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Buskers raise fund to help street kids



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By Aashish Mishra
Kathmandu, Dec. 22: Social welfare does not require full-time devotion or immense financial capabilities. It only requires passion. One needs to utilise their skills. It’s okay if they cannot help hundreds of people. Helping the few neediest ones is what counts.

This is the message that 27-year-old Sunil Panta, 31-year-old Prabin Bikram Silwal and their small team want to convey through busking.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines busking as the activity of playing music in the street or other public places for voluntary donations. Panta and friends have taken this activity and made it into a tool to help the street kids.

“I have been playing music for more than seven years and I wanted to use it to give back to society,” Panta said. He credits his friend Arun Lama with inspiring him to start busking. Similarly, Silwal has been playing music for 15 years and he joined because he wanted to help the less fortunate.

Both of them, along with some others on occasions, busk every Saturday with guitars in different locations to raise money to feed waifs.
“Prior to busking, we had provided food and water to them a few times with our own money,” Panta recalled the initial days. “But that became untenable and we decided to play music to raise funds.”

Panta and group play music and collect donations. They do not have any channels for funnelling aid nor are they affiliated to any organisation. They claim to collect money on the spot and spend it on fresh food and pure water on the spot. “We pool the money, calculate how many children we can feed with it and proceed accordingly,” Panta said.

The team operates in a very informal manner, working amongst themselves and with only the resources at their immediate reach. This is why they have avoided outside help. “We have received many offers but we have not accepted them because that requires concrete planning and efficient management which we do not have yet,” Silwal told The Rising Nepal. “Furthermore, we also have to judge if the aims of the donors match our own or not.”

Similarly, they have also not sought any affiliations because they don’t believe they need any authority to help others. This has created problems at times when officials have questioned their credentials and have asked them to obtain approval from the administration. “We usually talk things out and explain to them what we are doing. They mostly understand and let us continue. But, when they don’t, we move and busk at a place some distance away,” Panta explained, adding that the locals have been very supportive of their endeavour.

The busking is now in its fourth week. To date, the group has fed more than 30 children; taking care to ensure that the food they give is nutritious and healthy. “We make sure to include fruits and vegetables. Our aim is to provide the kids with a balanced diet,” Silwal said. The children are also happy to receive good food and gather around the buskers whenever they see them, he shared.

The campaign has also become popular on social media with many people expressing their support. Many people also want to join and Panta and Silwal are planning on how to bring them in. “We are thinking of ways to manage the people who want to join us and are planning to form groups so that they can carry on busking even if we are not available,” Panta said.

He added, “If we can form a sufficiently large group, we want to start distributing warm clothes and also help other street-dependent individuals, in addition to children.”

Panta and Silwal plan to continue busking as long as they are able to and as long as they see hungry kids on the road. Nonetheless, they both have very relatable constraints.

Both Panta and Silwal have day jobs. Panta is a human resources officer at Kalika Constructions and Silwal works in real estate and owns Properties Nepal Pvt. Ltd. They have very little to invest in philanthropic endeavours. But through their busking, they want to tell everyone that time and situational realities need not hinder social service.

“Today’s youths don’t have much time and resources. We understand that. But you can still do something in the little free time you have utilising your skills and talents,” Panta and Silwal said. “If you want to help, then do it. Passion begets success.”