Since his time in Storm Lake, Ravi Kumar, a 2010 graduate of Buena Vista University has been making a difference in the lives of students in South Asia.
Others have noticed, too — with 19,999 votes from Facebook users, Grassroot Movement in Nepal (GMIN) received a $100,000 Chase Community Giving Grant from JP Morgan Chase in September.
GMIN, a non-profit all-volunteer organization, was co-founded by Nepalese-born Kumar in New York City in 2009, and has since blossomed into chapters in Nepal, the U.K., Finland and Hong Kong, working towards building a sustainable infrastructure for education in Nepal.
Since its inception, GMIN has built or renovated 16 schools and 52 classrooms in Dang, Taplejung and Sindhupalchowk Districts in Nepal, while sponsoring students’ education, hiring and training teachers and donating clothing and stationery.
Children who have attended GMIN-sponsored primary schools are more likely to continue education at middle schools, Kumar said.
GMIN’s $100,000 grant will be put to use renovating additional remotely-located schools, providing maximum impact for rural villagers and children, and put towards a women’s empowerment program, which will allow mothers to become financially capable and secure a better future for their children.
Big plans are in the works for upcoming years.
“We want to help more than 20,000 villages in Nepal within the next 10 years,” he says. “We are growing rapidly and will re-evaluate our plans regularly to meet the needs on the ground and reflect the hopes of our supporters worldwide.”
As an all-volunteer organization, college students can gain experience through internships or short-term trips and work remotely with GMIN representatives via Skype and Google+
GMIN welcomes anyone to share ideas at facebook.com/GMIN.Nepal, en.twitter.com/GMINepal or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations are accepted at gmin.us/donate.html.
BVU editorial note: Following his graduation from Buena Vista University, Ravi moved to New York to operate GMIN, which he had co-founded as a BVU senior. After helping at GMIN for a year, he enrolled at Columbia University where he specialized in digital media and was a Fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. In July, Global Post published his master’s thesis, an investigative story about Nepalis who use existing human smuggling network in Central America to illegally enter the U.S.
After earning a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia in May 2012, he worked for two months for Pageant Media, a British Publishing Company in NYC. At Pageant he helped launch Social Casino Intelligence, a trade monthly magazine about the social casino industry.
In August, Ravi joined the staff at the World Bank in Washington D.C. as an online and social media assistant. He helps with the new media, data visualization and YouThink blog to inform youth from around the world to engage in conversation about how they can tackle poverty. He continues his work for GMIN and is vice president of its board of directors. The U.S. chapter is GMIN headquarters.