Newsletter Vol 01 No. 01
August 15 - Septembert 14, 2016

Social Business in Dolpo: The journey of beginning

“Would you like to come with me?” was the question posed out of the blue to Rigjin by a man whom he had always respected. It was no surprise that Rigjin was struck by this question for a while, as it was posed by a man visiting Dolpa and who was no other than Mr. Binod Chaudhary. The state of perplexity surrounded him. When Rigjin heard about Mr. Chaudhary and his team’s visit to Dolpa, he decided to travel from his village and camp overnight to meet them. Former Army Chief Rukmand Katwal, Forbes CEO Michael Perlis and his wife, Vice President of the Group, Mr. Moon Lee and few others were the group accompanying the man whom Rigjin always dreamt of meeting. It was astonishing for Rigjin to meet two of the inspirational figures, Mr. Chaudhary and Mr. Katwal, whose autobiography he had read. “It was opportunity for me to meet the people, whom I had only met in pages of books, in person,” said Rigjin. “I could never miss such an opportunity and that is the reason I decided to camp and travel to meet them.”

Rigjin just couldn’t connect the dots when he was offered an opportunity to participate in Entrepreneurship training by a business man like Mr. Binod Chaudhary. Given Mr. Chaudhary’s reputation for his progressive mind and social contributions, Rigjin just wasn’t going to miss this opportunity to go to Kathmandu with Mr.

Chaudhary and his Team and train with CG Nepal Social Business. CG Nepal Social Business would provide Rigjin with a well structured training on Hotel Management. And after the completion of the training, Rigjin would go back and start training people in his village on how to run the hotels in a professional way. The idea behind this project first came to Mr. Chaudhary last September when he was trekking from Rara Lake to Lake Phoksundo with his team. There, mesmerized by the beauty that the region had to provide, Mr. Chaudhary realized the possibilities of developments in this region through tourism. Trekking in silence, Mr. Chaudhary was touching on the topic of potential tourism prospects in this region; and in this contemplation, Mr. Chaudhary was trying to find the perfect solution to the lodging problems in this region.

Mr. Chaudhary believes that involvement of the locals in sustainable and substantial development of a region is the most integral, and the project planner should always look for ways to provide opportunities to the locals. Now, Rigjin is working hard and non-stop in the training program held at the Hotel summit where Chaudhary Group has a stake. Few months from now, Rigjin will be going to Dolpa to train several other trainees who will be engaged in an Eco-lodge project, a project under CG Nepal Social Business.

Although raised in a family with a background on hospitality and tourism, Rigjin was never interested in his hotel business, which his father had started long before Rigjin was born. On this topic Rigjin said, “Perhaps hotels that were ran by the local lack the entrepreneurship skill because the owners are not exposed to these set of idea. And as I like things done in efficiency and with a professional manner, I accepted this opportunity because I really envisioned the dream set up by Nepal Social Business. The idea that I would be training other villagers in Hotel Business is the snap that carried me to Kathmandu and have training in Hotel Management.”

Rigjin passed his SLC exam from a community school and finished his high school with scholarship. He was interested in Charter Accounting, but unfortunately he could not complete the CA school due to his financial limit. When he could not pursue his further studies, he returned to his village to help his family business. But little did he know about his encounter with Mr. Chaudhary, which changed his life. “The meeting with Mr.Chaudhary is the turning point of my life. I will help establish Eco-lodge with entrepreneurship opportunities provided by Nepal Social Business. The concept of Eco-lodge is going to sustain the natural beauties of Dolpa region and it will create a pathway to economic prosperity. “If I would be able to help my community and develop Dolpa region via tourism, then that would be as equal as pursuing my dream of becoming a Chartered Accountant.” said Rigzin.

Like most places in Nepal, Dolpa is blessed with tremendous beauties by nature. However, lack of proper lodges for tourist, proper sanitation and ensuring healthy environment has caused a low inflow of tourist in this region, compared to other places. Difficult landscape and accessibility of roads and limited airlines service are main challenges for development of Dolpa. Collective difficulties like these have always put Dolpa under the darkness even when there are tons of resources.

When Chaudhary Group partnered with Lions Club International to establish CG Nepal Social Business, they aimed to tackle the social issues of Nepal through social entrepreneurship. The organization works with Lions Club, in close coordination, in mid-western and far western region districts of Nepal. “We had already started working in Jumla district but we were not able to reach Dolpa. Our project mostly includes social awareness, incubation and investment activities, and they have already been initiated in these regions,” saidMerina Ranjit, the COO of Chaudhary Foundation. “To introduce Social Business and mitigate social issues in Dolpa, we will be working together with locals and our partners. Our objective is to establish Eco-lodge in the route of Jufal Airport to Lake Phoksundo. We already have published the expression of interest call and have received 15 individuals interested, and we are currently working to select suitable and qualified investors for this project.” Going back to Rigjin, who dreams of developing his region, his project has just started and in the journey there are many Rigjins to be met and trained for the betterment of this region.