“My heart is in my work and I can work tirelessly to help bring relief to the disadvantaged”
Juju Kaji Maharjan is a social activist and the founder of Heartbeat, a NGO that advocates and campaigns for the rights of street children. He did his undergraduate studies in Arts from Lalit Kala Campus and is currently pursuing his Masters degree in Fine Arts from Tribhuvan University. He is also pursuing Leadership Studies at Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego.
As a social activist, Maharjan has worked with World Vision, Paschim Paila, Activista Nepal, Youth for Public Transport, Hunger Free Campaign, and has been involved in many other street campaigns. He also has experience working as a theatre artist and installation artist.
From the very onset of the Covid 19 pandemic, Maharjan has been actively feeding the needy in many parts of the country besides raising funds and necessities for disadvantaged minors and women in distress.
In this edition of B360, Juju Kaji Maharjan shares with us the five things that have impacted his work and life.
My life is dedicated to service
It is said “Service to mankind is service to God”, I am always ready to help needy people. I have always been concerned about the struggles of others especially the need for food and warm clothes. I am worried about young boys and girls who are deprived of education. I dream that one day education will be accessible to all so that young minds can at least understand their rights and choose the path to self progress.
Personally and professionally, I have been raising voice for the helpless and homeless. I try and bridge the gap between the have and have not’s. I am able to do this through the generous support – financial and voluntary work – of people who believe in what I do. These efforts may be small but it brings hope to people going through difficult situations.
My father, my hero
The most influential people in my life are my parents, especially my father Hira Kaji Maharjan. They have always been a source of encouragement and support for my work and in my becoming who I am today. I belong to the Newar community where we have lots of responsibilities to work in teams and help each other in times of minor and major social activities. My father has been always an active member of the community and takes on social activities like cleaning the communal areas, construction of community schools and community hospitals. Observing his devotion to community work during my childhood inspired me to work for my nation and society selflessly.
All children deserve an education
When I started engaging in social activities, I got exposed to many good and bad social practices prevalent in society. I got the chance to empower women who were involved in drugs. My heart and mind cried for the children of women who are drug addicts. I also got the chance to work for women and children who were imprisoned for different criminal acts. Closer observation of homeless children made me stronger in my determination to advocate for their basic human rights such as food, clothes, shelter, education and health.
Heartbeat started its work as a group informally in 2006. We got registered with Social Welfare Council in 2009 with a team of young artists and social activists wanting to bring change in society through art and art activities.
My heart is in my work
As an undergraduate student at Lalit Kala Campus, I considered becoming a politician. Looking at the political situation in our country and witnessing protests on political issues around the campus premises because the country was going through so much instability, I ultimately realised that politics was beyond my ability.
I did not have any distinct high aim to achieve, however I always wanted to work for the needy. So, I started working from the grass root level for my community people. I have helped single women start businesses, pledge education sponsorship for community school students so that school dropout could be prevented, provided free school lunch, conducted Dream Centres (day care centre for the needy and for those students who lacked guidance from their parents), After School Programs (ASP) to upgrade education quality of poor students, among many other initiatives. My heart is in my work and I can work tirelessly to help bring relief to the disadvantaged.