Meet Avi Rai and Darshan Shakya, managers at Child Welfare Scheme (CWS), an NGO that provides education, protection, and vocational guidance to disadvantaged Nepalese youth. Both of Nepalese heritage, Avi and Darshan have a long history together. Their friendship goes back to their days living in Singapore, where they were roommates. They even played in a band together — Avi on lead guitar and Darshan on rhythm.
After moving to Hong Kong, Avi was the first to arrive at CWS. He joined the team in 2011 to help with marketing and event management. Darshan followed just a few years later, starting as a volunteer, joining shortly after the devastating April 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Now, the duo works collaboratively, organizing fundraising events to support operations on the ground.
Not only do Avi and Darshan work to improve the futures of disadvantaged children in Nepal, but they also host events commemorating the legacy of the Nepalese community here in Hong Kong.
The Gurkha Trailblazer is a trail race named after the Nepalese soldiers who were stationed in Hong Kong, beginning in the 1960s. Known for their exceptional bravery, Gurkha soldiers protected Hong Kong’s borders for several decades, and many of their children still live here today – including Avi, whose father and both of his grandfathers were Gurkhas.
Avi and Darshan now work with CWS and Gurkha Cemeteries Trust to host this annual event. The route takes runners through areas that were once training grounds for Gurkha soldiers. The race even won the “Best New Race” award at the 2018 Gonerunning Hong Kong Trail Running Awards. Through organizing the Gurkha Trailblazer, Avi and Darshan are honoring their shared cultural history.
They bring the Nepalese community together in Hong Kong while serving Nepalese children in need through fundraising for programs like CWS’s Child Friendly Schools.
ACS is grateful to be able to work with people like Avi and Darshan who share a passion for serving their community. To find out about CWS’ upcoming event, visit: www.gurkhatrailblazer.com.
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