Teens raise funds for hygiene kits for local homeless shelters

Samantha Bravo, Assistant News Editor

Earlier this year, 16-year-old Nirvan Rayamajhi was planning to travel to Nepal to help create a school sports program, but due to COVID-19, his plans changed. Since then, Nirvan Rayamajhi has focused his efforts on developing his own nonprofit organization, Bee the Hope.

Nirvan Rayamajhi, a junior at Granada Hills Charter High School, was motivated to create an organization that aims to help their community by providing and distributing food, supplies and everyday necessities. His brother and co-founder, Neil Rayamajhi, is a seventh grader at Nobel Middle School in Northridge.

The coalition of students from different schools in the Los Angeles area have fed over 400 healthcare workers, raised over $18,000 and created over 2,500 hygiene kits this year.

Nirvan Rayamajhi said the idea to make hygiene kits started as an idea to provide meals to healthcare workers.

“I just wanted to help out one or two hospitals, but we were able to help 11 hospitals from there. I was really motivated to do more for the community,” Nirvan Rayamajhi said.

Nirvan Rayamajhi created a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to create hygiene kits to distribute to homeless individuals and shelters in the Northridge community. The campaign surpassed its original goal of $2,500 within 24 hours and has since earned over $4,000.

In January 2020, LAHSA estimated that there were 735 unhoused individuals living in CD-12, where Northridge is located.

Sahara Karki, co-founder of Bee the Hope, previously organized a food drive. She said Bee the Hope noticed the homeless shelters were in need of hygiene essentials during a visit.

“We got a lot of donations for food, but we noticed that they wanted things for hygiene,” Karki said.

After weeks of planning, the items arrived and the organizers created the hygiene kits on Aug. 14. Each hygiene kit included a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of soap and other essentials.

Sahara Karki, left, Nirvan Rayamajhi and Neil Rayamajhi hold up the hygiene kits for the homeless during their Bee The Hope packing event in Northridge, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. (Chris Torres)

Nirvan Rayamajhi said his family and friends were surprised to see how much everyone donated. He said most of their support came from social media and the online community.

“It was really cool to see that people are actually willing to help other people, it doesn’t seem like anyone wants to do that anymore,” Rayamajhi said.

“Living in L.A., we see a lot of homeless people and we shouldn’t really look at them as people who are less than us, they have a life just like us and they’re just less fortunate,” Karki said. “I think it’s really important, to see them in a more humane way.”

Karki said their Bee the Hope foundation was created to make an impact in their local community, but has hopes to help other countries as well.

“As soon as we noticed it growing, we thought we should start making this a bigger thing and start having more people be included in it,” Karki said. “So just by observing that, we thought we could make a foundation where it could really impact people from all over the world.”

Bee the Hope recently distributed the hygiene kits to Hope of the Valley in Pacoima. Ken Craft, founder and CEO of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission said he has seen an increase in support from the community and young individuals wanting to help and give back.

“We told them some of our great needs are with hygiene products and they pulled together incredible resources to people in need,” Craft said. “I think you can never be too young to be a philanthropist and it’s better to start young and to recognize that we really do have a lot to be grateful for and the essence of living is giving and when we give we find meaning and purpose.”

Rayamajhi’s mother Dikshya Lakhey, said she was proud to see her kids wanting to be involved in these projects.

“We’ve always been giving, I think that they’ve always seen since they were children, and that’s a part of the environment that they were raised in,” Lakhey said. “It made them feel like they need to do something, and having Ken Craft being there and saying little things to them makes a huge difference. It’s a great motivation for them.”

Members of the Bee The Hope Foundation, and the founder and CEO of the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, Ken Craft, center, hold the hygiene kits for the homeless in Pacoima, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (Chris Torres)