WOW | WOW Honor of Achievement
Dikchhya Chapagai comes from a humble village in Taplejung, 800 kms away from Kathmandu. Her parents are farmers and she is the eldest child. When she finished SLC, her parents encouraged her to marry, however a desire to learn and experience life brought her to Kathmandu in pursuit of computer studies. The bus ride alone was a new and exciting experience for her. In Kathmandu she stayed with her brother-in-law and commuted every day to her learning institute. She felt fortunate to experience life in the city, to be studying, and essentially to be free from the cultural expectations of her family and village. For the first time she felt like she could choose the trajectory of her life.
Travelling from her bother-in-law’s home to the institute everyday she would see people on the streets begging for food, living in very poor conditions, infested with physical and mental diseases. “They were alone. I simply cannot describe the pain in my heart when I see abandoned and homeless people”. She could have easily turned the other way as most of us do, but she would approach them and talk and try and understand their situation. She would share the food she had prepared for herself.
After two years, she was offered a teachers position in the same institute. She moved into a single room with one bed, one plate and one pan and thus began her journey of selfless love. In that same room, she gave shelter to seven homeless people and was feeding a lot more. She would take care of the sick and injured and get them the required medical attention in a hospital. “I would help anyone of any sex, any caste, any race, any age… afterall, our blood is the same. I feel it is my duty. And it should be our responsibility as humans to help and support one another”.
When the number of people she cared for continued to grow, Dikchhya was struggling to not be thrown out of the places she rented. By 2002, people took note of what Dikchhya was doing and she also gained exposure in the local newspapers. Her friends encouraged and helped her to establish an NGO which is today known as Pabitra Samaj Sewa Nepal. There are 73 people now in her care including abandoned women, children and senior citizens. Of the 73, 25 are children who are also given an education.
In these 17 years, Dikchhya has come to realise that life is not always fair. She says, “If people just love each other and take responsibility for each other, there would be no need for someone like me. Grown children need to love their parents for more than their money and property. Parents no matter how young need to value the lives of their children, regardless of their conception as they have the capability to grow into great human beings. Until this day comes, I will continue to help and shelter as many as I can”.
Every day thousands of people wake up with no place to call home, no food, medicines, education or work. Many wake up on the streets, scavenging for food in garbage bins or begging, their bodies covered in layers of dirt, hungry, tired and broken in spirit. Pabitra Samaj Nepal was founded by one person who really cared, who chose not to look away, who chose to do something about it.
Dikchhya Chapagai is the recipient of the WOW Hope and Health Honor of Achievement for 2017 for providing shelter and hope for those in dire need.
*PSS Nepal is always in need of donations or any kind to support that the growing number of people in their care need. Currently they are at risk of losing the property where they are based. Please contact Dikchhya if you are able to help in anyway.