The community effort to repair the statue of Mahatma Gandhi standing outside of the Bellevue Library has paid off, with 47 people donating a combined $1,582 for the replacement of the statue’s glasses.
On Tuesday, Oct. 2, Bellevue resident Narendra Chandel was walking past the Bellevue Library and stopped to take a look at the library’s statue of Mahatma Gandhi, an internationally known Indian activist who spoke out against British rule.
The statue itself was installed by the National Federation of Indian-American Associations (NFIAA) and the Federation of Indian-American Association Washington in 2009.
When Chandel got a closer look at the statue, he noticed something was odd about the statute. The glasses had been removed and the nose was dented.
“This was concerning to me. Gandhi’s glasses are an icon,” Chandel said.
Chandel reached out to the library staff. They worked to contact the artist who crafted the statue and get a quote for the replacement of the glasses. Chandel heard back a week later and got a quote of $1,365.
In order to pay for the purchase, Chandel created a GoFundMe page to spread the word and collect donations from the Bellevue community. He posted links on social media and shared with friends and family to spread the word.
“The cool thing is when I created the Facebook page it created a lot of awareness in the community,” he said. “So many people didn’t know there was a Gandhi statue here.”
The funding goal was quickly surpassed and the fundraiser was closed after just 13 days with a total of $1,582 raised. While the majority of the money will go to paying for the new glasses, the rest of the money will be donated directly to the Bellevue Library to purchase more books, he said. The glasses are expected to arrive in mid-November.
Chandel also said that he and the NFIAA plan to meet with city administration to discuss ongoing options for maintenance and repair of the statue, to help make sure that vandalism does not happen again. Chandel said this incident was the second time the statue has been vandalized, and he hopes that finding an ongoing solution will keep the monument safe.