Today’s story is of Mrs. Manisha Dangol Shrestha, winner of Mrs. Nepal Universe who went to England many years back after completing her 10+2 for further studies. The world was completely different than how it was back then. Mrs. Dangol belonged to a typical Newari family. She grew up in a protective family with lots of love. For her, going abroad was a challenge in itself. After all she was stepping outside of her comfort zone. However, she took up the challenge and chose the path of independence. She experienced that one learns more only while stepping out of the comfort zone.
18 years back, there was no tendency of going abroad for further studies. So, she had no Nepali around her. It was hard for her to struggle for her independence being far from her home and family amongst strangers. But, within one year, she got a good job and had herself settled. Despite all the progress, she desperately missed her culture. Being brought up in a family of Newar, with so much of cultural practices, it was quite natural for her to miss all of those.
Academically, Mrs. Dangol is an MBA graduate. Even by 2003, the number of Nepali living in UK was very less. Then, people slowly started pursuing career abroad and she searched for Nepali community because she wanted to work for them. She found many Nepali in Yeti Association. She started volunteering there. She got to know about Pasapucha Guthi in 2004. It was an association of Newars living in England. She felt a sense of belongingness there. She felt that she knew the value of her culture once she got far from it. She admits that she had all the major festivals noted in her diary. She also got elected as General Secretary there and her community based startup began from the exact moment.
Mrs. Dangol had a presumption that NRN was a foundation of rich people and students like her would not be accepted by them. Many people approached her because of her active status but due to lack of awareness, she didn’t prioritize it. But later on, she understood many things about the association and got be a part of NRN. Their motive to invest on Nepal was enough to draw her attention. NRN is an association connecting Nepali all over the world and is established in over 80 countries. While working, she got an opportunity to be the first ever Youth Co-ordinator of NRN. She was a hint of motivation and encouragement to the next generation that followed. She’s also an advisor of NRN UK.
Being a married woman, it was hard for her to manage everything. The more you contribute, the more people start to have expectations from you. She was ambition driven. She wanted to contribute as much as she could. So, she did.
She started her own venture. She established her own brand named London Fashion House. She had experienced working with top fashion brands like Gucci and Armani. She developed confidence and skills from her work experiences. She believes that no matter how clean heart one has, the first thing people notice in others is their appearance and hence, how we present ourselves matters. When she worked as a Sales Consultant in the top brands, she developed brand awareness and knew many things about fashion. When she worked as the team leader of 48 teams, in the British gas, she collected a different experience of management. Some of her co-workers and colleagues were elder to her dad She believes this to be the reason for her maturity in professionalism.
By nature, Mrs. Dangol is a very active and loves keeping herself engaged. While working in a bank, she got this feeling that 9 to 5 is not for her. She was not made for something as monotonous as such. Then, she noticed that people, especially Nepali didn’t have a proper place to have their clothes made or customized. She took this as an opportunity and had her brand established. Her boutique had all the facilities of make to measure, design consultation, low labor cost and customization of the received orders. For her work purpose, she came to Nepal and did a research on local trends. She was glad to see boutiques flourishing here in Nepal as well.
Mrs. Dangol says that she made plans for her venture during her maternity period. At around 2011, boutique culture was growing all over the world and UK had developed a good market for it as well. She turned her passion into her profession. Her venture offered all the cultural wears from head to toe that is mostly customized handwork. Side by side, she’s continuing her NRN movement which continues to motivate her.
NRN movement was a place where she met like-minded individuals. She felt like her efforts and time was being valued. She thought that despite having a strong mental and financial stands, she had to struggle so much while there are so many women who are less privileged and going through the same sufferings. She said to herself that she should feel privileged enough to work for them. She says that she would feel worthy to have lived her life only if she can accomplish these dreams. Also, her love for other women grew more after she got to experience motherhood. She then started conducting dance classes and contests. When she met other moms, they admired and praised her work.
Mrs.Dangol says that motherhood is a feeling of completion. No matter how ambitious a women is, she feels content with her baby. But she turned that period into her strength. She says that when you don’t get to maintain yourself, it’s hard to come back. She realized that change starts from her home. She knows that educating a woman is educating the whole nation. This is what encouraged her to work more for women empowerment. Her work is her confidence and her pride. She strongly believes that small girls with dreams become women with vision. She has started change from her home. Both she and her husband equally work in kitchen as well as in the corporate world.
Mrs. Dangol says,”I have started the change I wanted from my home. You can’t afford to make mistakes, so you have to learn from other people’s mistakes. Most of the men can’t handle strong and independent women; so it is important to educate men first. They’ve been brought up that way but that doesn’t mean they can’t be educated. Communication is the key. Education starts from home and I am happy to say that I started. We communicated. Marriage is the most successful story of my life.”
“Know yourself, don’t give up on your dreams and most importantly, know your cultural ethics. They’re there for a reason. They are the best guidelines. Dear girls, you don’t need to compete with men to get better, you are competition and hence, compete with yourself. Never give on happiness either. If you are not happy, you cannot make others happy”, is a small message she wants to convey to young girls.