Among the evocative winning photos in the World Bank’s recent “Picture Inequality” contest was one that hit home for me.
It shows a skinny teenager crushing stones so they could be used to construct gravel roads in Nepal. The picture captured the sense of helplessness many youth feel in Nepal, a landlocked country in South Asia that is struggling to recover from a decade-long civil war. And it brought to mind the saying a photograph is worth a thousand words.
The photographer, Niraj Prasad Koirala, 24, of Nepal, was one of 10 winners whose photographs and statements best captured inequality and described how they would make a better world. Koirala’s photo was one of 11 chosen by a panel of experts from 756 photos received between October 25 and December 16, 2012.
"I was very happy when I got to read the winning message from the World Bank. It was my one of the greatest moments in life," says Koirala.
Koirala, who has also blogged for YouThink! in the past, is a graduate student at Tribhuvan University, Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Chitwan, a district known for Chitwan National Park, Nepal's first national park. He studies economics and rural sociology. "I chose to study agricultural science because agriculture is the major source of Nepalese economy and improvement in Nepalese agriculture is necessary for progress of this republic," he says.
Koirala considers himself lucky to be able to attend graduate school in Nepal, where the literacy rate is only 60%, according to the World Bank. He says children who are the pillars of any nation should not be left to crush stones. By submitting this photo, he hoped to raise awarness of dire need of investment in education in Nepal, where gross national per capita income is just $540. As a Nepali myself, I'm actuely aware of the need for sustainable investment in the education sector in Nepal.
Koirala has been working independently to help increase poor children’s access to education. He hopes to raise funds and mobilize youth to help underpriviliged children attend school.
It's a great goal. Not just the government but everyone, including youth, can act in their own capacity to help increase access to education.
Youthink! congratulates Koirala on his accomplishment and wishes him the best in his endeavor to help poor children get an education in Nepal.