Lockdown Hero: Dinesh Khadka
The compassion and generosity of one man helped over 800 recently arrived students get through lockdown. That man was the President of the Nepalese Society of Auckland, Dinesh Khadka.
The students, some who had just arrived in New Zealand days earlier, were in trouble. Many didn’t know Auckland at all and were lost and disorientated. They were yet to make friends and establish support networks. Many also depended on part time jobs and the jobs disappeared overnight.
Asking for help doesn’t come naturally to most young Asians, brought up in a culture of not to bother seniors. Dinesh reached out through Facebook, digged deep in his own pocket, and set about organising and funding food parcels for them all.
Says Dinesh, ‘I was so busy, driving my van all over the place picking up groceries, filling the food pack boxes, and then heading out on delivery runs. I delivered around 70 packs a day and worked till 10 or midnight every day.
The students took the boxes and there was real happiness in their eyes. Some were crying, others took pictures they could share with their parents back home. They were just so pleased.”
"It was so worth it. I can’t explain it in words."
Each food pack consisted of non-perishable supplies that would last them for two weeks, each pack for two people. Most students came back for a second box, and some a third, so they really was a massive need.
‘I took risk myself but in my heart I had to. I live with my parents and mother in law, -all over 70, and so they were vulnerable. But I told them someone has to go and help these young people and I’d strictly observe social distancing.’
Dinesh runs a cleaning business but during lockdown that, of course, was closed. With no work and his own funds rapidly running out, he had to find other funding, so he went around to ask for help. He rang many people and there were some good Samaritans who responded to his call. Finally when the funding scheme was made available, he applied for some money and was able to continue.
After the move to Level 2 most of the students were able to support themselves again. And they could leave their homes which gave them the chance to make new friends and contacts. They could finally start their new life which had been on hold for 6 weeks.
Dinesh understood they would feel lost and bewildered in a new country and understood their funding issues. Despite his own lockdown difficulties, he had to help. For Dinesh, it was something he had to do.
National Volunteer Week is a time to showcase the many individuals that came together, like Dinesh, to support their local communities, Who was your Dinesh Khadka in your community?
If you want to help others or a cause take a look at our current volunteering opportunities to help make a difference in your community. Or if you are a non-profit organisation and need some helpers, you can find out how to add your volunteer listings here. For corporates, take a look at our employee volunteering programme to see how we can help your team help the community. Otherwise, feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.
Te Hua o te Mahi Tahi - The benefit of working together