Kanchan Shrestha, an active humanitarian, business entrepreneur and an efficient homemaker, is a graduate in Psychology and English Literature. She has been an active contributor to numerous charitable organizations in the past, which includes executing the role of Vice President for the Lokajit Foundation. A prominent part of the ASMAN family for several years, she's also a former Education Director and has currently been serving as the President of ASMAN. Alongside her humanitarian efforts, Kanchan continues her role as Director of Nepal Futuristic Company. She’s also serves as the Vice - President of Regal Nepal Investment Company Ltd.

What does Asman Nepal stand for?
Asman’s full form is Association of St Mary's Alumni Nepal. It is a non-governmental, non-political, non-profitable organization established in 1990 by the former students of St. Mary’s School with a regular team of successors that run the organization for a certain period of time.

What has been your main focus for the organization?
Asman’s main focus is to put an impact on the lives of the underprivileged, working directly with children and women from marginalised communities. Providing them with quality education and improving their welfare. Asman also focuses on spreading awareness in the health and environment sector, for instance it has been conducting health camps as one of its regular programs. Besides the social work aspect, Asman for nearly 31 years has been providing a strong platform for the students of St Mary and its alumni, to put into practice the school’s motto "For knowledge and virtue."

Do you feel like you've accomplished what you wanted to?
Sometimes an individual’s definition of accomplishment can differ from those of others. So I believe it is important to define what it means for you. I feel like living a balanced life is the best way to feel accomplished. Prioritising several aspects of your life simultaneously so you are not exerting effort on just your career but also your personal growth, family, significant relationship and last but not the least contributing to society. Contributing to a worthy cause can bring a great sense of accomplishment. No amount of deadlines and tasks can give you the accomplishment that integrity and altruism can give your life.

Where is your leadership strong, and where does it need improvement?
As the current president of Asman, I do understand the responsibility that comes with the designation and I do my very best to guide the organization focusing on its growth and integrity. I believe in terms of leadership characteristics, it's very important to have empathy and gratitude, especially when it’s an organisation such as Asman. Every effort by each individual in the team should be appreciated with sincere gratitude. This motivates everyone to be more involved yet feel valued at the same time. 
In terms of needing improvement, I am an individual that doesn’t like to constantly push someone or remind someone what is required of them. Especially Asman being a charitable organization thus non profitable, we are constantly focused on empowering and aiding the underprivileged. One must remember why we have undertaken the particular roles in the organization. So perhaps the ability and want to delegate needs improvement. 

The Covid-19 pandemic must have created some hurdles for you and your team. How did Asman overcome these hurdles?
The year 2020-2021 has brought a new set of challenges around the world. The Covid-19 pandemic and its resulting chaos meant that the non-profit organisation had to adapt to the changing dynamic. With so much of the world beset by Covid-19, we had to strengthen our programs in the area of food banking, oxygen and medical supply distribution, supporting isolation centres, along with supporting the Melamchi flood victims. At the same time Covid 19 did not stop us from focusing on the Mary Ward schools in Lubhu and Jhamsikhel, hence supplying stationery. But due to the lockdown and the introduction of online classes, smart phones for online classes were distributed to both the schools. Living in a world where Covid has changed our lives dramatically, it is our duty to put out our best and provide positive impact in every which way we can and hope for a more stable and healthy future.

It’s important and essential to educate girls; how has Asman supported education for young girls? 
Education is important to all genders. It is heartbreaking to know that even in this day and age some communities still discriminate against the education of girls. It's so important to have education for girls simply to have socio economic growth, lead healthier productive lives, as well as raising the standard of living for their children, families and overall communities. It is imperative to give equal opportunities and the best way to start doing that is by educating them. Keeping in mind the importance of educating girls, Asman with the help of its donors has been sponsoring nearly 800 students in Mary Ward school situated in Lubhu as well as Jhamsikhel. Sponsorship makes a long term investment in the life of the student and her family. Educating a girl means not merely changing her world but changing the world she lives in. We are very thankful to all the sponsors, Mary Ward sisters and teachers for making this possible.

You recently completed the annual career counselling event for the students of St Marys; tell us more about that?
Apart from our humanitarian efforts as an organisation, Asman also prioritises being involved and encouraging the students of St Mary’s. One of the events that is always looked forward to both by us and the school is the career counselling session. In this program we bring about reputable individuals that are excelling in their respective fields and can act as inspiration as well as guidance to the students who are considering exploring similar genres of work. By the end of every session, we always receive such a positive response from the students who are filled with queries for our guest speakers. Overall a great learning experience for the students.

What's next for the Asman group?
Our immediate program that is coming up is the scholarship program where the individual is able to sponsor the education of the child inclusive of their stationary and uniforms. Our goal this year is to exceed the number of students who will receive this scholarship compared to our previous year. We are also constantly working towards supporting schools for people with disabilities as well as old age homes on a larger scale. But overall, Asman is always looking for ways to have a positive and prominent impact on the community. 

How does it feel to know that you’re leaving a positive footprint in the community?
For me, giving back to the community is something that is embedded in me since a very young age, especially growing up and looking at how my dad was constantly involved in the betterment of the society with his humanitarian efforts. Giving back, contributing and spending time enriching your community at this point in my life is not a choice but a lifestyle. Apart from broadening one’s perception of the world, you also gain a unique sense of purpose by serving those around you, one which often manifests in other areas of your life. 

What do you personally spend most of your time on?
Apart from my role in Asman, I personally am a homebody that enjoys spending quality time with my family. Speaking of family, I am also constantly involved with various familial endeavours. Being a homemaker is also a responsibility that I prioritise. I have always had a passion for singing ever since I was young. When stressed nothing helps me more than singing. 
I also like to spend a certain time of the day dedicating it to my daily fitness and yoga. Meditation and spirituality are an integral part of my daily life as well.

Where do you see Asman in the next 10 years?
I see Asman being a huge reputable community synonymous to the upliftment of the community where our undertakings not only have a national impact but a global one. I see Asman touching the souls of many with every single alumni of the St Mary's school actively involved and being proud to be recognized as an Asmanite.