HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Early 20’s — what did you do when you were this age? Partied till you dropped, busy with studies (a very few population is the guess), sneaked out of the house to be at a friend’s place...? Well no one will penalise you if you were/are in this state, but there are some who grow past this at a very young age. No judging though, it’s always nice to know that no matter what, people care about others, which at this age thinking beyond ‘yourself’ is quite difficult.
But three young men Juho Leppanen, 23, Mikael Hautala, 22 and Rico Pirklen 22 from Finland broke the tradition and set an example for the youth. They covered 20,000 km on a 10 year old mail delivery van from Tempere, Finland to Kathmandu beginning their journey on August 2 and ending it on August 26. Their objective was to raise funds and collect money for Fida International, one of 23 Finnish NGOs supporting development projects in Nepal. Fida International supports government and community schools in Dhanusha, Mahottari, Nuwakot and Sarlahi districts. And on August 31 the Embassy of Finland organised a press conference to highlight the cause and the journey.
So why was this step taken to raise funds? “I was in Nepal in 2010 to take photographs. I was in Janakpur and saw children in school. The condition was bad and I thought they deserve better and I wanted to help,” answers Leppanen. Along with him Hautala and Pirklen joined for the trip and Misa Jokisalo joined with the group in
But why a road trip and how will you raise funds? This is an obvious question when you hear about their quest to which Leppanen responds, “to get noticed we had to do some crazy and this was it.” Further Hautala clears about the raising fund aspect, “there are advertisements on the van, we sell advertisement space in our blogs and will soon sell Facebook status updates.”
And all this was not an overnight plan, it took them two months to plan this, though if next time they plan such a trip “we will make sure to plan a year ahead and get sponsors beforehand,” adds Hautala.
This was not an easy trip though, they faced many problems, but they morphed it into adventure by not complaining. They journeyed through eight counties — Helsinki in Finland, St Petersburg Moscow and Kazan in Russia, Astana in Kazakhtan, Sishkek in Kirgizstan, Kashgar in China and Gilgit in Pakistan. That’s not all with this trip they have guaranteed a sum of Rs 10 million for the projects. And when they return home “we will sell the video of this trip in Finland,” mentions Leppanen.
Who would have thought something like this was
possible, but if you set your mind to something, you can achieve it!