Adhikaar: Stories of Help at a Fundraiser

At the Adhikaar June 8 event. (Photo via Everest Times)

A hall in the Fifth Avenue building was fully occupied. Though there were a few Nepalese, there were also numerous people from different countries. During the program, people suffering different problems in Nepalese society here shared their stories.

When they told about their suffering, the audience grew emotional. People sharing their stories also said that Adhikaar [the Queens-based organization that works to help the Nepalese community here] had helped them face their problems. “When I was going through a difficult time after I got injured at work, Adhikaar stood for me and helped me a great deal,” said Mingmar Sherpini of New York. “If it was not for Adhikaar, I might not have received assistance and compensation for my temporary disability.” On hearing that not only women like her, but men are also equally being helped by Adhikaar, the people present were all pleased.

Likewise Pabitra Dash shared the suffering and experiences of women working in the nail salons. She said: “It is difficult to work in nail salons. The chemicals we use at work always affect our health. Understanding this problem, the contribution led by Adhikaar in raising objections to the relevant [government] department is something I really appreciate.” She also said that she was delighted to be speaking on behalf of thousands of nail technicians because of Adhikaar.

“The work done by Adhikaar in helping Nepalese here in America be qualified for Temporary Protected Status after the earthquake of 2015 is very praiseworthy work,” said program assistant Maya Gurung. Speaking to about 200 representatives from different organizations, they shared the stories of struggles of people working in nail salons and people affected by domestic violence. In order to share these stories, Adhikaar had organized the “Spring for Justice” June 8 event and fundraising campaign, which raised $70,000.

According to Narbada Chhetri, Adhikaar’s director of organizing and advocacy, dozens of organizations donated money from as little as $100 to as much as $500. “Because of our support and service for the people suffering in different sectors, everyone admires our work,” said Chhetri. “Rights do not belong to any race, religion or gender, and are meant to be equal for all. We have been able to serve people.”

According to her, in addition to running English language classes, Adhikaar has been helping people to get jobs and also helping those who have been cheated at their work get justice. She added that Adhikaar has been assisting in the population census of America, and also raised $112,000 for the earthquake-affected people of Nepal.

Dozens of organizations have been helping Adhikaar in its objectives. She also shared that they have nine full-time staff members, and two part-timers. “My work is to advocate for the rights of people. However, my responsibilities exclude financial roles,” said Chhetri. It’s said that in New York a lot of Nepalese call her Narbada didi (meaning older sister) and share their sorrow and pain with her.

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