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If we put our head, heart and hands in working for the community, anything is possible

Krishna Gurung is the Founder of The Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation (KRMEF) and has over 20 years of experience working with impoverished communities. He is a leader in sustainable development projects in Nepal. His expertise in the fields of sustainable community development, natural building, and biodynamic agriculture has been the basis for the projects at the foundation. It has helped him successfully bring economic growth, land revitalisation, public health and wellness to needy local populationskrishna-gurung

He has been honoured with six national awards for service, innovation, peace, and achievement. His previous work establishment was nominated in BBC World Challenge (UK) 2008 as finalists, and also earned him a nomination for the prestigious Buckminster Fuller Scientific award (USA) in 2011 as a semifinalist.

He is widely travelled in many states of USA, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Egypt and India. Through his continued efforts to help humanity and spread the message of KRMEF, he has served as a guest speaker at many national and international academic institutions, including the University of Virginia USA.

Discover how Krishna Gurung is an inspiration to many for combining his knowledge and expertise for larger good. Excerpts of an interview with Bihani:

KRMEF has been working and growing as an inspiration for other organizations. What has been your experience?

This enterprise is still young. It has been six and a-half-years since its establishment and everything was harder in the initial days and it was a little difficult overcoming the challenges. With a definite and clear goal, it is slowly standing on its own feet. Some goals have been achieved and some might be achieved later on, it has definitely become easier with time and experience. With both the organisation and me growing, I have gained more knowledge, networks and expertise which have made this journey fruitful.

In your opinion can a social enterprise or organisation like KRMEF sustain community development?

Yes, definitely! It can and must sustain as well since it is for the benefit and development of the communities themselves including myself. During my travels, I saw so many opportunities and one example I can remember is when I traveled to a desert in Egypt called Sekem where I came across Dr. Abuleish Ibrahim who had generated enough income to be able to donate the profits to the Egyptian government. Taking this as an example, I can very clearly say that if we put our head, heart and hands in working for the community, anything is possible. It will not only uplift individuals but the entire community can be developed. Dr. Abuliesh also visited our foundation two years back and inspired us so much.

Usually when we talk of ‘change for agents for the future’, we refer to the younger generation. How do you think elders can bring change or contribute towards the future?

Elders can definitely contribute a lot especially by utilising their experiences and knowledge gained over the years. “Knowledge, Technology and Money” are the three important factors required for change. Elders have enough knowledge and experience while the younger generation are good with technology. By combining the strengths of all generations we can create a healthy income source or scenario for not just economic but overall development.

1536173_stock-photo-old-woman-handsElders tend to restrict themselves within the arena of their homes after retirement rather than get involved in social or developmental sectors. What can be done to re-engage them in community activities?

We can involve elders by inviting them to share their knowledge and experience thereby creating a platform for self expression. As elders are the most valuable part of our society, they should not be neglected in any way. One of the examples we can try to replicate from other countries is the creation of platforms such as Senior Expert Service (SES) for sharing knowledge and experience which would encourage our elders to become more involved.

What is the role of time and culture in community development?

In Switzerland, there is snowfall for almost half a year but they are well equipped to deal with it through proper management of time and resources. In Nepal, people tend to neglect the value of time. What we need to realise is, “Time is Money” and if utilised properly, it will help us prosper.

As for culture, Nepal is very rich. We should all remember to treasure and preserve our culture. Lifestyle, thinking, language and everything under culture plays a significant role in community development.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned?

There are a lot of hurdles that we have to face especially in a country like Nepal. So always be prepared, never be scared. That will take you to your aim. Think of four natural elements – TIME, MOMENT, PLACE and SPACE, and manage your work and life accordingly.

Learn more about KRMEF at: www.krmef.org / www.facebook.com/KRMEF/?fref=ts

Suman Rai is the Organisational Services Coordinator at Bihani Social Venture.

Bihani is a social venture born out of the need to create a positive outlook to life and living meaningfully with focus on individuals above fifty years of age (but not restricted to it) who want to re- engage, re – explore and re – live a new beginning or create a rewarding second half of their lives.
www.bihani.com.np /www.facebook.com/bihanisocialventure/ www.twitter.com/bihaninepal, 9813228579.