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Portrait of a Doer: Mahabir Pun

Originally posted on The Himalayan Gap blog on 5/23/11

A visionary with his projects, Mahabir explains how one of his newest endeavors, a shitaki mushroom farm, will bring jobs and create a better diet for the community and surrounding areas. “We must show the villagers what they can do, then they will understand what’s possible” Mahabir states. Although some projects are more successful than others, he remains optimistic that someday they all will benefit the rural communities more effectively.

Continually fixing, updating and expanding. That’s the future of Nepal Wireless – a non-profit organization that has brought wireless internet to more than 140 remote villages across Nepal. Here Mahabir updates equipment at the 3,650m Khopra ridge – one of the highest relay stations in Nepal Wireless’ network. From the footstep of the Annapurna I & II (shown in the background) the signal bounces to many villages miles across the valley.

Mahabir checks a faulty network connection, fixes it, then checks his email. A great networker in the social sense, Mahabir has had help from many volunteers from around the world to get the network off the ground (especially from Australia, US, and Japan). He is currently working with the Nepali government to expand the network to the Chitwan National park to facilitate security cameras in an attempt to protect the endangered One Horned Rhinos from poachers.

Mahabir smiling next to the hut where he was born more than 50 years ago in the village of Nangi, Nepal. It has been his life’s work to bring a better life to not only the villagers of Nangi but to all of rural Nepal starting with quality education and ending with income generating projects that work. Many wonder how he does it. He doesn’t ponder that question though, he just does.