By Sneha Shrestha, Advancing Leader Fellow 2013, SIT Study Abroad 2009
It is an honor to receive the Advancing Leaders Fellowship. I am very excited to be working toward establishing Nepal’s first Children’s Art Museum (NCAM). The vision of NCAM is to encourage children’s appreciation of their culture, promote self-expression, and enhance their education through hands-on art experiences.
I am an artist, and I am convinced that art can be a big part of social change! I spent almost three years working in Boston as a professional artist, sharing my art with the city and mentoring inner city teens in painting. In 2009, influenced by my own art abilities and experiences traveling abroad through SIT, I was inspired to build a library in Kathmandu with the Projects for Peace grant, and I’ve financially sustained it by illustrating and writing an award-winning book.
Now I am starting NCAM. This project is very close to my heart, because growing up in Nepal, art was never allowed to be a priority in my life and it’s still the same way for most children. We can change this!
News about NCAM is already spreading through Kathmandu. Last weekend, I was painting a mural in Gairidhara, Kathmandu. Many people stopped by to talk to me, and I was able to tell everyone about the museum. What’s even better is that I got a chance to talk about NCAM in an interview about my artwork with the national daily newspaper!
One of the biggest accomplishments so far has been forming an official partnership with a private progressive learning school in Kathmandu. Samadarshi Vidhya Mandir School has my award winning book, Search for New Clean Home, as part of their first and second grade curriculum. When the school heard that I received the fellowship, I was invited to share the good news with their children, and read my book to them as well. I’m so excited to have their full support! Partnering with schools is vital to the success of my project.
I invite you to be part of my new and daring project. Please send me your questions and comments. With your support and input, we can change the lives of children in Nepal!
Join the Advancing Leaders Fellows in making a difference by donating to the Fellowship program. Your support changes the lives of our alumni and the communities they serve. And be sure to follow Sneha on Twitter and on this blog as she develops her project in the coming months. You can also email her directly about the project at email@example.com.