Guest post by Karen Gould (@ssgkaren) from StartSomeGood.
Personally, I can’t imagine a much more terrifying experience than being locked up in a Qatar prison on charges of insulting Islam.
This is where Nepali teacher Dorje Gurung found himself, after an attempt to teach private school kids about stereotyping and discrimination was tragically misinterpreted.
Things could have got very bad indeed, but this is how the story ended:
Photo credit: Alka Shrestha
Dorje’s friends and family started a petition and campaigned voraciously across social media. Finally, he was released from prison to the arms of his family in Kathmandu.
“After my friends secured my release from prison, I learned that online campaigns and social media had been mostly responsible for it,” says Dorje. Having witnessed the power of online communities in his own life, he was inspired to harness that power to fight broader injustices.
“I owe my professional and personal success to education, which I wasn’t supposed to have had access to because of my background: I came from a low socioeconomic background,” says Dorje.
“I achieved academic success owing partly to charities of others: my education was paid for mostly by others. It’s incumbent upon me therefore, to seek to provide such opportunities to the young and marginalized children of Nepal.”
Dorje’s experience in Qatar was an eye-opener. He was released, but he saw many others who weren’t so lucky, and had many an occasion to be grateful for his education, and that of his supporters.
“In Qatar I learned that if you are from a developing country and you don’t have good, high quality education at home, then you will easily become a victim of gross exploitation abroad,” he says.
“I saw semi-skilled and unskilled laborers from the Indian subcontinent and other parts of Asia suffering from this on a daily basis both outside and inside the jail in Qatar.
“High quality education gives you the freedom to determine your own destiny.”
Dorje is running a crowdfunding campaign on StartSomeGood to improve education standards and resources for schools in Sindupalchowk, Nepal. He’s calling on those who believe that education is freedom to support his project and help create a fairer future.