The Springs of Namje
Friday, September 14, 2012
8:00 PM–9:30 PM Free
The Springs of Namje: A Ten-Year Journey from the Villages of Nepal to the Halls of Congress
Stephanie Odegard, the founder and creative force behind Odegard and the Stephanie Odegard Collection, as well as GoodWeave; a non profit committed to ending child labor in the handmade rug industry, former peace corps volunteer and UN and World Bank consultant, entrepreneur and social activist joins Rajeev Goyal for the launch of his book The Springs of Namje.
“The Springs of Namje tells many stories, including, very movingly, how to try to effect real change in Washington, D.C. It’s about idealism and savvy, and it shows how they can mix powerfully.”—Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
In 2001, Peace Corps volunteer Rajeev Goyal was sent to Namje, a remote village in the eastern hills of Nepal. Brimming with idealism, he expected to find people living in conditions of misery and suffering; instead, he discovered a village full of happy, compassionate people. After organizing the villagers to build a water-pumping system in the midst of the dangerous Maoist war that had gripped the country, Goyal learned how complex rural development truly is. He also witnessed how the seemingly lowliest villager can hold profound power to influence not only his or her own village but also the highest rungs of government.
Years after this experience, Goyal applied the lessons he learned in Namje to his work on Capitol Hill. Approaching Congress as if it were a Nepalese caste system, Goyal led a grassroots campaign to double the size of the Peace Corps. His unique approach to advocacy included strategically positioning himself outside the men’s room of the capitol building waiting for lawmakers to walk out. As a result of his determined bird-dogging, Goyal managed to make allies of more than a hundred members of Congress and in the process, he ruffled the feathers of some of the most powerful figures in Washington. But due to his efforts, the Peace Corps was granted a $60-million increase in funding, the largest dollar-amount increase in the organization’s history.
About the Author
Rajeev Goyal, a graduate of Brown University and the New York University School of Law, is a lawyer, activist, rural-development worker, and former Peace Corp volunteer. Since 2008, he has served as the national coordinator for the Push for Peace Corps Campaign. He leads environmental and sustainable agriculture initiatives in eastern Nepal through several NGOs.