When teenage immigrant Ashis Dhakal arrived in Utah, he never imagined that he would soon cross paths with. Ashis, 18, moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, from a refugee camp in Nepal. He was very grateful for the opportunity for a better life and wanted to give back to his community in some way.
Ashis grew up in a Hindu family and her faith played a huge role in her desire to help others. While the children at his new school bullied him because of his religious beliefs, he rose above them. Hinduism emphasizes the importance of serving and giving to others whenever possible, and Ashis held fast to these virtues. They had given him a fantastic opportunity in life and he felt it was his duty to pay for it.
With that in mind, Ashis would soon find his calling while clearing tables for his work in KFC. A few years ago, he came across a homeless man during one of his shifts for which Ashis felt a deep empathy. The man shared his story about how he became homeless and Ashis wanted to alleviate his struggles in some way.
Since Ashis himself had experienced poverty firsthand, he could relate to this man’s suffering. The young teenager was grateful for his new life in America, but he also knew that many others still needed help. After hearing the man’s story, she inspired him to launch a clothing drive.
An idea to help collect coats for children in need
“One of the needs I needed was clothing, and that’s where the idea came from,” explained Dhakal.
In 2019, Dhakal founded Ashis Collects Clothes, a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting and distributing clothes to those in need. I was hoping that when starting a, word would spread and donations would start pouring in. People in the community were quick to support her mission, and Ashis collected items such as coats, shoes, hats, socks, and jackets.
How an NBC News anchor connected Ashis with Mark Cuban
However, Ashis got his big break when The TODAY Show found out about his founding and invited him for an interview. When Hoda Kotb contacted him for the interview, Ashis had no idea that this conversation would change his life. He told her that while his first clothing campaign was a success, he aspired for more.
“With that project, I was able to bring so many people together and change so many lives,” Dhakal told Kotb on“My biggest ‘why’ in my life is that when I was a little kid, going through poverty, I was in the same shoes as them right now. I have a house, I have a computer now, I have a phone. But think about it. Those children are still suffering. What I can do is improve others so that, you know, they can give back to their community. “
Dhakal revealed that the clothing campaign he started is just the beginning. Moving forward, he has his sights set on owning a multi-million dollar philanthropic business focused on giving. After talking to Ashis, Kotb wanted to help him realize his dream. So she introduced him to one of her heroes, the “Shark Tank” billionaire businessman and philanthropist..
Dhakal really admires him and says, “The work he has done for his community is amazing. I want to be at their level one day. “
Through Kotb’s network, Cuban and Dhakal set up an online meeting. Cuban immediately recognized Ashis’s entrepreneurial spirit and desire to help and decided to challenge him. He asked her to set a goal of collecting 575 coats for the homeless.
At first, the coat donations came slowly and Dhakal felt a bit discouraged. However, he later recalled some advice Cuban had given him during their talk. Ashis decided to contact the Utah outreach organization, which helps connect local refugees.
Everything is possible when people come together for a common goal
This decision was fruitful because he ended up collecting 3,000 coat donations in just a few days. Dhakal said the donations far exceeded his expectations and was thrilled that so many people wanted to help.
“I never dreamed of collecting 3,000 coats, but Utah has made it possible, and the people I connected with made it possible,” said Dhakal. To maintain momentum, the parent company
NBC Comcast even agreed to match the donations.
Mark Cuban helped make the clothing campaign a huge success
Dhakal’s wildly successful clothing campaign quickly caught onattention.
“You’re setting an example, Ashis, it’s not about connections,” he told TODAY. “It’s not about who you know. Effort. It’s about how hard you are willing to work to get something done. “
Dhakal was more than satisfied with the participation and hopes that the donations continue to move forward.
“I am very, very grateful and happy to be in a position where I can unite my community and have an impact,” said Dhakal.
We are excited to see where Dhakal’s dreams will take him. With a heart as big as yours, it is unknown how many people you will impact through your efforts. Due to her challenges early in life, Ashis knows what it’s like to live without basic necessities. However, their struggles were not in vain; They taught him to serve others because we can all make a difference.
When Ashis Dhakal came to Utah from Nepal with his family, he had no idea what to expect. Shortly after arriving, he knew that this new opportunity had been a great blessing to them. Despite the positive changes, it hurt to think that everyone in the world endured so much suffering. I wanted to make a difference, and after meeting a homeless, was inspired to create a clothing campaign.
Through his non-profit organization, he has collected thousands of coats, jackets, shoes, hats, and other necessities. Homelessness is on the rise around the world, so every donation helps ease the burden of this unfortunate reality. In the future, Ashis hopes to have a booming business where she can give even more to those in need.