The lockdown came into effect in Nepal on March 24 to curb the spread of coronavirus confining people to their homes while schools, offices and businesses shut down. Nobody knew how the situation would unfold and for how long the lockdown would continue.
At that moment Founder of Discover City, Saurav Rimal had two choices: To stay home and be depressed because his works were on hold, or to do something. He chose the latter.
“I chose to go out and help and feed animals,” shares the 32-year-old who didn’t want to dwell in the tension of work that was stalled due to lockdown.
“It was better to do something.”
Rimal says that he used to feed the dogs before the lockdown but “always wanted to do that on a larger scale”.
So Rimal went out within few days of the beginning of the lockdown to feed the Capital’s stray dogs — he teamed up Dalle restaurant who prepared the food.
He later partnered with Smile Nepal, and the horizon of his initiative to feed dogs broadened to other animals like monkeys and cows, as well as needy people.
As per him, their team comprising volunteers stopped to feed dogs whenever they saw dogs — they loaded prepared food in their vehicle and fed the dogs whenever/wherever they saw them.
“But now we are targeting public places that are not filled with public.
That is because stray animals are living because of us (humans) in our ecosystem — we give them one piece when we are eating two pieces of biscuit, or they survive on the garbage thrown by us or of a restaurant…” he adds.
The team as such is feeding dogs at Bhrikutimandap, Gongabu Bus Park, Teku areas among others where there are no or very less people.
“We are focussing on these areas for a certain time at least — many dogs are dying and have lost weight,” he reveals of the conditions of the stray dogs.
This team is feeding more than 500 dogs of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Ring Road areas four days a week.
Alongside they are also feeding fruits to monkeys of Swoyambhu, Pashupati and Thapathali areas, and cows of the Pashupati area from the fund collected by Smile Nepal.
Moreover, they have been/are helping Indian migrant workers, daily wage workers, pregnant women, postnatal women and waste management workers in Kathmandu, Dhulikhel and Pokhara with relief packages of daily essentials.
They have helped more than 800 people till date — their aim is to cater to the needy and Rimal hopes they have been able to achieve that.
Nonetheless, the three months in which he has helped animals and humans alike has been an achievement for him.
“Feeding animals is amazing.
If you join it as volunteer you would know how it feels. They way they welcome you … it is beyond imagination. You will feel it’s like a big achievement.”
During the process of feeding dogs, he shares that they got to meet other dog lovers for who he has high respect and also got to motivate others to do the same.
Pointing out that “there is a need to help out there”, Rimal opines, “There is lot to do still.”
A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 8, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.