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From Nepal to Australia - The story of Diggaj Regmi - Part 1

From Nepal to Australia – The story of Diggaj Regmi

Part 1

We decided to do an interview with one of our trainers only to find out what a remarkable story it is. Here Diggaj Regmi gives us an insight into the journey that he has taken to get here. It’s a story about a little boy who grew up in a remote village in Nepal, his first encounter with electricity and a fascination that will take him all over the world.

Trainer profile: Diggaj Regmi

Position: System design and training assistant (Design Hydro and Wind)

Where did you grow up?

I came from a remote village in Nepal called Laxmipur which is in the western part of the country.

What was it like living in Laxmipur, Nepal?

We lived on a self-reliant small plot of land. This was a little house on a piece of small land where we grew vegetables. We were self-sustaining, everything we grew we ate or sold. When I was a kid at school my day would consist of getting up and working on the plot, walking to school then coming home again to finish the work. I would then have to study and go to bed ready to do it all next morning. They were long days.

Tell me about your first encounter with electricity.

We grew up with no electricity. When I was about 9 years old they installed some lighting in our house. The teacher at school talked about how electricity worked. Fascinated by the power and the light that we now had I wanted to know more about how it all worked. I rigged an extra wire, so I could have a switch next to the bed. It worked, I remember turning it off and on. This is when I decided to learn more about physics and engineering.

How did it make you feel?

Happy, excited and curious wanting to know how it worked and how to create it. Wanting to work in electricity and become more involved. In fact, I was the first kid in my school to do engineering. The other kids from my school all wanted to do more business-related subjects such as accounting.

Tell us about your education.

After graduating from our junior school years (1 to 10), I got the opportunity to do further education. I chose to do electrical engineering. There were no universities nearby, so I had to travel away from my home to Kathmandu. I went to a University College which is like a technical school in Australia. I completed a Diploma in Electrical Engineering.  Here I learnt more about Electricity, Micro Hydro and the generation of electricity. How it works including the generation and distribution of power. After three years I finished the course and although I don’t like to admit it I was named the dux of the class, getting the highest marks of the school. That felt good.

The National Level Enterprise Challenge Competition

It was during this time the school entered a competition called the National Level Enterprise Challenge Competition. It was organized by the British Council UK as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, called “Skills for Employability” for South and Central Asia. In this competition, we had to solve a local problem. There were 5 of us on the team and our problem that we wanted to solve was dealing with local communities being affected by industrial pollution.

 What did you do?

When I was doing my studies in Kathmandu I used to walk past an area of local housing communities that were close to an industrial area. I noticed that the factories were polluting the air and water that goes into that community. They were churning out smoke from the chimneys and spilling out toxic water into the water supply. We figured if we can do something about that it would make the lives of the people better.

What was your solution?

We used a Reed Bed Plant (found everywhere in Nepal) to purify industrial wastes in the form of solid, liquid and gas. The plant has different chambers and separate purification processes for sewage, wastewater and smoke. Each form of pollutant goes through its respective process to finally be let out through the Reed Bed plant which acts as a natural purifier. The aim was to use the industrial smoke, a dangerous air pollutant, for heating and drying purposes without the application of any other energy source. Same is the case with sewage and other solvent waste, which might, in the end, be turned into reusable resources applying minimum resources.

Why did you do this?

I love my country. It is a place where we always will try to help each other out. Walking past these communities every day made me feel sad. It was making their lives hard and I just wanted to do something about it.

How did you go in the competition?

We won! There were participants from India, Pakistan and many other countries in Asia. This was such a great thing. As we were treated like heroes in Nepal, even our government gave us recognition.

From Nepal to Australia – The story of Diggaj Regmi

What did the competition give you?

Well as competition winners we were flown to England to present our results and share our knowledge. I didn’t even have a passport. The English government helped me with that. I had never been in an aeroplane before and here I was being flown business class, it was amazing. We were even reported in the news by BBC, UK newspapers and Nepal’s National daily news.

Find out more about Diggaj’s journey from In part 2 – Nepal to England