“Experiencing Discrimination Motivated Me to Empower the Nepali Community in New York,” Shreeya Tuladhar

Shreeya Tuladhar, the executive director of the Minority Empowerment Network in New York, shared her insights and experiences working towards the empowerment of the Nepali community in a recent interview with Khasokhas editor Deepak Pariyar. The organization, which began its journey just before the coronavirus pandemic, has made significant strides under Shreeya’s leadership.

Reflecting on her own experiences, Shreeya recounted, “When I joined the school here in 2000, I was the only Nepali among 5,000 students. I faced a lot of discrimination at school.” This personal history of discrimination fueled her passion for advocacy.

Working at the Covid-19 vaccine center in New York, Shreeya realized that even after 20 years, the Nepali community remained¬† an invisible minority group, still facing discrimination,” she said. Determined to make a change, Shreeya emphasized the need for visibility and rights for the Nepali community, so that “the new generation does not have to face the same discrimination.”

To address the apparent disinterest in community issues among the younger generation, Shreeya has taken proactive steps. “I am asking them to volunteer at events to engage the new generation in our community,” she explained. By involving youth as presenters in Minority Empowerment Network programs and establishing a Nepali American youth group, Shreeya is fostering a sense of culture, identity, and mental health awareness among young Nepali Americans.

Shreeya Tuladhar with New York Mayor Eric Adams during the flag hoisting ceremony in Manhattan. (Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

She also highlighted the challenges faced by the Nepali community in New York, particularly the lack of awareness about local rules and regulations. “The first problem of Nepalis is that they are not aware of the rules and regulations regarding the affairs of any area here,” she stated. To combat this, her organization, the Minority Empowerment Network, has been disseminating information and resources.

The Nepali community’s struggles with linguistic justice, access to government resources, and representation have not gone unnoticed. Shreeya’s response has been to engage with government officials and advocate for the provision of information in the Nepali language. Additionally, the organization is going to host resource fairs to equip the community with necessary information. Shreeya’s efforts extend beyond the community. She has been instrumental in raising the profile of Nepalis in New York. The organization played a key role in the historic flag hoisting ceremony by Mayor Eric Adams. “They recognize our community as the fastest growing South Asian community in the USA,” Shreeya says of the positive response from US politicians.

Under Shreeya’s leadership, the Minority Empowerment Network continues to be a beacon of hope and a source of strength for the Nepali community in New York, as they navigate the complexities of life in a diverse metropolis.

Looking ahead, Shreeya emphasizes the importance of political engagement for the future of the Nepali community. “In my opinion, it is imperative that our new generation enter US politics,” she states. While she remains focused on her current work, her dedication to empowering the Nepali community is a testament to her leadership.