What It Takes to Be Extraordinary

An inspirational documentary about how Nepal Orphans Home came to be

Nepal is a very difficult place to be a child. The people of Nepal have endured decades of political instability and thousands of children are displaced and living in desperate situations.

Children sold into child slavery are as young as 6 years of age, others are neglected, abandoned, orphaned.

With freedom and a chance to dream, leaders are born. Nestled in the Kathmandu valley of Nepal, there is a very special place where children are free for the first time. Filmed over the course of seven years, What It Takes To Be Extraordinary shares the inspirational story of Michael Hess (Founder of Nepal Orphans Home), who is selflessly dedicating his life to educate, empower and care for impoverished children throughout Nepal, and the many stories of our extraordinary Nepal Orphans Home family of over 140 children… who are the future of Nepal.

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Our Organization

Established in 2005, Nepal Orphans Home (NOH) is a 501(c)(3)charitable organization incorporated in North Carolina, with operations in Nepal. NOH operates a children’s home known as “Papa’s House” and the Chelsea Education and Community Center in the Kathmandu Valley. The children are orphans or have parents unable to provide for them. Most of the children in the homes are girls, since they are more likely to be subjected to abuse and deprivation in Nepal.  More than half of our girls have been rescued from lives of bonded servitude. In addition, NOH Outreach provides assistance to other poor children in Nepal, supporting their education and other basic needs.

Our Goals

Nepal Orphans Home is a grassroots organization supporting what its founder, Michael Hess, has committed his life to doing: rescuing Nepali children from deplorable living conditions and giving them a chance to grow up with an education and health care. Along with these basic rights, the children experience a happier childhood, a safer environment, three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and suitable clothing. Such ordinary expectations for children, but not so ordinary in the lives of many Nepali children.  

Our Mission

Nepal Orphans Home attends to the welfare of children in Nepal who are orphaned, abandoned, or not supported by their parents.  NOH provides for the children’s basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing, as well as schooling and health care, and administers to their emotional needs with love and compassion, allowing them to grow up in a nurturing environment. Our mission is not just to rescue children from abject poverty, but to enable the children to develop and realize their potentials. 

Our Story

Michael Hess found the orphanage in March 2005. This is the story of his discovery.

One fateful day many months ago I walked over the crest of a hill that I had found myself gazing upon nightly from my balcony. The crest was only a mile away, a 20-minute uphill walk. With each step I was leaving the hustle and noise of Kathmandu farther behind and entering a world of relaxed harmony, a quiet and serene landscape of individual small homes with gardens, and more chickens and goats than pedestrians, on the rocky dirt road snaking towards the top. There was a powerful energy of goodwill emanating from the smiles of every person I would pass.

A friend of mine had found an orphanage another mile distant that she said needed some help, and she was anxious to take me there.

As we hiked I felt a tremendous sense of clarity, an awareness that I was in a moment of divine intervention; an unaccountable, quiet excitement started coursing through me that suggested something pretty remarkable was taking place in my life.

When we reached a miserable, abandoned-looking little house I couldn’t imagine anyone living there. “This is it,” my friend offered, and I was sure she was joking. It was still—not a sign of life in the midday heat—and so small. “Namaste!” my friend called out, and in moments we were engulfed by the kind and cheerful residents, some eager, some shy, as they poured out of the house led by “puppy,” the small house mascot and protector. The spirit that came like a cloud around us was thick with love.

It seemed like a reunion had taken place when several hours later I waved goodbye. I felt that all of my life's work was in preparing me for this moment, and I am ready.

Read more about the discovery and renovation of the orphanage
View photos from our homes

The Chelsea Education and Community Center

The Chelsea Education and Community Center (CECC) is an ongoing project that provides vocational training to our NOH children as well as free classes to women in our neighborhood.  Classes currently include computer programming, shoemaking, tailoring, and mathematics. The center also offers workshops in a variety of life skills such as decision-making, organization, public speaking, and managing expenses. Many thanks to Glenn Detrick for spearheading and guiding this significant project in memory of his daughter Chelsea.

Read more about the CECC 

Very Special Music Video by the Children: Lean On Me

This video was filmed in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in 2015. The song "Lean On Me" provides a musical backdrop to show the talent, beauty and resilience of our exceptional young people. We hope you are as moved as we are -- and will continue to support our efforts at Nepal Orphans Home in Kathmandu and beyond.  CLICK HERE TO WATCH