WOW | People
FACES OF TODAY
Compiled by: PabitaDahal/ Anushka Shrestha
wow photo file © Ram Tandukar/Gokul Shrees
WOW presents personal insights from young, driven and high youth achievers who excel in what they do and believe in maximising their potential.
Out of the many Youtubers in the country, Prabhat Yadav has made a powerful impression by gaining recognition on the international platform. With over 500,000 subscribers, he is the first Nepali Youtuber to achieve a Silver Play Button. He launched his YouTube channel ‘Explore Gadgets’ in 2012 and three years later it was listed as ‘Top 30 Power Players in Tech’ by Inc. magazine. In 2017, he made it to the ‘Forbes 30 under 30’ list in the Media, Marketing and Advertising category. Over these years Prabhat has covered more than 400 tech brands and products.
Prabhat is… Unfiltered and raw. I follow my instincts.
Most challenging moment: The market is niche and we face a lot of limitations. For example, non-availability of gadgets in the country that leads to expensive shipment and takes a long time to acquire makes it tough to produce videos as per people’s demand.
Inspiration: Shahrukh Khan, Elon Musk and Warren Buffet.
Mantra: Patience is a virtue. There will be moments in your life when you will feel that hard work is not worth it. At that moment, take a break and figure out what you want and how you are going to achieve it. Explore options thoroughly and decide what is best for you. Also, don’t forget to have fun on the way.
WOW factor: If I don’t believe in something, I don’t care about the benefits and profits. If my heart does not accept something, I just don’t deal with it.
Future: We cannot predict the future as YouTube’s rules and regulations keep changing. For me it’s all about passion. However, I see myself serving the health sector and promoting Nepali organic products.
Renu Shrestha rebelled against the domination of fast fashion in Nepal and brought to life the concept of refashion. Despite the challenges, she is working intensely to create and promote a responsible fashion ecosystem. She transforms old and unused garments into amazing new outfits. She also educates people about upcycled clothing through her YouTube channel, ‘Refashion Nepal’ and organises refashioning projects with ‘HattiHatti’. In a short time, she has succeeded in creating awareness and convincing people to consider sustainable fashion.
Renu is… I do not search for different things but perceive existing things differently, that defines who I am.
Most challenging moment: In this era of fast fashion installing the idea of sustainable fashion is definitely challenging. People always go for fast fashion because they feel it’s less expensive and more fashionable. The trend of buying new clothes just for one-time wear has ushered a throw-away culture.
Inspiration: My dad
Mantra: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. At first it may seem impossible but eventually everything will come together. Keep hustling and don’t let your passion and ideas fade away. There will always be an excuse to hinder you from your goal; be stronger than your excuses.
WOW factor: I give life to and create style from clothes that are thrown away as trash.
Future: I see myself as a successful entrepreneur in the field of fashion. I see myself inspiring those who can bring innovative ideas, opportunities and some extreme concepts.
Social Worker & Entrepreneur
Surya Karki is a man with many responsibilities. As the Country Director and Co-Founder of United World Schools Nepal he is running 29 community based primary schools in Sankhuwasabha and Gulmi. He serves as the Co-founder/ CEO at Bloom Nepal School. He is also starting Nepal’s premium yogurt ‘Delish’ with his partners.
Karki’s hardwork and dedication has been recognised by Prince of Wales as one of the Youngest Sustainable Living Entrepreneurs in 2014. He was listed in Forbes as 30 under 30 Asia 2017. Currently he is on a mission to transform rural Nepal by increasing the access of quality education to all.
Surya is… Seeing problems and obstacles as opportunities to grow is what makes me who I am. I remember, I hated seeing my mother carrying water in a gagri (portable water jar) and walk 20-30 minutes from the river. I knew there was a solution to this, so I began observing what other people did. I then searched for pipes in my grandfather’s house and took it to the nearest water source to allow water to be available right outside my house. This was all done at the age of eight.
The desire to see Nepal equitably prosperous is the sole reason that has kept me moving. There are days I wake up and want to give up, but then seeing the faces of people living in rural areas hoping to be guided to prosperity continues to fuel my strength. I like listening to people who have barely been heard by leaders and promised to but never have fulfilled their promise. People in the rural areas are illiterate and can easily be fooled. I think this country will transform if their children receive a meaningful education that can lead them in the right direction. You know that feeling of seeing an old lady begging for food despite not wanting to? And the subsequent thought of how the system could be responsive to these people? That is exactly what drives me every day.
Most challenging moment: One of the most challenging moments was and still is convincing the government body that regulates charities in Nepal to run the community school. The first challenge was convincing them to believe that a 22-year-old could build and run community schools in rural areas. The second challenge was convincing them that UWS Nepal education model was worth looking at when deciding on changes to primary school education. Oh well… data evidence has not worked and this is why I am struggling right now. It has been three years and I am still trying to convince the government that evidence-based policies are required. Some of the changes we have recommended that we hope will be heard are: primary schools need increased investment in good quality teachers and technology-aided learning. Overall, my biggest challenge has been convincing the government that we are their friends, not competitors, and that we can get work done much easier if we listened and worked with each other.
Mantra: Persevere, push, don’t give up, laugh, take care of yourself, celebrate and share.
If you decide to become an entrepreneur, remember that you will not be the only person on that journey, you will also not have a lot of people joining you. Do not forget to look for positive people, who provide you the strength to get on a bus and go solve a problem.
As you get deeper into the work you do, it is important to reflect on where you started and where you would like it to go in the future. You will not have it easy, so celebrating time and again is essential to keep the mood and motivation up.
Inspiration: My mum. She is a fighter who shows me what it means to overcome a challenge. We survived hunger and poverty because she never gave up. She showed how education would help my family. She instilled a belief in me that I could accomplish anything in the world. Also, she constantly reminds me that if I fly too high, the landing will be challenging. She has taught me love, compassion, care and empathy, and inspired me to become hopeful in despair.
WOW Factor: I do not give up if I am convinced that what I am doing is the right thing to do.
Future: In Nepal witnessing and leading an economical, educational and political transformation. I will be answering if I can provide 5,000 direct jobs to Nepalese by 2028.
Singer, Model, Song Writer, Music Video Director
Prakash Saput is one of the most admired folk singers of today. He songs Galbandi and Bola Maya have gained immense popularity. He has recorded almost 25 songs and been featured in more than 200 music videos.
Prakash is…I am living my passion. I work at being human and live for my art.
Most challenging moment: Balancing my family responsibilities and focusing on my work at the same time. I have often gone through the dilemma of going abroad to earn money or becoming an artist in Nepal.
Mantra: Evaluate where you can reach with your talent. Always utilise your time and be optimistic.
Inspiration: All the people who have succeeded with overcoming their low phase.
WOW factor: Nowadays, lots of people say WOW when they listen to my life’s journey.
Future: I am still struggling. Some dreams have come true but there is much more to do. Let’s see when my hard work takes me.
Anjali Lama is the first transgender model to walk in one of India’s biggest fashion shows: Lakme Fashion Week. Lama who lives in India now makes Nepal proud by making it to a number of international appearances including Calvin Klein Campaign 2019 and Cannes Film Festival 2018. She has also appeared in numerous international magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Grazia, and Femina. She won the Model of the Year Award at the Grazia Millennial Awards 2019 and the GQ Style Award for Agent of Social Change 2018.
Anjali is…My identity and my profession.
Most challenging moment: Being a transgender every day is a challenge: during work, to survive, to get work, to get a house to live in, etc.
Mantra: People have a misconception that modelling is an easy job and we can earn a lot of money. But there are many challenges and a lot of competition in this industry. Before entering this industry, you should research and have a good knowledge about the profession. I work hard for all that I have every single day.
Inspiration: My mum.
WOW factor: I am never afraid to be who I am.
Future: I’ll make the best out of every opportunity that I get.
Sunita Dangol wears many hats; she is a media professional, beauty contestant, public speaker, trainer and a social worker. The winner of Miss Newa 2011, she has been deeply involved with ‘Callijatra’, a youth-led initiative to encourage and promote the use of Ranjana Lipi, a Newa language script among the newer generation. Since its inception, she has been actively leading workshops to keep the ancient script alive.
Sunita is…If I want to do something innovative, I don’t look for suggestions, I just begin.
Most challenging moment: I lost my dad while I was participating in Miss Newa. In spite of the unbearable pain, I won the title.
Mantra: Social service is not easy. You should be aware of whom you are working with and for whom you are working for. You have to understand society and know how to deal with people. The best thing about social work is the love and blessings you receive from people.
Inspiration: My mum and my brother. I am always inspired by my brother’s energy.
WOW factor: I can easily break the ice and start conversations.
Future: Whatever I do, I will be an inspiration for people.
Sona Khatik, a journalist from Kapilvastu, proves that nothing is impossible. Born and brought up in the Madhesi Dalit community, she suffered and faced physical and verbal abuse from other castes. She was insulted, isolated and humiliated in school by fellow students and teachers which made it extremely challenging for her to continue her studies. Despite the struggle and turmoil, she excelled in her studies. In 2007, Sona participated in a 12 days training with Radio Kapilvastu, and got a two-month internship opportunity with the station. This built her confidence and gave her direction. Her knowledge of Awadhi and Tharu languages has made her one of the most sought after radio journalists. She soon became the station manager. Her work gave her the strength to give voice to the issues of the Dalits and to fight for their rights.
Sona has played a critical role in advocating against child marriage and has been responsible for stoppping 92 child marriages in her community. She counsels families and children of the Dalit community and is a huge advocate for education and land rights.
Sona is… The support of my family, constructive environment at my workplace and Radio Kapilvastu make me who I am. I want people to identify me as a Social Activist advocating for the rights of Dalit women.
Most challenging moment: The most challenging moment was when I started my career. Initially, I walked 40kms every day from home to office and vice-versa. I had to spend a week without food as I didn’t have any money. Sometimes, the river banks used to be flooded so I had to wait until night to return home. One time while walking through the jungle, I saw a man. Instead of helping me, he told me that he wanted my body.
Inspiration: My biggest inspiration is my courageous mother, and my biggest mentors are at Radio Kapilvastu, Parshuram Yadav and Tulsiram Yadav.
Mantra: The struggle for equality and justice needs continuous effort; it is challenging but not impossible. Take time but never give up.
WOW factor: My capacity to face and handle any situation, my commitment and honesty towards my duty, and my courage to raise the issues of general citizens and marginalised communities.
Future: I see myself as a good and responsible professional journalist for the marginalised community, fighting for their rights through media advocacy.
Founder, Stemp Clothing Company
Binson Shrestha completed his Masters degree in Investor Relations from Fordham University, New York, and is working as a real estate executive in Brooklyn. He started his clothing line, Stemp Clothing Company, in 2013.
His uses hemp fabric to promote sustainable fashion and has created distinctive designs with unique selling proposition. He has an outlet in Brooklyn, New York and a flagship store in Kathmandu.
Binson is…The fact that I have lived in three different countries for an extended period of time has given me an opportunity to see the world from a different perspective and adapt easily to any environment. My background in the field of marketing, graphic design, investor relations and fashion has given me an edge to think out of the box. I reflect exposure and education.
Biggest challenge: Setting up our business during and after the earthquake was a big challenge.
Inspiration: Clichéd answer but my dad and mum for sure. Things they achieved at my age are beyond imagination. I am simply trying to follow in their footsteps!
Mantra: Start small but have a big vision. Keep at it and never give up.
WOW factor: My confidence and humour.
Future: Hopefully I’ll be on the cover of Vogue (laughs). But I definitely want to create a positive impact by promoting sustainable fashion. In the next ten years, I hope to be known as the guy that revolutionised the fashion industry by making clothes from hemp.
Photo: Parinita Niwal, MUA: Nitu Tamang
Of the many Nepali actors and models who travel to Mumbai with the dream of making it in Bollywood, very few succeed. The city can be demanding and harsh. Of the very few is Nirisha Basnet living her dream. Basnet was selected for a television drama series called Chandra Nandini for the last three episodes. That became her turning point. She will soon be appearing in the Hindi television serial Chaar Kaa Panchnama and Pehchaan in the lead role. She has also recently debuted in the movie Jani Najani in Nepali.
Nirisha is… I am defined by my struggle and hardships in Mumbai.
Challenges: When I moved to Mumbai I knew nobody and had no idea about the place. I did not have the standard model features such as the required height and jawline. I faced a series of rejections.
Mantra: If you love acting start watching Iranian movies. It is known for its world-class acting.
Inspiration: My friend Itchya Karki because she is always positive; this is a rare quality in people these days. She is also an ideal example of a good daughter, loving wife, supportive friend, sharp businesswoman and a good human being.
WOW factor: For me what really matters is my acting. That’s my craft. So, being able to connect with my audience through my acting is my WOW factor.
Sadina Shrestha is the Captain of the Women’s National Basketball team. She participated in many international games including 3*3 Asian Beach Games in China and All India Basketball Championship. Her team has bagged the first-runner up trophy in International South Asia Basketball Championship (SABAH) 2016. She is currently preparing for the upcoming South Asian Games which will host women’s basketball for the first time.
Sadina is… My surroundings makes me who I am. It’s the people around me that I learn and unlearn from, mostly my sisters. They inspire me to be empowered, polite, independent and honest.
Most challenging moment: Promoting Nepal basketball league
Mantra: Play, learn and enjoy. Basketball in Nepal is all for the love of the game, nothing else. If you want to be the best, just practice.
Inspiration: My sisters. They have taught me Payo bhandai ma namatiinu, chhaina bhanda ma haar na mannu (If you have all that you need, don’t let it go to your head; if you don’t have all that you need, don’t give up on your dreams).
WOW factor: My discipline makes me stand out from the crowd.
Future: I have a lot of personal goals but I really see myself being involved and being part of the Nepal women’s basketball team in the administration.