Cornerstone University Student Leads Film Seminar in Nepal
by Danielle Barton (B.A. '19)
On April 25, 2015, the country of Nepal experienced one of the worst earthquakes in history. Measured at 7.8 on the Richter magnitude scale, the earthquake killed nearly 9,000 people, injured thousands more and left the country to rebuild billions of dollars in damage. At the time of the earthquake, Dhiraj Adhikari (B.A. '19), a film and video production major at Cornerstone University, was in the midst of it all.
Over two years after the earthquake, Dhiraj was able to travel back to his home country of Nepal this past summer. While there, he served earthquake victims by filming the progress of the country and teaching a class on filmmaking and photography skills.
"I was praying that I would be able to go back to Nepal for over two years," Dhiraj explained. "My community and my family were praying for me also."
Eventually, his prayers were answered. This past summer, International Aid, a Christian organization that offers medical and disaster relief to countries in need, sponsored his trip back to Nepal. His mission through International Aid was to film a follow-up program on earthquake relief efforts. He also documented the needs of different missionary hospitals.
"When I went back, I was really impressed how the churches there have come together to help those in need," Dhiraj said. "They were always ready and always praying. It gave the Christian community a chance to serve those who were suffering."
However, Dhiraj wanted to do more to give back. He did so by using the skills he had learned at Cornerstone to lead an all day film and photography seminar while in Nepal. The seminar consisted of around 30 students, both male and female from the ages of 18 to 27. These students all had an interest in filmmaking and photography, while the majority of them had hopes to help local Christian churches with their media production skills.
He taught his students how to write stories, make use of basic camera techniques, write scripts for videos and create storyboards. But Dhiraj expressed that there was one thing he taught his students that topped them all—he taught them how to bring the best out of a story, a reoccurring theme he learned through his classes at Cornerstone.
"After the seminar, one man was so excited that he told me that he was inspired to make a Christian film just as I had," Dhiraj said. "He said he would show me his work when I visit Nepal again."
Two personnel from Good News FM, a Christian radio station in Nepal, were also empowered by his instruction.
After this experience, Dhiraj envisions bigger things for this new ministry. His goals include teaching a second, longer seminar and involving more people from Cornerstone University in the project.
"I did not plan this trip and I did not use my own resources for this trip, yet God used me and the skills I had learned to give back to my community," Dhiraj concluded.
Cornerstone University is a Christ-centered university with a passion for global influence through the transforming power of the gospel. As an interdenominational institution located in Grand Rapids, Mich., Cornerstone offers traditional undergraduate programs as well as adult undergraduate and graduate programs through the Professional & Graduate Studies division, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and Asia Biblical Theological Seminary.