When Roshan Aryal collects for Red Cross in Taranaki he understands from first-hand knowledge the importance of every dollar.
Roshan arrived from Kathmandu, Nepal, in July 2018 to commence 12 months of study towards a Graduate Diploma in Project Management.
Much of his spare time at home was spent providing social support to victims of Nepal’s worst natural disaster in 80 years.
On April 25 2015 the 7.8 Mw Gorkha earthquake killed nearly 9000 people and injured almost 22,000.
As work continued to deal with the physical impact, Roshan concerned himself with the social damage.
At the time he was studying for a Bachelor degree in social work. In 2014 he and colleagues created their own aid organisation – Urban Youth for Rural Children.
They found a school where children arrived after a walk of two hours with no food for lunch. Roshan and his colleagues helped introduce a midday meal and school nutrition programme which was so well received absenteeism dropped to zero and children began asking to go to school on a Saturday.
“I suppose it was from that that I became so interested in doing social work,” Roshan said.
As a result of the quake more than 1.6 million children were driven out into the open, and left in desperate need of drinking water, psychological help, temporary shelters, sanitation and protection from disease outbreak, UNICEF reported.
Before leaving for New Zealand Roshan also worked as a programme manager in a project called Empowering Adolescents for Resilience Building in Earthquake Affect Districts, implemented by Child Nepal and Funded by Consortium Nepal and UNICEF.
He worked with a group of 13 to 18-year-olds from quake-hit areas to provide social support and education – through life skills and peer education and Rupantaran. Rupantaran and life skills are two activities which help young people in earthquake hit regions build resilience.
Roshan was enticed to study in New Zealand – and Taranaki – after reading reports about the province and is pleased with his choice. Aside from finding the community welcoming, he is also part of a significant Nepalese community studying in New Plymouth.
The 27-year-old hopes to stay in New Zealand for another two years, and his goal is to work in project management for not-for-profit social agencies, then take those skills home to help in his own country.
Bachelor of Applied Management tutor Linda Cox said Roshan had quickly become a valued member of the Red Cross team and was already signed up to participate in their Marfell breakfast club and lunch time meals on wheels service.
Words by Roy Pilott for Witt News