Founder, Stories of Nepal
Every human has a story waiting to be told. Jay Poudyal, Founder of Stories of Nepal, listens to the unspoken stories of thousands of Nepalis from rural parts of the country and captures some moments of their life on camera and portrays them to the world.
Poudyal believes that people, irrespective of their culture, status or background, have stories of struggle, success, hope and aspirations that can become a meaningful interaction through social media like Facebook.
Starting out as a photographer, Poudyal was immensely inspired by ‘Humans of New York’, a photography project started in New York with an initial goal of photographing 10,000 New Yorkers. “I have always enjoyed and adored the idea of Humans of New York,” he shares.
The concept of Stories of Nepal started when Poudyal was fighting alcohol addiction. One day, while walking in his neighbourhood, he came across a boy at a tea stall. Poudyal says, “His story intrigued me.” Soon after, he began visiting different places in Kathmandu to spend time and listen to the tales of the locals. He then decided to travel the country collecting heart-warming stories from every nook and corner.
Initially, Poudyal wanted to name his Facebook page ‘Humans of Nepal’ but settled for ‘Stories of Nepal’. At present, the page has over half a million followers and the core idea is to narrate a story through photos. “It’s true that a picture speaks a thousand words but when we add a few words, you get an entirely different dimension to the story,” he states.
Not only has Poudyal been capturing stories, but he has also been helping people in need. During the earthquake in 2015, he was involved in many places providing people with shelter and food.
“As I post stories of individuals, people come forward to help those in need and I connect them. Connecting humans, sharing commonalities instead of finding differences is one of the main purposes of Stories of Nepal,” he says.
It has been almost a decade of collecting stories. He says, “At first it is difficult to make friends in a totally new place with complete strangers but later, it feels like I am leaving a piece of my heart behind. Stories of Nepal is not about glitter and glamour but raw emotions and real life incidents.”
Stories of Nepal is considered one of the most successful photo blogs in the country. The efforts of Poudyal has been recognised by many national and international media houses such as the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press and Mail Online. He is also the recipient of the IVLP Fellowship Ed Murrow Programme for Journalists. His work and Stories of Nepal have also been featured in BBC World, BBC Newsroom, Associated Press, LA Times and Yahoo.
Poudyal shares, “These stories are the human stories of struggle, hardship, hope, aspiration, societal observations and memories. It is all about connecting people to bring meaningful change, however small.”