Sachin Dangi, 18
In 2016, Sachin Dangi, from Kathmandu, Nepal, founded the Teenage Society of Nepal (TSN) with the intention of empowering teens to give back and take responsibility for society. Realizing that virtual meetings and creating awareness were not enough, TSN started meeting on Saturdays in public parks to discuss attainable projects they could implement to make society a better place to live.
Dangi loves the freedom and limitless creativity that writing provides. He writes about his activism and other pursuits and has been published online by www.myrepublica.com and www.ascnepal.org.
Dangi has been named Glocal’s 2017 Teen Hero Nepal, awarded for his humanitarian work with the Nepal Scouts providing aid after the 2015 Nepal earthquake. He was also a National Delegate of Nepal for the 2018 UN Economic and Social Council Youth Forum in New York. He is deeply interested in utilizing science for the betterment of society and loves physics, soccer, and coffee, followed closely by his favorite album, November Rain by Guns and Roses.
Illumination in Mayhem
By Sachin Dangi
The day was as conventional as it could be. The sun was sparkling. An unmistakable blue sky filled up the horizon above and a lot of people walking below. I walked the boulevards of New-Baneshowr to return home. No one in this boulevard knew me. No one to ask who was I or where was I going. Everyone was busy discovering their way through the hordes of hundreds of people with thousands of dreams to reach their destination. Among them there walked I, an unimportant piece of boulevard.
The following day, 25th of April 2015, around 11 in the morning, and earthquake of 7.8 magnitude shook Nepal. The sky turned dark and dim, the sun was nowhere to be seen, the dead numbers accelerated, buildings fell apart, and suddenly the land of peace was in chaos.
That same evening, I walked the boulevards of New-Baneshowr once again. This time, everything was different. The lanes were heaped up with smashed glasses, dead animals, and the sound of silence. The hordes of people whom I had to jostle to find a way through yesterday were nowhere to be seen. Some of them were dead, some were left impaired, and the vast majority of them had changed their dream. From the dream of scoring higher grades in exams or being a doctor or engineer to the dream of surviving the chaos and the dream to live normal life once again.
It was evening. Everybody in my locality had emptied their home and was living in an open field. Living there was like as a big feast. Everyone had brought cooking materials, tents, and foods from home.
I sat down and glanced around to society regrouping to see trust working back after such tremor. I saw how nature could bring unity in such diverse people in such little time. Every time I realized this fact, a smile rose up in my traumatized face. Dad told me, “We will sleep here tonight. Tomorrow, if it is safe, we will return home.” I believed him. I still remember I spent that entire night envisioning how the building a couple yards away could fall and kill me in a hundred different ways.
The next day brought up the same old atmosphere. The shockwaves came continuously. None of us could return home. Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 … It was the same routine. Same place with the same people and nothing work to do, but with each passing day the circumstances became more difficult. The food was not enough for everyone. There was always a jostle among us to charge our mobiles. The big feast, which I used to call it back then, was turning out to be chaos. The unity among us got weaker due to limitation of resources and the strong will of individuals to survive as “I,” which became more prominent than “WE.”
I got call from my Scout Crew. I was to be part of the Earthquake Rescue Team. I knew it was time to let go of fear and troubles. Being the only child of my family, it was hard to convince my mother to let me leave during time of such tremor. She did not want me to leave. But I knew what choice I had to make.
Soon I was wearing a helmet, gloves, and uniform and carrying a shovel, rope, and light. We cleared the roads. We took out belongings of people from fading houses. We build up tents for the homeless. We brought up hopes and happiness in faces of people. That made me realize how important it is to help.
The earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015 left behind not only a lot of casualties and destruction, but also a lot of things to learn from. It taught me about the survival instinct of humans. It taught me about the social walls that we build up that keep us apart. It taught me that there is always an easy way and a hard way. The easy way is to go with the flow and be the victim, the harder way is to stand up, help others, learn, move forward, and be the volunteer that everyone looks for during times of crisis.