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Building a School for Peace out of Gratitude

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Despite Nepal's government ban of The Huffington Post, local blogger and change maker Subhash Ghimire aims to be heard this TweetsGiving.

In the remote village of Arupokhari in western Nepal, former HuffPost blogger and Nepali change maker Subhash Ghimire has recently learned that he's been named one of three global grassroots change makers who will be honored by TweetsGiving, a worldwide social media celebration that aims to change the world through the power of gratitude.

He'd like to share his story here, where he used to blog regularly while he was attending college in the United States. Due to a recent government ban of The Huffington Post in Nepal, though, he's unable to access this site... so he shared his login with me, Stacey Monk, Founder of EpicChange.org, in hopes that she would post this story on his behalf. It is my honor to do so.

From Subhash:

The Nepalese government has banned The Huffington Post. The measure came as a shock to me for someone who regularly contributes and reads the blog. For now, I have asked my dear friend Stacey to upload this message.

Despite lucrative job offers and plenty of other opportunities, I left the United States the day after I graduated from St. Olaf College in May 2010. I am now back here in Nepal working on building a peace school for war affected children in my home town in western Nepal. Having recently been honored by Stacey's United States nonprofit Epic Change with an invitation to participate in their global Epic Thanks celebration, I wanted to share my story here in hopes that it may inspire you to participate in this TweetsGiving.

My journey to this day began in Arupokhari, a remote western Nepali village, which is more than a days walk from the district headquarters. My village was at the heart of Nepal's 10 years of civil war from 1996 to 2006. When I was 5 years old, every day I walked barefoot to and from school and then came home to study under the kerosene lamps as part of my daily routine. Even though we didn't have blacktopped roads, electricity, telephones or a proper school, all the children I knew dreamed of becoming doctors or pilots. We knew even then that no one wanted us to settle for anything less. But over time, as we busied ourselves building dreams amidst poverty, hunger and scarcity, we slowly began to realize how unrealistic and impossible those dreams were. After all these years, we do not have a single doctor or a pilot from my home town.

Still, with all of this, I have never been able to stop dreaming big. From the time I was young, I longed for changes in Nepal. My audacity to think like this came in part because at the age of 9 I had one very important dream come true. I was selected to study in a prestigious British-style school in Kathmandu, Nepal. That was when I saw buses and electricity for the first time; and first started to learn English. That is where I first learned that sometimes in one moment, your life can change forever.

I am a wildly optimistic person willing to sacrifice for my country so that future generations do not have to suffer the same way. I believe that changing a country has to start with educating the young generation and that is where I am investing my energy. With the Sarswati Foundation that I founded in the summer of 2009, I am now working on building the first peace school in Nepal so that the children whose lives were blighted by the war get an opportunity to overcome unfounded prejudice and discrimination and realize the possibilities of creating an informed and tolerant society for future generations. I want all of the children in my village to get the best possible education so that they can achieve their dreams of becoming not only doctors or pilots but anything else they desire to be.

After years of poverty, struggle and despair, I became the first person in generations of my family to graduate from college. My mom passed away when I was 9 years old. Her life has been a light and inspiration to me and without her motivation and upbringing, my journey to this day would have been impossible.

Dear Friends, we need countless stories to move our world forward. We need schools that teach our students to action; we need education that not only teaches us to be good citizens but also go out and make a difference. We need idealists; we need dreamers, thinkers and leaders. My education has made me look beyond and contribute towards the greater good of the society. As President Obama once said, "every generation we have an obligation to work on behalf of the next generation."

Some may have called me naive for daring to dream at all, if they had seen the place where I started from. But if we stop dreaming and if we stop believing in ourselves, we are never going to create a world that is fair and just for everyone. If we are not willing to sacrifice, who will? How long can we wait? Please support my peace school project to educate and enable thousands of war affected Nepalese children to dream big and achieve their dreams.

After graduating from college in the United States, Subhash moved home to Nepal, refusing many lucrative job offers and deferring a prestigious graduate school fellowship to live up to a promise he'd made in the village where he was raised. With a $6,000 grant from Clinton Global Initiative University and fundraising he's done online, he's managed to secure a piece of land in western Nepal and construction has begun.

Subhash is now hoping to raise $30,000 to finish his school's construction through his partnership with Epic Thanks. Originally founded as TweetsGiving in 2008, the event has raised tens of thousands of dollars that have been invested to build classrooms and a library at a primary school in Tanzania founded by Mama Lucy Kamptoni.

He's hoping that you'll share your thanks on the site and give in honor of whatever you're grateful for so that his school, like Kamptoni's, may be built from the gratitude of thousands across the globe.

To contribute to Subhash's efforts to transform his country, share your gratitude and give generously in honor of all you have to be grateful for at EpicThanks.org, or email Subhash directly at subhash580@gmail.com.