Local high school students organize book drive for those in need

Chris Torres, Photo Editor

After staying awake for 24 hours playing video games and watching anime with his friends, Nirvan Rayamajhi, a junior at Granada Hills Charter High School, found himself in a monotonous situation with nothing to do like many other students at home in quarantine.

It was out of his boredom that he thought of other people who may not have access to resources that he does during the pandemic.

This inspired Rayamajhi to help impoverished students and people experiencing homelessness by organizing a book drive through his organization called Bee The Hope. The organization collected more than 1,800 books through the book drive and donated them to various community organizations.

“I thought about the underprivileged kids, the homeless people and the circumstances they are living in and on top of that, having to be in school and learn.” said Rayamajhi, the president of Bee The Hope. “It’s going to be so much harder for them, so we wanted to provide them with something to keep them busy.”

[Related: Teens raise funds for hygiene kits for local homeless shelters]

Rayamajhi started Bee The Hope in 2020 as a nonprofit organization based at his school to assist their San Fernando Valley community by providing volunteering support. Bee The Hope organizes food and clothing drives, and plans community service projects that benefit low-income families and combat homelessness.

With the help of his mother, Dikshya Lakhey, Rayamajhi reached out to families in Northridge, Porter Ranch and Chatsworth through Facebook groups. Bee The Hope also received donations through their peers at Granada Hills Charter High School.

Rayamajhi said it was encouraging to see people from nearby communities come together collectively to help out people in need.

The books that Bee The Hope collected will go to community organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles Family Housing, San Fernando Rescue Mission. A portion of the donated books also went to the offices of Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilwoman Monica Rodgriguez.

Members of Bee The Hope Nirvan Rayamajhi, left, Arthur Mkrtchyan, Dakota Duran, Shaelynn Martin and Khalil Forrester stand in front of the Los Angeles Family Housing in Sun Valley, Calif., with boxes filled with 800 books on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (Chris Torres)

Terry Lotka, the donation coordinator at L.A. Family Housing in North Hollywood, said the book donations were needed especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of children are home, and they need books and other activities to do and their parents don’t always have what they need to keep them entertained,” Lotka said.

Since their start in 2020, Bee The Hope has grown to more than 200 members and received a certificate of appreciation from the city of Los Angeles signed by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez.

“I didn’t feel like it would ever be this big,” Lakhey said. “In the process of this whole journey, I just feel very proud. They will impact so many people out there.”