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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, January 18, 2018

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How a billionaire is helping rebuild his quake-stricken country

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Share on Facebook November 21, 2015, Reporter : BigNewsNet/Forbes, Reader : 404

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Over the past month or so, I've been to Seoul, Jakarta, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila and Kathmandu. As Forbes CEO, I'm exposed to extraordinary experiences with some of the most interesting people in the world. I could tell a story about each of these cities that, frankly, blew me awaya home, a business, a personality, an event Forbes is always welcomed and helps motivate, convene and make many of these things happen. We follow success and those who seek it and achieve it and tell their stories. I'm privileged to see it up close and often in a very personal way.

I flew home last week from Hong Kong, where our new investors are headquartered. I passed through on the way home from Kathmandu where I had one of these amazing visits. Long story, but my wife Missy and I had planned on being in Nepal to participate in Habitat For Humanity's Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's build on behalf of Nepalese who had lost their homes in the recent earthquakes. To put a painful capper on a terrible year, the blockade of fuel from India, for the last 90 days, has made getting virtually all things accomplished orders of magnitude more difficult. Habitat For Humanity had to cancel its initiative so as not to put an even greater strain on the system by supporting the relief workers' efforts.

We'd really been looking forward to the trip. Missy has deep roots in Nepal, but had never visited. Her grandparents were medical missionaries there in the 50s and 60s and helped to start one of the country's first western hospitals over their ten-year adventure. Sowhen we heard the trip was cancelled, we decided to follow our own spirit and make the trip anyway.

At the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Manila last month, I grabbed my acquaintance and Nepal's first and only billionaire, Binod Chaudhary, and explained our situation. I told him our challenge. Far from trying to dissuade us, he told us that as luck would have it he was taking his annual trek that very same week. ("It is karma!") So, we committed to a remarkable trip that would take us trekking deep into a lesser-known mountain and lake region, Dolpo, in Nepal. We also got very close to the spectacular work that the Chaudhary Foundation is doing to help those who are displaced by the earthquakes.

The lines of cars, motorbikes, and men and women with cylinders waiting for fuel shocked us. People are waiting by the thousands for three to four days for a few liters of petrol. Can you imagine? The site is overwhelming. The Nepalese are a genuinely peaceful and calm peopleIt's impossible to imagine this situation at home with no signs of anger or violence.

Binod is well known as the Wai Wai packaged noodle king, but his Chaudhary Group is in virtually every aspect of life in the region and has luxury holdings, especially in hotels, all around the world. Together with his three sons, they work closely together to manage their affairs professionally and always with a big heart.

Social service is an integral part of their mission. The Chaudhary Foundation has committed to building 10,000 homes and 100 schools as part of an extensive earthquake relief program. To date, 1,200 homes are finished with 1,400 in progress, and 16 schools are complete. There are 900,000 homeless in the country so these numbers are just a dent, but Binod's strong belief is in helping one person, one family, and one home at a time. Each home costs $750 and, in some areas, they can be as low as $550. They are primarily built using Nepalese materials such as the bamboo, concrete and cement, and always working with home owners. Imagine you can provide a homeless family, usually five people, with a home for a few hundred dollars.

The Nepalese government is facing challenges distributing over four billion dollars in relief effort funds, in part because of a complicated political bureaucracy. Nonetheless, Binod and The Chaudhary Foundation continue to break through, working tirelessly with Parliament officials to establish a more functional governmental model and to deliver the urgent relief that so many Nepalese need, especially as the brutal winter months approach.

We climbed with an incredible group of influential Nepalesewho are also Binod's oldest friends, including the retired Chief of Staff of the Army, Nepal Air's most senior pilot, and Chaudhary Group's Head of Human Resources. As we marched from village to village going higher and higher, I watched Binod, this truly great man, in action. He is a genuine, generous, natural and visionary politician a truly powerful galvanizer of people and projects. On our trek alone he identified and initiated five new social projects which are already in progress. They include helping to rebuild part of an impressive boarding school that we stumbled upon in a remote part of the Dolpo region, providing an internship for a young and enthusiastic entrepreneur at Binod's Kathmandu-based Summit Hotel, re-booting a water operated power facility, offering managerial and technical support for a lodging facility along the trail with the larger intention of building a better infrastructure along the path to enable Dolpo to become a sought-after trekking destination (rivaling the popular Everest and Annapurna loops).

Needless to say, this man with the most human and Midas touch, has an incredible story to tell which has been captured in his autobiography, Binod Chaudhary (which will be released in English before the end of the year). It's a massive best seller in Nepal and, even in the middle of nowhere, we found that villagers had it by their bedsides, and would bring out their binding-worn copies to be autographed by this living legend.

We followed him from elegant Nepalese formal wear at the Forbes Global CEO Conference to campsites with hill residents in the freezing cold Himalayan Mountains. We slept in tents and teahouses, ate (with our hands) traditional Nepalese rice, cauliflower, and lentil soup and were even "treated" to fresh goat!

There's great suffering around the world these days. In Nepal, there is a man with incredible resources working with his every breath to make life better now and in the future for his country and his fellow countrymen. He serves as an example for us all. and Missy and I were privileged not only to have witnessed his great humanitarian efforts, but also to have participated in his endeavor and lent him our support.

I asked Binod, who is now a friend for life, how he manages living so close to these overwhelming issues. His answer was"MikeIf you're not living close to the edge, you're taking up too much space!"

(The writer Mike Perlis is President and CEO of Forbes).

(Pictured: Back Row: Binod Chaudhary, Chairman of Chaudhary Group, with members of the Chaudhary Group. Front Row (from left to right): Mike Perlis, Forbes Media President and CEO; Rookmangud Katawal, Former Chief of Army Staff of the Nepal Army General; Sudhir Rai, Nepal Airlines' Most Senior Pilot; Missy Perlis).

This article was first published by Forbes.com.

Republished by Big News Network and associated sites with permission.> BNN

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