BY ALYSSA MAHADEO
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Those words spoken by the highly revered philosopher, Mahatma Gandhi has become an inspiring motto utilized by humanitarians everywhere as fuel that allows them to take action and give back to the world around us.
Living in a country like Canada, we are privileged to a certain standard of living. Through charity organizations and fundraisers hosted in the community, it has been brought to our attention that there are places in the world less fortunate than we are who struggle to develop and sustain their communities, because they do not have the means to help themselves.
During a trip to Guyana, Nirmala Ramprasad came by a run down old building that had been built back in the day by her Grandfather. The building located in Leonora, Guyana had been a central pillar of the town and had been previously utilized as a community center. The building had long since been shut down due to safety concerns, but Nirmala saw potential for the old building and decided to take action and bring new life to the community.
When she arrived back in Canada Nirmala came to her three friends, Jasmine Sukhu, Rhea Bhim and Keisha Singh to propose the idea of what she would like to do. As students Nirmala and her friends always took part in fundraising and raising awareness for various causes in school. This presented them with the opportunity to carry out their own cause and so in 2013 together they founded The Green Dupatta Charity Organization.
The Green Dupatta Charity Organization is focused on community building and urban development. The Green Dupatta strives to provide communities around the world with the means to sustainable agriculture. Through their efforts they hope to build, create and restore communities by providing them with the means to grow and flourish on their own. The green represents the environmental work and sustainability while the dupatta represents something that is all encompassing and global. “Essentially what we would like to do for these communities is to help people, help themselves,” explains Nirmala.
Through a variety of fundraising initiatives the organization hopes to create urban gardens and restore communal infrastructure in communities all around the world.
Their projects will be youth based, which means that they are both created and executed by students or recent graduates. In addition to international work, The Green Dupatta intends to educate youth on the importance of sustainable energy and the creation of a global community.
Currently most of their focus has started with their first major project in community of Leonora, Guyana. The Green Dupatta Charity has opted to raise the funds required to renovate and restore the community center to its former glory. This building is an imperative part of the community and it is in dire need of repair. Upon completion this center will not only be used as place for community gatherings, but also as the local temple, and a place to host after school developmental programs. This past August Nirmala took a trip down Guyana to start the initial renovations, but there is still much to be done with regards to repainting, replacing parts of the building and purchasing new furniture and appliances.
The Green Dupatta hopes to take their efforts worldwide, fulfilling the needs of communities throughout the world and providing them with stable, sustainable developments and agriculture through the creation of green rooms, and development of rural areas, allowing these communities to have something they can call their own.
The process involved in getting her charity registered is long and tedious, but well worth the wait. While undergoing the process she has learned a lot and it has only provided her with the persistence she needs to keep going, and doing what is right. At only 23 years old, Nirmala currently works as a Behavioral Therapist, working with children with disabilities. She was recently crowned as Miss WI Canadian 2015 in October, and hosted a fundraising gala for her charity where they managed to raise $7,500 towards the completion of the project in Guyana. Nirmala has dedicated much of her time into seeing this project through, taking off time from school, and making regular trips to Guyana to check on progress. In the future she hopes to run her organization full-time, leaving her positive mark on the world of today.