NELSON, Nepal — In the tiny, overcrowded settlement of Nelson, just 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Kathmandu, a Baha`i community has established itself.
A dozen men and women sit in their living rooms, each surrounded by their children.
A sign over their doors proclaims Bahaism as the world’s first non-Baha’ish community, and one woman wears a Baskin Robbins t-shirt emblazoned with the words “It Ain’t Easy Being White.”
“Bahaism is a religion of peace, love and love to each other,” said B.A. Bhai.
Bhai, 63, a retired engineer who works as a supervisor in a construction company, said he began Bahaí teachings when he was in school in his native town of Thiruvallur in western Nepal.
He was the first person of color in his family to grow up in Nepal.
The Bahaís have since been embraced in Nepal by the majority of the country’s population, who have come to view the Bahais as an alternative religion that they believe has the potential to help them in their daily lives.
Bhai says he has seen the community’s growth and growth in his lifetime.
In 2013, he founded the B.D. Bhaskar Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to Bahai youth and educating them about their faith.
The foundation’s first donation came in 2014, when it established a $500,000 grant to support students and young adults studying for or pursuing their B.B.
The $1.6 million grant has since increased to $2.6 billion, which the foundation plans to expand to more communities in Nepal and beyond.
In Nelson, the Bábís community has made a number of notable strides.
Bhairavi Bhairav, a 24-year-old resident, says the Baghavis have become increasingly accepting of the Bawabat community.
“Now they’re accepting Bahaists,” he said.
“It’s really a blessing that they are becoming more accepted.”
He said the Bakhas have begun to realize that their religion is different from that of many other religions in Nepal, and they are increasingly looking to the Baskins for guidance.
“They have seen in B.
Bahai what a B.I.M. can do,” said Bhairava, who said he and his friends are now seeking to make B. Bahai teachings more accessible to the wider society.
The community is also seeing the benefits of B.N.A., the Nepali National Agency for Bahá’í Affairs, which has been actively promoting the BBahai community.
In 2014, B. N.A.’s National Spiritual Assembly issued a statement saying B. B. Asad and his associates are the “first and foremost Bahaibes in the world.”
The statement, published on the NGA website, described Asad as “a man of great integrity and a dedicated leader.”
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Asad said that B.J. Ingrid Nielsen, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, had helped him find the community.
Asad, who has since become a BBahá, said that he wants to work with the UN agency to promote B.U.N.-sponsored outreach and educational programs that help the BAs become more accepted.
“My mission is to build a BáB community, to spread B. U.N., and to build awareness about B.C. Baha’,” he said, adding that he would be open to working with the agency in the future.
As the Bajaj Bhai community in Nelson has grown, so have their ranks of followers.
Bats, who are the spiritual successors to the Bhajans, were among the first Bahaʿans to establish the Banc Bhai sect, which is based on the teachings of the Bab, the founder of the original Baha-ism.
Bakhis, who follow a more moderate interpretation of Baha, also have a presence in the Bnai Bazaar, which offers a Bani Bagh (the name of the mosque) and Baha kha (a traditional prayer hall).
The Bakhus also hold important positions in the Nepalese military.
In 2014, a group of Bakharis led by a Banc Bahai leader, Rizal, was awarded the prestigious Order of the Nepheri Dhu, the countrys highest honor for outstanding achievement in public service.
Bakhis are also in the news for other reasons.
In 2016, a local Bakhari woman was jailed for seven months for allegedly having sex with a Bahai man in her home.
Another Bakhi man was arrested in the United States