Jing Lee, a member of the Legislative Council of the South Australian Parliament, did not feel enough to make some real contribution towards rebuilding Nepal. For her the real contribution actually meant putting together a band of thirteen like minded australians who are boarding a plane to Nepal on October 22.
As per the schedule, the team will spend 8 days in Nepal and their itinerary includes visiting the earthquake construction sites, hold meetings with government ministers, learn about Nepalese art and culture to bridge the cultural gap between the two countries and also visit the affected children in care centers and homes.
“Yes, I make donations to fundraisers but to actually help rebuild Nepal, we really must look at visiting Nepal so that we can show to people that Nepal is safe to travel and that Nepal is still in the heart and mind of Australian people,” the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs said in a telephone conversation with souhasia.com.au on Friday.
She is painfully aware that Nepal is not exactly a top priority for a whole lot of outbound Australian tourists but hopes to be able to gradually change that by casting the spotlight on the immense tourism potential of the mountain nation.
The team will consist of 13 members including Honorary Consul of Nepal in South Australia Dipak Dhamala and Adelaide based Nepalese youth activist Nabin Pant. Apart from these two, rest are all the first-timers to Nepal. The group consists of people from 20s to mid 70s and they also come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds.
Ms Lee is also bringing along her husband Eddie Liew to Nepal.
“I myself is a migrant you know. So I understand the struggles, challenges that we have to face when you come from a non-English speaking background into Australia,” she said while sharing her thoughts with southasia.comm.au about her connections with Nepalese students as well as Non-Resident Nepalis living around the state. Therefore, she felt the “pain” when earthquake hit the South Asian nation on 25 April 2015.
Ms. Lee would have loved to go on a trekking on the beautiful mountains of Nepal, but considering her strict time schedule, this doesn’t seem quite possible this time. he would be busy in meetings this time around, she said. She also has a grave responsibility towards the ten non-Nepalese members of the delegation. They will be coming only because of her, “If I did not lead the delegation, none of these people would come,” chuckled the MLC who has been in office since 2010.
As of now, her sole motive is to highlight Nepal as a safe and beautiful destination. “Everybody knows Nepal is a wonderful tourist destination but after the earthquake people are a bit concerned about the safety. And also the language is a barrier for most Australians. And I feel that with my connection with the Nepalese people in South Australia, I really want to make a difference and I want to be able to inspire people to discover the beauty of Nepal. Hence, that’s why this trip came about,” she said.