On Nepal and Dream To Live

 

"...the idea of Dream To Live was to create a community where people can utilize their different skills and help raise funds for a common cause. "

A fashion design student, Ying Ying's trip to Nepal led her to combine her love of trekking and sense of altruism in Dream to Live, where volunteers can utilize their different skills and help reach out to less developed areas

Photo by Lynn Tachihara

Photo by Lynn Tachihara


One of the many backyard farms.

One of the many backyard farms.

Dream to Live started as a means of connecting the memories of a trek trip to our everyday city life. I went on a trekking trip in Nepal last year, to Annapurna base camp, at an altitude of 4,130m. Throughout the journey I felt liberated as city life felt smaller and less important. I was physically in a position from outside our everyday idiosyncrasies, to look back at our usual city life. The constant reminder that the villagers’ lives were holistically different from ours was like a kick in the gut.

People there find simple pleasures in ways we city dwellers seem to have forgotten. Children play with plants and flowers; teenagers play football among the bare fields. Cooking is done with basic equipment, and ingredients like vegetables and potatoes are plucked from their own backyards. They sleep in the evenings from 7pm when the sun begins to set, simply because there was nothing to do.

Being in the hectic fashion industry, I always feel trapped in such a commercial environment. My thoughts often wandered to seek out meaning and purpose from being in the industry. Coming to London to pursue further studies in the same line has not helped, but has only left me yearning for an escape of sorts, and this trip was the perfect break, it helped me see life with a different eye.

One of the villagers transporting construction materials from town into the mountains.

One of the villagers transporting construction materials from town into the mountains.

Since returning from the trip and telling my friends about it, I realized many were eager to be involved; they just did not know how to go about doing it. Thus, Dream To Live was set up to engage fellow city dwellers that are interested in trek trips and are keen in offering help to the villagers.

Our guide Santaman Tamang.

Our guide Santaman Tamang.

We kept in contact with our trek guide Santaman. He set up a school in his hometown with the help of a tourist Misha Kapushesky, who engaged Santaman’s trek guide services. A third school is currently in the works. Right now the two possible ways one could help was either to raise funds and donate, or to go over and teach the English language in the school for a year.

Many of my friends were keen to help, but the consensus was that they were more willing to offer short-term physical efforts than monetary ones. Therefore, the idea of Dream To Live was to create a community where people can utilize their different skills and help raise funds for a common cause. Current ideas are bake sales or consigning art works to raise funds.

The personal interactions I received while trying to set up Dream to Live provided more bouts of happiness and inspiration than anything else ever gave me. It was a project I constantly received support for, even from the least expected acquaintances, and gave me a reason for bringing people together. For example, in setting it up I needed extra help in running it alongside with me, and thanks to Facebook and word of mouth I managed to get three other beautiful people, Calista, Yunwei and Jacob, help me get it up and running (somewhat). We are currently still in the midst of ironing all the knicks and knacks out. It takes forever especially when I’m not based in Singapore now, but I’m just really glad and grateful for these people for all their initiative and the laughter shared. 

The difficulties in setting Dream to Live up, though, is very real and even though it has been constantly slowing us down, finding ways around these obstacles have only enabled it to grow some more. Right now it is about getting permits up and running, as all of us are still new to this. We need a lot of research and help to get this going. It is not something that can be successful based on our sole efforts; we do need a lot of help! 

Ultimately with this it was all about bringing people together that makes it extra fulfilling. We are constantly on the lookout for various artists and other talents to contribute their ways of offering help. The opportunities that arise from this provides a lot of hope and happiness because at the end of the day we just want to be able to see ideas work out, and for good reason. Dream To Live gives an extra purpose and meaning to help us believe what we’re doing is right, be it illustrating art works or creating desserts, because there is now a special silver lining in our ideas.

Preparing a meal in a domestic kitchen.

Preparing a meal in a domestic kitchen.

Trekkers and villagers.

Trekkers and villagers.

Villagers weaving baskets.

Villagers weaving baskets.


Ying Ying is currently based in London where she is pursuing a full-time degree in Fashion Design. A combination of qualities of people she’s met throughout her life, she measures her life in stages of personal growth and transformation. You can find her on Thought Catalog.

Learn more:

Santaman’s Trek Guide Service

Dream to Live, Live to dream