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One man on mission to improve life in Nepal

By Kathy Aiken | Posted - Oct. 18, 2010 at 6:45 p.m.


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NEPAL -- When you go to your sink and turn on the faucet, you expect water to pour out for you to drink. But in many parts of the world, that's not reality. In the country of Nepal it's been one man's goal to make sure running water is a way of life for his people.

Sandwiched between China and India is Nepal, land of the highest mountain in the world: Mt. Everest. It's also estimated that half of its nearly 30 million people live in poverty. One man, Bishnu Adhikari, wants to change that.


Adhikari oversaw 21 water projects, the building of 33 schools and 900 bio-gas digesters in Nepal.

It started when he returned to his village in Nepal after graduating from a Russian University in 1989.

"My mother was carrying water on her back for half an hour. I mean, most of the families around our neighborhood were doing the same thing," Adhikari says.

Bishnu wanted to start a new thing, so he used his civil engineering degree, along with the help of LDS missionaries, to create a system to get water piped into the village's homes.

"I laid out all the plans and details of the project, and they thought, ‘Wow, it's good to do the things with someone who has the total knowledge of what needs to be done,'" he says. "It's been 16 years now, and the project is there and functioning and helping people."

Helping people help themselves is Bishnu's main objective. He says what he doesn't want to do is create dependency -- a cycle he has seen all too long in many parts of his country.

"The present need for eradicating poverty in the developing countries is to help them generate revenue through their resources," he says. "It's good that someone who has resources, they can come in and help. But every generation goes and helps, and they continue to receive it, and these people continue to donate; that's not the model that's going to work."

For his amazing work Bishnu was recently named Choice Humanitarian of the Year. Due to his leadership, Bishnu has brought a model of sustainable development to 133 villages in Nepal.

Bishnu will continue his work and has no plans of stopping, especially with the exciting news that his parents' village received electricity earlier this year.

Bishnu is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was a guest of honor at the Church's recent general conference.

E-mail: kaiken@ksl.com

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