Teen Refugee Collects Coats with the Help of Mark Cuban

After coming to the United States as a refugee, 18-year-old Ashis Dhakal wanted to give back to his community.

Despite being teased in school for his religious beliefs, Dhakah’s Hindu faith motivated him to create Ashis Collects Clothes, a charity that organizes clothing drives and donations for families in need.

“I got bullied in school … they called me a terrorist and stuff like that,” Dhakal said. “I practice Hinduism, and in Hinduism, service is very, very important, because, you know, we’re taught to give, and even if you don’t have anything, we try to give as much as we can.”

Ashis Collects Clothes conducted its first clothing drive in 2019 collecting everything from socks, hats, jackets, coats and shoes.

“With that project, I was able to bring so many people together and change so many lives,” Dhakal said. “My biggest ‘why’ in my life is that as a young child, going through poverty, I was in the same shoes as they were in right now. I have a house. I have a computer now. I have a phone. But think about it. Those kids are still suffering. What I can do is better others so that, you know, they can give back to their community.”

Inspired by billionaire philanthropist Mark Cuban, Dhakal wants to be an entrepreneur and start his own business. “Mark Cuban is a great, great, great entrepreneur/philanthropist,” Dhakal said. “The work that he has done for his community is awesome. I want to be on his level someday.”

Inspired by Dhakal’s stories, Cuban challenged Dhakal to collect 575 coats to give away to those in need.

Using relationships with local non-profits leaders in the Dallas area, Dhakal connected with Amy Dott Harmer of Serve Refugees. Partnering, Dhakal and Hammer organized local clothing drop-off points across the city. 

Dhakal said, “The momentum just kept going and going, going.”

Over the course of four days, Dhakal collected thousands of coats.

“I never dreamed of collecting 3,000 coats, but Utah has made it possible, and the people that I connected with made it possible,” Dhakal said.

Cuban responded to Ashis’ success saying, “You’re setting an example, Ashis, that it’s not about connections. It’s not about who you know. Effort. It’s all about how hard you’re willing to work to get something done.”

Subsequently, Comcast matched the number of coats collected for the refugees.

Grateful for the opportunity to interact with his hero, Dhakal said, “I’m very, very grateful and happy to be in a position where I am to bring my community together and make an impact.”

Source: Today Show