Empowering Young Lives
True to her namesake, Luna Shrestha Thakur has been shining bright in the darkest parts of the recesses of systemic unemployment and disempowerment among youths in Nepal. She is the Founding Director of Change Fusion Nepal, an organisation that promotes social entrepreneurship opportunities for underprivileged Nepalese youths. Top 10 Lifestyle gets up close and personal with this dynamic author and activist whose desire to make a difference in her nation burns fiercely in her.
Born on April 28th, 1977 in Kathmandu, Nepal, Luna Shrestha Thakur was already a freedom loving person with a strong independent mind since her childhood days. ‘’My urge to go beyond the labels of the society of what an idealist girl should do; study, then have a career, then get married and have kids and then die, led me to the path of self-exploration. I wanted to travel, meet different people and evolve from experiences; so after I completed my high school, I went abroad, took up hotel management and travelled to as many countries as I could,’’ says Luna.
It was during that stage of her exploration that opened her spiritual eyes and ears to the challenges and misconceptions that young Nepalese youths face. ‘’No person or place is perfect; so I penned my first book especially for the youths in my country because at times, we tend to feel that the grass is somehow always greener on the other side.” Her book entitled ‘A Journey to the Self’ was so well received in Nepal that it sealed her place as a sought-after keynote speaker addressing youth issues in various parts of the country.
A major challenge in trying to spearhead the vision of Change Fusion Nepal was introducing the concept of social entrepreneurship in a nation during a time where numerous NGOs were also seeking funding for developmental work. ‘’The down side of this is that the work will continue as long as there are funds available and the day the donor stops giving is the day the project comes to a halt. To address the need for sustainable economic opportunities that cater to the huge populations under the poverty line, social entrepreneurship was the right answer to bring together innovation, income and impact,‘’ she explains. Needless to say, the task to shift mindsets to becoming more self sufficient and revenue generating models became her priority.
When asked about what she considers to be her greatest achievement in life, Luna relates a heart-wrenching story about a young girl who was sexually abused while taking the local transportation and was defenceless because she could not see. Luna initiated a specially designed ‘Fight Back’ programme that taught and trained visually impaired girls to protect themselves against physical and emotional attacks. To have empowered these girls in a small way has brought great joy and meaning to her life.
Her journey and focus for now is set in establishing social entrepreneurship movers and shakers and to build a community that can network with one another. Today, Luna Shrestha Thakur continues to bring the much needed light and freedom into the lives of young Nepalese, expanding boundaries and establishing new frontiers of hope never before experienced by them.