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“The work I do today is inspired by the challenges I saw growing up.”

Ravi Kumar is the founder of Code for Nepal, a non-profit that works to digitally empower Nepal by increasing digital literacy and the use of open data. He has been named in the Forbes 30 Under 30’s list of social entrepreneurs in Asia. He recently launched https://nepalmap.org to put Nepal’s data at everyone’s fingertips. Ravi has a Master of Science degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Buena Vista University, USA. Ravi lives and works in Washington D.C, with his wife. Here are the five things that have impacted his work and life:

My parents

Like many, my parents migrated from a village to a town in southern Nepal so that I could get an education. With virtually little to no education, and with meager financial resources, they did all they could to ensure their kids had the best education possible. We never had T.V. in our house but we had books to do homework. My mother, especially through her actions, showed me the value of hard work, and the importance of long-term thinking. The work I do today is inspired by the challenges I saw growing up. After moving to the United States, I have thought about my experiences growing up and whenever I face a challenge, I think about my parents who live in Nepal.

My wife

My wife is one of the smartest and kindest people I know. My wife and I founded Code for Nepal in 2014 to help young women and men become digitally literate. She has also inspired me to read and write more. So far this year, I have read 27 books. And because she likes my cooking, I also cook more often at home. I am also healthier now because of her. I used to work out in the gym and swim. Now, I’m practicing for my first race because my wife has been running and inspired me to run too.

My professors

When I first came to the United States for college, I did not speak English well and did not have any contacts. As someone who grew up in Janakpur without T.V. and radio, I did not know much about the world. Professors in college and graduate school were very kind to me and believed in my potential. They challenged me to excel academically. They continue to mentor me today. I am grateful to the professors who believed in me even when I did not believe in myself.

Books

I enjoy reading non-fiction books. I always have at least one book on my desk to read. At times, books can be your best friend. As I have read about the history of Nepal and the world, I am regularly inspired.

Volunteers

Over the last 10 years, I have founded two non-profits. I have seen how a group of passionate volunteers can help people. Young Nepalis around the world are dedicated, reliable and persistent in their determination to improve the state of our country. I have been grateful to work with them to rebuild schools and help survivors of earthquakes and floods. Because of many inspiring volunteers, we were able to launch https://nepalmap.org to make data about Nepal accessible and understandable to everyone who has access to the Internet.

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