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LIVING FOR A CAUSE – SAURAV RIMAL

by Ankita Jain

Another day, another 150-200 mouths for Saurav Rimal to feed. Initially Saurav used to prepare food and feed around 20-30 street animals since the first lockdown. Gradually he started appealing for help on social media and in collaboration with Dalle and K Foundation Global started distributing food for scores of street animals.

Even during the nationwide stay-at-home order, he used to venture out to drop off the meals at various places around the capital.

Founder of Discovery City, Saurav is an immense animal lover looking after Kathmandu’s hundreds of free-roaming dogs, many of which couldn’t find food during the world’s largest lockdown to stop the spread of Covid 19. With shops and restaurants shuttered during those times the canines’ main source of sustenance – garbage scraps and leftovers – was gone. “When the lockdown started over a year ago, I witnessed that stray dogs were starving and then and there I decided to help the street animals in the Kathmandu. I feed more than 150 street dogs twice on a daily basis,” he shares.

During the lockdown, Saurav got himself issued with a “feeder pass” that would permit him to leave his house to care for street animals such as dogs, cows, birds, and monkeys. “The feeder pass allowed many people to feed street animals during the lockdown because without that aid, large numbers of animals would suffer and die,” he states.

Saurav has a team of volunteers now who channelise the distribution of food to the street animals in different corners of the city. “The street dogs have become “friendly” with the volunteers which could be immensely helpful in taking these creatures for sterilisation programmes in the future,” he shares.

Activists like Saurav have found one bright spot. The Coronavirus pandemic’s effect on street animals has increased the general public’s awareness on animal plight—a gain that animal advocates hope will persist long after the health crisis is over.

Besides the animals, Saurav also took an initiative to provide food and other essentials to daily wage workers, deprived communities, LGBTQIA+ communities, pregnant women, postnatal women and waste management workers in Kathmandu, Dhulikhel and Pokhara. “I saw a daily wage labourer in the worst condition during the lockdown and my heart ached for him. I immediately arranged essentials for him. This way one needy led to another and we proudly helped more than 5,000 people from different communities,” he shares.

Saurav who was always involved in social work in one way or the other received immense support from friends and family during the lockdown. “They contributed and I was able to bring smiles on the faces of many,” he says. He also tested positive for Covid 19 during the second wave. “I tested negative after 16 days of isolation and treatment. On day 17, I was on the road feeding dogs,” he smiles.

Saurav believes every child is entitled to education and to support this, he has been a regular contributor to Indrawati School in Sindhupalchowk. He has been providing the school with stationeries over some years now. “It fills my heart to see my little contribution bringing joy to many kids,” she shares.

When floods hit with heavy rains brought fear and destruction to Sindhupalchowk, Saurav raised Rs 7.5 lakhs for flood victims. “I visited the site and distributed basic needs to the people. The condition of people there were devastating,” he says.

Young people like Saurav are the ones at the frontline of answering people’s distress call every time there has been a national need. Saurav works with a focused intention to give and make a difference. His are the breed of people that will ultimately champion humanity.

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