Parnita Khadka Basnet

Director Youth Programme Biratnagar SOS Children's Villages in Nepal
photo: © 2018 Stefan Lechner Photography

Failure is not final but a stepping stone towards success

"The future cannot be defined by today". This sentence relates to my career and to me. Here I am to share my story, which can also be a lesson for me in my career.

Hard work and reward
I was born into a middle-class family near the capital of Nepal. I have my father, mother, one older sister and a younger brother. I am the middle child. My sister and brother have sharp minds and did well in their studies. Sadly, I was not blessed with this ease in studying. I was aware of my parents' dream, but I just dreamed of being an official in a respected organisation, even though I did not have satisfactory results at school. At the age of 13 or 14 I realised that I must improve my results to achieve a goal in life, so I focused on the value and the dream of life. Life was good. I finished my high school in Kathmandu. I did not do as well as I and, of course, my parents had expected.

I got my bachelor's degree before I was married and landed in Biratnagar, in the eastern part of Nepal, which was not my choice of a place to stay for too long. It was too hot and humid for me, but fate had something else in mind. I got married to a man who was from Biratnagar. But I did not forget my childhood dream of being an independent woman. Maybe it was my ego. I did not like being introduced by my husband's job (engineer's wife). I wanted my own status. Meantime, I was struggling to find a job but, at last, I was able to get a job at the SOS Youth Facility Biratnagar where I started as a counsellor in May 2004 and where I worked for 13 years. During my career, I got the opportunity to climb gradually up the path, and now I am the director of the youth programme. I was able to achieve my dream, which I had dreamed of from childhood, whether it was possible or not. The same platform allowed me to gain new experiences in life. However, I was not a professional counsellor. I had to handle young people with different backgrounds. We get satisfaction when we work with challenges, so there I have been working with different backgrounds, characters and attitudes too. During 14 years of experience, I have overcome many challenges and been successful.

A unique challenge
Amongst these challenges, I would like to share a story about a young person who was very arrogant, destructive and aggressive. His academic performance was very poor and no one had any hope of further studies. All the members of the SOS family had advised him to join vocational training, but he did not like that direction. He did not have good relationships with his family members and friends. He was isolated and did not participate in any development programme. He somehow managed to complete his school level and moved to the Youth Facility Biratnagar. In spite of his educational background, he showed some interest in further studies. However, his aggressiveness and arrogant attitude remained. In the facility, he had no group of friends and spent his leisure time alone. Sometimes he played guitar sitting on the balcony. I observed his daily activities. He did not want to speak to me and the other co-workers. I spent time with him on many evenings having formal and informal conversations. I slowly tried to build a relationship. I thought it might work as counselling for his development. In the meantime, we offered him training lasting 15 days on "Leadership and positive thought" in Biratnagar. What a miracle! When he came back home, his attitude had changed, demonstrating motivation and dedication. In order to motivate him, we took a risky decision. We decided to recruit him as a president of SOS Social Services Club, the club founded by the SOS Youth Facility Biratnagar family. Our decision again proved to be right. That responsibility taught him to get involved in social work, networking and mass gatherings. Gradually, leadership qualities appeared in his character inside and outside of home. At the same time, he successfully completed his Bachelor in Hotel Management. His positive thoughts supported him for further development. He has now completed his Masters in Hospitality Management and started his professional life. 

Going from nothing to everything: a success story
I have seen this young person's life change from nothing to everything in terms of dreams and aspirations. For me, being a part of our youths' success has always been an inspiration in itself. Their success has always driven me to aspire to more. The social work that we do in and around our areas has taught us many important lessons in life. We not only help others but also help ourselves in cultivating a better understanding of humanity. The process of growing up alongside the young people has been an amazingly energising experience for me. It helps me truly stay young.

Parnita Khadka Basnet,

director SOS Children’s Villages Youth Facility Biratnagar, Nepal

Parnita joined SOS Children’s Villages as a girls’ counsellor in the SOS Youth Facility Biratnagar and is now director. She sees teamwork and positive thoughts as essential for guiding young people. If you want to shape young people, it is only possible with passion and empathy.

Parnita sees her husband as her motivator and her children as the encouraging source. In her free time Parnita cares for needy people in the community. She serves as a regional chairperson in the Lions Club of Nepal.

Her home country Nepal is dominated by the world’s imposing Mount Everest. The dramatic peaks of the Himalayas occupy eighty per cent of the territory. The small, hospitable country is a popular destination for tourists. The SOS Youth Facility where Parnita works is located in Biratnagar. The city is 237 km from Kathmandu and close to the Indian border.

Video Harvesting Workshop 2018