouraging and motivating for me at a personal level.

How can one contribute to help and save cows? 

It is important that people understand money is not the only way they can help. One can start in small ways like by simply being compassionate towards these animals. I have seen a few families putting out water buckets, and feeding stray cows with leftover vegetables. If communities inspire each other to take this responsibility, even though it is short-term, fewer animals will starve to death. Being a human, taking humane efforts and saving a life is more important and that’s where one should start. To support the cause further, one can contact us or the existing shelters and first help them get these animals off the street. Then, they can also contribute in cash or in kind, or adopt one of these animals and help the shelters feed and take care of their health.