The new community centre built for the LGBTI community of Nepal and South, called the Pink Himalayan Centre, was inaugurated today in a grand function. The Centre located at Dhumabarahi is a whitewashed five-story structure. Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s leading LGBTI rights organization will be relocating its offices from Lazimpat – where it has been based for the past 13 years since its founding – to its new premises.
Pink Himalayan Centre was built with financial assistance from the Norwegian Embassy and the U.S. Embassy. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Norwegian Ambassador to Nepal Alf Arne Ramslien, Australian Ambassador to Nepal Glenn White, UNAIDS Country Coordinator Dr. Ruben F. del Prado, and U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Officer Marissa Polnerow. The event also honored Sunil Babu Pant, Founder and ex-Executive Director of Blue Diamond Society and a Member of Parliament (2008-2012). Ms. Pinky Gurung, President of BDS praised Mr. Pant in her welcome speech for the immense contribution he had made to getting the LGBTI movement in Nepal off the ground. H.E. Ambassador Ramslien of Norway who was the chief guest at the function, also credited Mr. Pant and his senior team for their unparalleled dedication to the cause of marginalized sexual and gender minorities in Nepal. The Ambassador also called on the community members to set their sights high on the star and never be scared to work for their noble cause.
Dr. Del Prado of UNAIDS said that the LGBTI community of Nepal had achieved their dream of building its own centre and he praised this huge achievement.
Mr. Pant said that the idea to build the centre six years ago came to him when HIV patients from the LGBTI community were being evicted from places where they were getting shelter and care. So BDS approached the Norwegian Embassy who provided funding to build this centre. It is built on the model of a similar centre in New York City in the United States. Mr. Pant said that this will not just be a concrete structure but a true home for the community, a safe space where they can be comfortable and not have to worry about being judged and harassed. As a community devoted to the well being of its members and the country, BDS will be investing in arts, sciences and cultural activities.
The community centre has office space, a TV and radio studio, a cafeteria, a shelter, conference facilities, and space for vocational skill building classes. The motto of the centre is to promote empowerment, learning, sharing and freedom.
Blue Diamond Society received financial support to build this center from Nepal government, Norwegian government, Danish embassy, US embassy, contributions from community members from in and outside the country.