When Kathy McFarland first traveled to Nepal, she was expecting to work on the film that her husband, Rick, was directing. As the founding members of a Salt Lake City-based film production company Fiftyfilms, the pair was beginning production on “Highway to Dhampus,” a film set in Nepal, inspired heavily by Rick’s personal experience.
After spending time with the Nepalese people, Kathy saw another opportunity: to give aid to the people of Nepal.
Kathy and Rick are founders of Mind the Gap Worldwide, a humanitarian aid organization with a mission statement to “build, strengthen and sustain individuals, families and communities in need.” Through showings of the film “Highway to Dhampus,” the organization raises awareness and funds for aid in Nepal.
And now the film is coming to BYU with an added attraction. Bishnu Adhikari, a Nepalese humanitarian leader featured in the film “Meet the Mormons,” is attending the screening and conducting a Q&A session afterward.
Adhikari lives in Nepal and leads humanitarian efforts to improve the lives of Nepalese people. After last year’s earthquakes, Adhikari has been actively engaged in relief efforts, coordinating with his brother, Chandra, a member of Mind the Gap Worldwide. Adhikari is coming to answer questions about what BYU students can do to get involved in the relief effort.
One way BYU students can get involved, according to Kathy, is to host their very own screenings of the film.
Mind the Gap Worldwide intern Jesse Thompson said because many of the founders of the organization graduated from BYU, they have a strong representation on campus. Mind the Gap Worldwide also has student interns and student volunteers.
“This nonprofit was started with a lot of heart from the McFarland family and anyone talking to them can feel the great love they have for these people,” Thompson said. “This isn’t just another nonprofit but one that truly was founded on the basic principles of love for fellowmen.”
Kathy said the organization was directly inspired by the people they met on the production of the film. Her husband immediately fell in love with the people he met and decided they needed to do something to help.
“(Rick) saw the huge gap between the people’s needs and their ability to overcome the challenges that they face,” Kathy said. “So we decided that we’d be interested in using this film to help Nepal.”
After their experiences in Nepal, Kathy and Rick returned to Utah and created Mind the Gap Worldwide. The organization works directly alongside the “Highway to Dhampus” production in order to spread awareness of the current state of the Nepalese people.
Their timing in making the film and organizing their aid efforts turned out to be more valuable than they had imagined. The April 2015 earthquakes that devastated Nepal brought the world’s attention to the country, as Nepal looked for aid to help earthquake relief efforts. The McFarlands hope their film and their organization can help.
“The earthquakes widened the gap even more and made their needs even greater,” Kathy said. “We feel like it’s good timing that the film’s coming out right at this time. Lots of other organizations contacted us about using ‘Highway to Dhampus’ to show at their own events to raise money for Nepal aid.”
Kathy said the film has already been shown in England, Canada, Australia and across the United States, with more screenings being organized. At every screening, all of the ticket sales go directly to the Nepalese fund.
Mind the Gap Worldwide will be holding a screening of the film “Highway to Dhampus” in conjunction with Graduates for Social Innovation. The screening will be at 5:00 pm on Feb. 9 in the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium. Admission is free.