Photo: Ashmita Kunwar responding to the questions Photo Courtesy: Kundan S. Rana
In our life, the things we always do in a daily basis are always similar. We come to college, eat, study, etc. During that time, there are things we want to know but we ignore it. We see people whose lives are worse than ours. We want to know how they live their life, how they fulfill their needs, do they send their children to study etc. There are many questions to which we want to get an answer. But we don't have enough courage to ask the right questions to the right people.
Ashmita Kunwar, a student of DWIT has shown that courage to ask the right questions to the right people. She has done what all the people wanted to do but never had enough guts to do it. She wrote an article "Life by the Road-Side: Nothing to Lose and Nothing to Gain” about a group of people who live by the road side. This is an interview of her regarding her article and her perspective about social works.
Q) Do you want to get awarded for the article?
No, I don't want to get awarded for the article. The comments that I have received from my readers is an award in itself.
Q) How did you feel after hearing the answer given by those people on the street?
It was difficult to approach and get an answer from them. They were ignoring my questions. However, slowly, I started getting close to them. Then, they started answering without hesitation. I felt happy while conversing with them because that was what I had planned to do once I got there - to get to learn more about them. I was getting to my goal and therefore, I was happy.
Q) Who do you think is happiness?
Each one of us have our own way of picturing the concept of cheerfulness. To me, those people who are satisfied with what they have and utilize most of what little they have in their life are the happiest people in the world. And as you know, recently, I explored about the life of street people. They do not have anything to gain or to lose and are happy with what they have. But in our case, we are never gratified. We want more and more; there is always an empty void in our life which never gets fulfilled. And along with it, we have a kind of fear that we could lose the things that we possess. This is how we are taught from the very beginning of our life; we cannot deny it. Therefore, I think that people living a simple life where there is nothing to worry about (like that of the street people that I have tried to picture in one of my articles), or the carefree people, are more happy in their life.
Q) Do you want to live a life like them ?
I am jealous of those carefree people knowing the kind of satisfaction that they have in their life. But, I am not content with the way they are living nor can I imagine myself living in their shoes. The core point is that I want to be happy and satisfied like them with what I have in my life. I am habituated in my own life style where I am taught to dream big, earn more and more in life and also to work hard which is very good. But sometimes, I feel incomplete because I was not taught to be thankful for my achievement . I want to learn from them about satisfaction in life. However, that does not mean that I will stop to do more in my life.
Q) How do you think we can help them?
There are different ways to help them. They become happy even if we give them our old clothes to cover their body. In fact, when I was about to return from their place, some of them asked me to bring more clothes next time. One woman asked me for bangles and others, for money to buy food. This is what they want for help from us. One lady even asked me for a place where she could work; a construction site where she could carry bricks and sands. It is not always possible to give them money as this will make them dependent. Instead, if they want to work, we should try to find some place to work for them. All the people there including the children and their parents are uneducated. If we really want to help them, we can teach their children. Nothing more, nothing less - no need to admit them in school but just make them capable to read simple words and write their name. I think this would be a very big help for now.
Q) Do you want to be a social worker ?
When someone asks this question to any of us, most of us answer "YES". I also say the same - a very big “YES”. But at first I want to be what I have dreamed to be in my life. And then, I want to make myself capable enough to help people. We know future is unpredictable; anything might happen to any of us at any time. So, I cannot guarantee that one day I will be a social worker, but if I become capable or reach my goal, I will for sure try to contribute some part of my life in social work to help people who deserve it. This is my dream and it sounds like selfish social work (hehehe ). “ Helping others by doing social work does not mean that in return you need to give up your personnel desires and dreams, you can take both side by side.” - this is the principle that I believe in.
Q) Who is your role model?
I get inspired by minute things of people. So, there is no one in particular. Even so, I think it needs to be someone who is popular or already a well established or well known person. If I have to pick someone specific, I would say “Malala Yousofaiza”. She is a brave girl who stood up for the right to education no matter what. I would also like to say, “Anuradha Koirala”. I name her as a god mother to all the girls who recover their life from hell.