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Student organization hosts run to fund a computer lab in Nepal

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CANTON — St. Lawrence University’s student organization Literacy for Nepal is running for funds Saturday during the 5k and 1-Mile Fun Run held at the intramural field on campus.

The $5 one-mile run for children will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by the $10 5k at 11:30.

The student organization funded the building of a library in the Nichuta village in the Parsa District of Nepal in 2009, and now is looking to raise $10,000 to expand the library with a computer lab.

The organization was started by Brijlal Chaudhari, a St. Lawrence student who’s from the village of Nichuta.

“I wanted to build a library to encourage education,” Mr. Chaudhari said. “I wanted to change the way a lot of people in my village think.”

Last year, Charlotte Caldwell and Elizabeth C. Bastien, co-presidents of Literacy for Nepal, had an opportunity to visit the library, which now consists of 1,000 books.

“We really noticed how much St. Lawrence has made an impact,” Ms. Bastien said. “It’s a very small village located about five hours from the nearest city, so a lot of kids don’t have access to an education.”

She said the library gives children in the village access to books that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

“While we were there, we had the idea to build onto the library and create a computer lab, because the entire village doesn’t have Internet,” she said. “This computer lab would give kids access to online courses and English courses that they could take.”

Mr. Chaudhari graduated from St. Lawrence as an economics major in 2010 and is now living in his home village working to empower the neighborhood to stop human and drug trafficking. He also serves as a liaison for Literacy for Nepal.

Mr. Chaudhari said the village raised 5 percent of the cost of the library back in 2009 and that he’s helping it organize fundraisers for the computer lab as well.

“This extension is exciting for them,” Mr. Chaudhari said. “I grew up in this village and I didn’t have access to those things either.”

Mr. Chaudhari said that since he grew up in that village, he knows what it’s like not to have access to books and computers as a child.

“I have a decent job supporting my family, but a lot of kids here don’t have that,” he said.

Mr. Chaudhari said he hopes the funding also will eventually provide for national daily newspapers and magazines as well.

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