This article is the continuation of my previous text called: “The hidden story behind the images” that was in the October Voices. I shared there my experience in participation with the project photo and story that benefited NGO Educanepal. In this interview I will give a voice to Educanepal leader and soul: Jose Diaz. Since they don’t seem to have good coverage in English speaking media.
Tell me bit about yourself?
I was born in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain. I lived there until I finished my secondary education. When I was 18 I went to London where I studied English for three years and then did a degree in Applied languages. When I finished at university I went back home in Spain where I worked as English teacher for seven years.
How did you even come to the idea of creating the NGO Educanepal?
From an early age I enjoyed travelling in Asia during my holidays and felt I really wanted to spend longer time there and see options to help people. So in 2000 I decided to join VSO for a two year volunteer post in Nepal. Those two years changed my life completely. Living close to nature with farmers and experiencing their efforts to survive made me feel very close to real life. I also had chance to meet many children who had to work since early age in restaurants and textile factories in order to help their parents. Even more heartbreaking was to speak to girls who had been sold to brothels in India to be sexually exploited. So when I came back from Nepal in 2002 I decided to found Educanepal, and since then all my efforts have been dedicated to preventing child labor and trafficking in Nepal.
What motivates you as a person to do to this work every day?
Easy answer. Just to see children smiles makes it worth it. They are happy with very little, and they are so innocent and naive. So much beauty in that, I just wish the whole world smiled like they do. I wished the whole world could live so humbly and feel care and love for each other. Then there would be no need for NGO, not even governments. That is my dream, and I try to do what I can every day in Nepal. I feel happy trying to create a more loving world.
Tell me about success stories that you guys have had?
We work in areas that had a high rate child trafficking and by helping children go school and help their parents generate income, we have managed to reduce trafficking up to 80 – 100 %. Apart from that we have two children homes that have given a new life to over 60 girls who had no family or had been sexually abused. On a daily basis, every day we have success stories: new children coming to school, teenager girls learning tailoring and opening their own business, providing grants to girls who cannot pay secondary education. Basically, empowering people to try and stand by themselves.
What is the most difficult thing about your work?
Being away from home and own culture is not easy. Trying to motivate local staff has been the hardest. Dealing with people who want to take advantage of our help is also very challenging. But it has been 18 years’ experience till now. I have managed to create a great group of local staff who feel proud of what we do and we feel more comfortable dealing with challenges.
What are the biggest threats in the Nepali culture to children?
Some people want to make money anyhow, even by selling children or using them as cheap labor. So selfishness and people indifference to this is for me the biggest threat. Also ignorance and poverty are big challenges to them.
How can our magazine readers help your NGO?
You can visit our web page www.educanepal.org and make donations to the account number listed there.
Speaking honestly reading this interview makes my heart warm. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to meet some of the guys in real life. But I am glad that exist people like them. I admire how motivated they are to chains the world through compassion and lend the hand to those who need it. I feel proud that I had chance to be part of this endeavor with my talents.
Madis Siim Kull