SURYA KARKI, the founder of Diyalo Foundation, also made it to the Forbes list in the category “social entrepreneurs”. Born in a rural area, Surya Karki got an opportunity to study in Kathmandu. He did so well in his studies that he went to the United World College in Venezuela on two years scholarship in an agricultural program. He co-found Maya Universe Academy (MUA) in 2011 and later co-founded Diyalo Foundation to address the poor educational situation of our country, mainly in rural area.
How you define dreams?
Dreams: Ideals and wishful thinking that shape and define a person.
Dream to make a better Nepal wakes me up every day and gives my inner self a continuous drive to put the advancement of Nepal in the forefront. Basically, dreams (be it to live one more day, accomplish a task, or to do big things) shape a person’s perception. They are vital in driving change around a person and his surroundings.
What do you hope to accomplish as a founder of ‘Diyalo Foundation’?
It’s simple - to live my dream of a better tomorrow for me, my people in Sankhuwasabha, Gulmi, and Nepal by investing in schools, proper electricity, and improved agricultural methods for increased farming production in rural Nepal, to create a sustained economic development.
What do you believe are some of your biggest accomplishments?
The biggest accomplishment has been to see more than 1000 children and counting with a secure future through our schools and to have farmers believe we can collaborate with them to help them increase their economic status through agriculture. You know, it is satisfying when we see people believe in our ability to deliver on their expectations, expectations that there is going to be quality education and economic opportunities even in rural Nepal.
How has your life changed after being listed in Forbes? Has it inspired to achieve more?
First and foremost, I am glad to be one of the 5 Nepali's putting Nepal as a hub for innovation, solution, and entrepreneurship rather than a our traditional identity of being a poor country needing aid or a country known for its mountains.
While the Forbes listing is definitely pushing me to do more, I along with our team have previously been awarded by the Prince of Wales, International Youth Foundation, and recently by the Asia Foundation. We hope young Nepali (reading this interview and others who have read about us) will consider coming to rural Sankhuwasabha and Gulmi to work with us. Oh one more thing, awards and recognitions were not and will not be our primary focus but they are always good to put our organization and the country more prominently out in the world.
Tell us about your future plans?
My plan is to help Nepal, Nepalis, Nepali politicians, and Nepali businesses to plan better and dream bigger. I want to create at least 10,000 jobs in the private and social entrepreneurship sector of Nepal by 2025. Is it possible? Oh well... I did not ever think building and running schools was impossible. People thought farming was a bad sector and I thought farming was an opportunity gone to waste. So, in the next year or so, I hope to launch a venture while also focusing on sustaining and growing the already existing ones.
What is social entrepreneurship in your words?
Social entrepreneurship is simple – creation of solutions to social problems (could be poverty, health care, education, transport, you name it) without being completely donor dependent or a private company that only focuses on profit generation. It is a method of creating opportunities for the people living a social problem through an implementation of a solution that is people centric, bottom-up, and with immense prospects of replication and growth.
Social entrepreneurship has been a dream of million Nepalis these days, what would be your suggestion and message to them?
Firstly, until you act on your thought process, you will not know whether your idea works or not, or whether your dream can become real. So get out of thought mode and take a risk to implement.
Secondly, recognize that you are not alone in this journey. Seek help and mentorship, and dream big, start small and grow sustainably. If you fail once, get up, analyze, and fail again, but get up again and make it work.
Nepal needs you, more than she ever did. Let’s stop complaining (for real) and do our part (it could be anything, from simply picking up a wrapper on the street or putting up dustbins around the city to launching a company) in making our nation prosperous.