Nepal Orphans Home began in March of 2005 when a friend took Michael Hess to an ‘orphanage’ that needed help in Dhapasi, a village in the northern outskirts of Kathmandu district. He found a small, rundown house with two dozen destitute children. Malnourished, in poor health, and not attending school, the children were forced by the owners to beg on the streets. Michael assumed management of the home, renovated the building, and began Papa’s House to care for the children.
A carpenter from Florida, Michael had never traveled outside the United States until early 2004 when he volunteered with a nongovernmental organization in Nepal, restoring a school building outside of Kathmandu. Moved by the plight of the children, living in poverty, but rich in spirit, Michael vowed to return to help. Within six months Michael did return to Nepal, having sold his home and business in Florida. Coming across the children living in the dilapidated house that day in March transformed his life. And Michael (Papa) has since transformed the lives of hundreds of poor children in Nepal.
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.
Basic information about Nepal Orphans Home, a 501(c)(3) public charity incorporated in Davidson, North Carolina, can be found on the website, www.nepalorphanshome.org. Michael Hess, the founder and director of operations emeritus of NOH, gives periodic updates (http://www.nepalorphanshome.org/news), and his accounts of Papa’s House children best portray the implementation of our mission.
Nepal Orphans Home is listed on Guidestar, a leading source of information on U.S. non-profits. In 2020 Nepal Orphans Home earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest recognition, placing us in the top 0.5% of the over 2.7 million nonprofit organizations on Guidestar, demonstrating our strong commitment to transparency. The NOH profile includes recent annual reports and 990 forms, available as public record. None of the members of the NOH Board of Directors receives compensation for their service.
NOH Guidestar Seal
Nepal Orphans Home funds and advises Papa’s House NGO, our operations in Nepal. There are four divisions of Papa’s House NGO: Papa’s Houses, Chelsea Education and Community Center, Volunteer Nepal, and NOH Outreach.
In 2020 Nepal Orphans Home (NOH) begins its sixteenth year of operations, providing for 47 children in Papa’s House, as well as supporting 26 adolescents from Papa’s House attending college preparatory classes and funding the higher education of 31 other young adults from Papa’s House enrolled in college and university. Nearly half of the children are former Kamlari girls rescued from past indentured servitude.
The Chelsea Education and Community Center (CECC) begins its eighth year of academic enrichment and life skills training for the Papa’s House children and its sixth year of free literacy classes to local women in the community of Dhapasi. Volunteer Nepal (VN) continues hosting international volunteers for service in Nepal and NOH Outreach assists less fortunate throughout Nepal.
Nepal Orphans Home is fortunate to have good management for Papa’s House NGO. Sunita Pandey, who became the Director of Operations in 2018, continues her superb leadership. Educated in India and a teacher by profession, Sunita has been with NOH for eight years, serving effectively in several capacities — initially home schooling some of our new girls, then as an administrator for Volunteer Nepal, followed by Director of NOH Outreach.
Michael Hess (Papa), who until three years ago had been the onsite Director of Operations since his founding of NOH, is still very involved in strategic planning, assisting with fundraising efforts, and advising both Sunita and the NOH Board of Directors. Michael, who continues his parenting and counseling of Papa’s House children, also volunteers as the Director of Children’s Affairs.
|Sunita Pandey with three staff members
(each a former Papa’s House child)
Papa applying tika during Dashain
Prashanna Bista enters his third year as the Director of the Chelsea Center. Caring, diligent, and proactive, Prashanna has led the CECC exceptionally well. He previously earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and has a post-graduate diploma in counseling.
Prashanna (tallest in the center) with CECC staff
Shreya Upadhay, a graduate of Thames International College with a degree in business administration, continues for a third year as Communications Director for Volunteer Nepal.
In August of 2019, Tanya Nair began her work with Papa’s House NGO as the new Director of Transition. A young woman from Mumbai, India, Tanya graduated from Davidson College with a degree in psychology in the spring of 2019. Her responsibilities include working with Papa’s House children and young adults to improve their academics, find internships, and plan for higher education, and leading workshops on life skills.
|Shreya leading a workshop||Tanya, the new Director of Transition|
The NOH Board of Directors works with the Director of Operations and the Papa’s House Board in Nepal in determining the policy for the Papa’s House NGO in Nepal. The president of the Papa’s House Board is Santosh Pant, renowned in Nepal, who has been an advocate for Nepal Orphans Home for many years. Over half of the associated general members or advisers to the board are Papa’s House young adults.
At the beginning of 2020, including the directors, there were forty employees at Papa’s House NGO. Nineteen of the staff are former Papa’s House children, including six who are instructors in the community women’s classes at the Chelsea Center, while also attending college and university. Others on the staff include assistant managers of Papa’s House and coordinators of Volunteer Nepal and NOH Outreach.
Papa’s House NGO employees are dedicated and believe in NOH’s mission. Systematic assessments of employee performance, important for improving the efficiency of operations, providing opportunities for the professional development of employees and relevant input when determining employee compensation increases, are undertaken. In follow-up conferences, each employee receives feedback, including recognition of their strengths and identification of areas for improvement. Then personal goals with action plans are set for the next year.
A Brief History
Over time our operations have expanded to help more children. In 2006, Papa’s Harmony House moved to a new, larger building to accommodate the growing family. NOH began supporting a school for the children, Papa’s Trinity Academy, enabling more than 200 other children from the community to attend. In the first two years of operation, Nepal Orphans Home’s expenses exceeded income, largely from donations, and Michael financed operations out of his own savings.
In 2007, NOH was asked to take over a nearby orphanage with a dozen children. Another building was leased in Dhapasi for a second Papa’s House and additional staff were hired. The enrollment at Papa’s Trinity Academy grew to over 340 children, most attending for free.
Early in 2008, NOH began collaboration with Society Welfare Action Nepal (SWAN), a Nepali nongovernmental organization operating in the Dang district to rescue Kamlari girls from their indentured servitudes. NOH renovated two buildings in Narti and opened the Lawajuni (New Beginning) Home, providing shelter, food, clothing, and health care for girls freed by SWAN. During the year more than 60 girls who had been sold into servitude came to the Lawajuni Home, gaining their freedoms, recovering their childhoods, and attending school. NOH was able to bring 12 of these girls to Dhapasi, raising the number of children provided for in Papa’s Houses to 70.
Also, in 2008, concerns with the management and direction of Papa’s Trinity Academy compelled NOH to cease its support of the school. The children of Papa’s House began to attend the Skylark School, an English-medium, private school in Dhapasi. NOH also initiated support of two schools in remote villages in the Ramechhap district, the Shree Sham Primary School in Dumrikharka and the Mudkeswori Primary School in Votetar, funding hot lunch programs and contributing to teacher salaries and school supplies for over 140 children, most of whom were Dalits (untouchables).
In early 2009, NOH brought another 26 rescued Kamlari girls from Lawajuni to Dhapasi, where the education was significantly better, opening a third home, known as Papa’s Imagine House. The girls moved into the building formerly housing the boys, who relocated to a newly expanded and renovated home on the same grounds, Papa’s Possibilities House.
By 2013, NOH had grown to five Papa’s Houses and 135 children.
In 2013, the Chelsea Education Center opened, providing vocational training classes for the older children of Papa’s House. In 2014, NOH opened a transition house for our college girls to allow them to begin living independently as young adults.
A devastating earthquake outside the Kathmandu Valley shook the nation on April 25, 2015 with the loss of thousands of lives and extensive damage, especially in remote villages. Fortunately, all of Papa’s House children, staff, and Volunteer Nepal volunteers were safe. NOH quickly set up an earthquake relief fund and as donations from friends around the world poured in, NOH began rendering assistance. Volunteer Nepal sent out staff to villages where we had placements to assess the damage and to provide cash for food, as well as supplies (tents, tarps, and blankets). NOH also provided help to locals in Dhapasi, who lost family or suffered destruction of their homes or businesses.
In the summer of 2015, the Chelsea Center offered adult literacy classes to local women in the community of Dhapasi, becoming the Chelsea Education and Community Center (CECC). Nepal Orphans Home purchased a home for our Papa’s Possibilities House. In early fall of 2015, Nepal Orphans Home received a grant for a new building for the Chelsea Education and Community Center and began construction the following year on the grounds of Papa’s Possibilities House. The new Chelsea Center was dedicated in April 2017.
In the summer of 2017, following meetings in Dhapasi, the NOH Board of Directors approved the Strategic Vision of Nepal Orphans Home:
In the long run, Nepal Orphans Home would have one Papa’s House for 40 children and transition housing for our young adults in college or finishing up their advanced vocational training; a robust Chelsea Center, with vocational training, academic enhancement classes and life skills workshops for Papa’s House children, a business incubator program, and an adult literacy program for local community women; a vibrant Volunteer Nepal with annually up to 125 volunteers; and an active Outreach to provide assistance to the less fortunate in Nepal.
In the fall of 2017, the NOH Board of Directors officially approved that the in-country operations of Nepal Orphans Home in Nepal become the Papa’s House Nongovernmental Organization (NGO), rather than an International Nongovernmental Organization (INGO).
In the spring of 2019, the NOH Board of Directors approved a transition plan whereby Nepal Orphans Home will evolve to a public charity with the primary purpose of advising and funding Papa’s House NGO (which includes Papa’s Houses, Chelsea Education and Community Center, Volunteer Nepal, and NOH Outreach) in Nepal. This would allow the Papa’s House NGO to operate more independently and efficiently in Nepal.
Papa’s House is well managed by Nepali staff. The home has a cook and a housekeeper who helps with the cleaning and laundry. In addition to attending to the children, house managers also assist with buying supplies, accompanying children to medical appointments and other errands.
NOH provides transition housing for the young adults who are attending the first year of college preparatory classes (grade 11). These young adults are responsible for taking care of themselves, living on a budget, and maintaining good grades in their studies. The young adults in grade 12 and university programs, whose higher education NOH is funding, live independently.
Papa’s Harmony House and the Chelsea Center are within ten-minute walks to the Skylark School, the English-medium school attended by Papa’s House children through grade 10. Papa’s Harmony House and the college transition Papa’s Sanctuary House, as well as the building for the Volunteer Nepal (which also includes the office for NOH Outreach), and the store front for Papa’s House Tailoring Shops are all leased.
When children arrive at Papa’s House, NOH commits to providing for their shelter, clothing, nutrition, education, and health care until they reach adulthood and are ready to live independently in Nepali society. To monitor the progress of the children, detailed files are kept, consisting of guardianship information from their villages and how the children came to Papa’s House, school and health records, the vocational training and life skills workshops completed, as well as anecdotal information. Moreover, each child has an electronic portfolio of photos depicting them over the years, providing them with a visual history of their lives from the time of their arrival at Papa’s House to the time of their final farewell.
Life at Papa’s House
Papa’s House children are very busy during the school year, six days a week attending Skylark School from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and then the Chelsea Center in the afternoons for academic enrichment sessions. Some of the children practice basketball every day from 6:00–7:15 a.m. at Skylark School. Others take Taekwondo classes in the early mornings.
The children enjoy their Saturdays off from school, breaks in the school year, and holidays, when they can relax and engage in fun activities at Papa’s House and the Chelsea Center, including book clubs and art classes. On Saturdays, all the children gather at Papa’s Harmony House for a common tiffin. Occasionally, travelling artists perform at Papa’s House. Volunteers and visitors to Papa’s House join the festivities.
Papa’s House taekwondo students
During the year there are celebrations of birthdays and holidays, both Nepali (including Holi and Tihar) and American (including Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Often these special days are funded by the generosity of NOH board members and friends.
Celebrating Christmas 2019 at Papa’s House
As Michael says, “We are a really big family, with each child’s joys and fears, smiles, accomplishments, failures, anxieties and laughter, future plans and work to achieve them deeply felt by all.”
Papa’s House children are encouraged and supported to continue their schooling for as long as they are willing and able. In Nepal, upon completing grade 10, students take a Secondary Education Examination (SEE), and after passing it, they may enroll in college preparatory programs, known as Plus 2 (grades 11 and 12). After successfully finishing Plus 2, students may advance to undergraduate programs at the university level.
For the 2019–20 academic year, there were forty-six Papa’s House children enrolled at Skylark School, a local English medium school with 650 children in grades K-10, and our blind child attending a special school. Reflecting the aging of the children in Papa’s House, twenty-eight of the children were in the three upper grades 8–10.
In addition, NOH Outreach provided scholarships for local children from poor families to attend the Skylark English School. These scholarships were funded by a generous donation to Nepal Orphans Home.
Our fourteen students who are in their last year of Skylark
During the year fifty-seven young adults from Papa’s House were enrolled in higher education. Thirty-five were in Plus 2, two-year college-preparatory programs. The other twenty-two young adults from Papa’s House were enrolled in university (four years of study following graduation from grade 12), some studying in Australia.
NOH also supports Papa’s House young adults with vocational training, whether working abroad in programs in China and Germany, or starting their own businesses in Nepal.
Chelsea Education and Community Center
Under the direction Prashanna Bista, the Chelsea Center thrives, offering academic enrichment classes and life skills workshops to Papa’s House children in the afternoons after school and literacy classes to local community women in the mornings. The formal mission statement is:
The Chelsea Education and Community Center supports Papa’s House children and young adults in their transition to adulthood, empowering each individual to create and lead a uniquely meaningful and productive life. The Chelsea Center also promotes the empowerment, personal growth, and social connection of local Dhapasi women.
The campus, funded by a Swiss foundation grant includes: Chelsea Education and Community Center, a three-story new building, with a spacious community room and library, five classrooms for computer labs, math and science classes, and a large balcony on the roof with ample space for workshops, gatherings, and exercise classes; Chelsea Center Annex, also three stories, with a conference room, kitchen, and dining room, classrooms and residence rooms; and the Chelsea Center Office, a smaller two-story attached building for offices.
The New Chelsea Center Building with Annex on the left
and Office on the right
Along the Carola Drosdeck Garden Path
of the Chelsea Center
Programs for Papa’s House Children and Young Adults
Prashanna and the Chelsea Center staff continually evaluate the curricula and programs for effectiveness, as reflected in adjustments in the schedule for after-school education, dynamic workshops, increased collaborations with Skylark School and the staff of Papa’s Houses, the hiring of new teachers, and the development of mentoring programs and vocational training opportunities. Student surveys are used to evaluate teachers and ascertain student interests and needs to improve our programs.
Papa’s House children in grades 3 to 6 attend the Chelsea Center Sunday through Thursday from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. each day, taking math classes, computer classes, and a weekly communication skills class as well as receiving homework support from mentors.
The students in grades 7 and 8 attend the Chelsea Center Sunday through Friday from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. each week, with math classes and computer classes, and a creative writing class. Papa’s House adolescents in grades 9 and 10 also have two science classes during the week.
On many Fridays, the upper-level students (grades 7-10) are invited to the Chelsea Center for special life skills workshops on effective communication, public speaking, writing, motivational talks, and self-awareness activities intended to help their transitions to independence.
The Chelsea Center hosts Friday/Saturday afternoon or evening workshops for NOH young adults currently in their Plus Two schooling. These workshops and events include discussions about career paths and the challenges and opportunities of daily life.
On Saturday mornings, the Chelsea Center is open to Papa’s House children for computer “free time” (e.g., typing practice, email, watching videos on YouTube and accessing other educational resources, including our website whatcanilearntoday.org). Some children participate in book club sessions and others took art classes led by a local artist.
Information technology (IT) is a special interest of the Chelsea Center. In the IT Club, formed in 2019, the children learn and share skills in programming and coding. There are IT career workshops during the year.
There are also enrichment activities such as movies, photography and art exhibitions, chess tournaments, field trips and celebrations at the Chelsea Center. Two editions of Papa’s House News Magazine were published, “The Stories of Our Lives” in March 2019 and “Transitions” in August 2019, featuring stories, reflections, and photos of Papa’s House children.
|A presentation by the IT Club||Indra Khatri, professional artist and Saturday art tutor at the Chelsea Center.|
Business Incubator Program
The Chelsea Center’s Business Incubator Program was initiated in 2017 through the generosity of Australian friends of NOH to support the vocational training, entrepreneurship, and business formation of Papa’s House young adults. One of the ventures promoted is the Brother’s Café, founded by one of the young men who came to Papa’s House as a child over a decade ago, which sells tiffin on the grounds of Skylark School.
Papa’s House Tailoring Shop, managed by two young women from Papa’s House, meets the tailoring needs of Papa’s House children, as well as making the school uniforms for Goldhunga, the home for blind children that NOH supports. A new business venture, independently owned by Director of Operations Sunita Pandey, is Tasty Treats, an ice cream shop, started with a loan from the NOH Business Incubator program and employing Papa’s House young adults.
In May of 2019, ten young adults from Papa’s House participated in the Empower Social Entrepreneurship Program, led by Karina Jensen, Professor of Global Innovation and Leadership at NEOMA Business School in Paris. The two-week intensive program provided a platform for our students to connect with participants from local business schools, work in teams, and learn from Nepali business leaders.
Making momos at the Brother’s Café
Prof. Jensen with student in social entrepreneurship program
The Chelsea Center is open Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for adult education. Over two hundred local women regularly attend English, Nepali, and basic math classes at the Chelsea Center. Most of the women take more than one class each day.
On occasional Fridays, the Chelsea Center offers optional workshops and field trips. Special events are organized with the women such as International Women’s Day Celebration, Diversity Day, and Teej Celebration (one of the most important Hindu Festivals celebrated by Nepali women).
|Community women in class at the Chelsea Center||
Diversity Day celebration
One of the community women attending the Chelsea Center remarked “… we are learning a lot. We are deeply thankful for what this place has done for us, it is a new life for us, a different life. This is like visiting a temple for us. More than a temple, better than a temple. I am very happy.”
NOH started Volunteer Nepal (VN) in 2005 as a program to connect volunteers with talent and passion to serve the poor in need across Nepal. The VN mission statement concisely reflects this purpose:
Volunteer Nepal seeks to foster uplifting change in the lives of underserved people and communities in Nepal by providing heartfelt, profound, and enlightening volunteer experiences for groups and individuals.
Volunteer Nepal in action: lost in translation?
Sirkkha, from Finland, has volunteered several times
Volunteer Nepal provides over two dozen placements throughout Nepal--from Kathmandu to remote villages. Options include volunteering in hospitals and medical clinics, schools, rehabilitation centers, ashrams, human rights NGOs, animal shelters, and village agriculture.
In 2019, Volunteer Nepal hosted forty volunteers. The volunteers came from eleven countries. The top four home countries with their shares of volunteers were the United States (45%), Australia (13%), France (13%) and Austria (8%). Half of the volunteer stints were for two weeks or less.
Volunteer Nepal not only provides valuable services to the poor in Nepal but engenders meaningful cultural exchange between the international volunteers and the Nepalese served. Groups of college and high school students have volunteered as part of their academic programs. Volunteers often give life skills workshops to Papa’s House children and the local community women attending the Chelsea Center. Moreover, Volunteer Nepal generates income and employment in Nepal.
Four French medical volunteers with staff in front of a hospital in Pharping
The ninth edition of Lonely Planet: Nepal listed Volunteer Nepal (and Nepal Orphans Home) among its recommended volunteer organizations. Based on posted reviews, largely by VN volunteers, on Guidestar’s website, NOH earned the GreatNonProfits Top-Rated NonProfit seal for the third year in a row.
Top-Rated 2017, 2018, 2019
Two of the volunteer reviews from 2019 capture the ethos of Volunteer Nepal:
My friend and I had an amazing time in Nepal thanks to this organization! We spent two weeks volunteering at the primary school in the remote village of Ghurjung (just past Ghandruk) after being led there by our wonderful Volunteer Nepal guide. We were able to help out very much at the school, and we had a great time doing it. I’m so glad I was able to come to Nepal and volunteer through this organization because it clearly has such a pure and honest mission. I felt that I was really making a difference, and that the money that I spent on the volunteer fees (which was very affordable for the care and guidance you are provided) were helping out a great cause. I would highly recommend this organization as the best nonprofit to volunteer with for any traveler looking to volunteer in Nepal!
— Jameson (June 2019)
I first visited NOH in 2010. It’s become an annual event. My three grown up children have accompanied at different times and this year my husband is joining me. I love to show them what an incredible organisation this is. To feel the love of the children, to meet volunteers from all over the world and be totally inspired by the outcomes and achievements of Michael Hess’s vision to help people in need. This commitment is overwhelming and with the NOH organisation so much good for so many people is brought about. Each time I visit I return inspired, filled with hope and a feeling of seeing the world in a whole new perspective. About to head off again and can’t wait to be immersed again in this fascinating part of the world.
— Lou (July 2019)
After returning to their homes, volunteers often continue to support Nepal Orphans Home through raising funds, sometimes for specific projects or individuals in need, and spreading awareness of our work in Nepal. Some even start their own non-profits to support NOH and other organizations in Nepal. And some volunteers later became members of the NOH Board of Advisers.
Each year several members of the NOH boards of directors and advisers also volunteer. The income from volunteer fees helps cover the operational expenses of Nepal Orphans Home.
As part of its mission, Nepal Orphans Home has long supported other local charities. Much of our outreach is funded by donations from friends, former volunteers, and board members. In 2019 NOH Outreach provided over $65,000 in assistance.
Earthquake Relief Fund
With the devastating earthquakes in 2015, Nepal Orphans Home set up the NOH Earthquake Relief Fund for both short-term humanitarian assistance and longer-run reconstruction and development. Donations to the NOH Earthquake Relief Fund quickly totaled nearly $142,000. In the aftermath of the earthquake, NOH spent almost $27,000 in relief. The remaining funds were designated to a restricted account for future relief and recovery assistance. In the next three years, NOH spent over $83,000 from its Earthquake Relief Fund, most of these funds went towards the reconstruction of buildings destroyed by the earthquake.
In 2019, another $8,000 was spent from the fund for the reconstruction of homes, including the Everest Children’s Home of Mother Sister Nepal (MSN), in remote Sindhupalchowk for children who lost both parents in the earthquakes, and the family homes of friends in other remote villages.
NOH Outreach has supported the village school in Dumrikharka for the past decade with annual donations for teacher salaries and supplies and for a hot lunch program at the Shree Sham Primary School. After the earthquake NOH contributed nearly $50,000 to build a new school, which was completed in the spring of 2017. Nepal Orphans Home also contributed funds for the construction of a new house and kitchen at Bigu Monastery, which along with Ramechhap, is a popular Volunteer Nepal placement outside the Kathmandu Valley.
|New Shree Sham Primary School in Dumrikharka||New house and kitchen at Bigu|
Over the year, Sunita Pandey, who also serves as Director of NOH Outreach, fields numerous requests for assistance, both from other non-profits and individuals. Assistance agreements between NOH Outreach and the recipients are signed with renewable and review dates pre-established. Progress toward self-sufficiency, where possible, is expected for the recipients.
Among the major projects for NOH Outreach are Kanti Children’s Hospital, Goldhunga Blind Children’s Home, and the Bal Mandir Infant Ward. In some cases, NOH Outreach channels designated donations to other organizations and selected individuals in Nepal.
With generous donations from the Healing Buddha Foundation, NOH supports terminally ill children in the cancer ward at Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu. Fresh fruit and food treats are supplied twice a week and birthdays of the children are celebrated, complete with birthday cake, candles, presents, balloons and sweets. Support, generally for pain medication, but also for food and shelter, is provided for poor families, usually from remote areas, with children at the hospital. NOH has created a “Make A Wish” program for these sick children.
NOH also support the Goldhunga Blind Children’s Home in the Kathmandu Valley, paying the salaries of the staff and the expenses of school uniforms and shoes. A young adult from Papa’s House is the coordinator of this NOH Outreach program and visits the home every Tuesday and Friday, bringing milk and fruit for the children and helping them with their academics.
Over the years NOH has assisted the baby orphanage at Bal Mandir, providing the infants with food, health check-ups and other supplies. One of the Papa’s House young adults works alongside the Bal Mandir staff daily to care for the infants. NOH has been supplying infant formula and baby food and subsidizing the staff salaries.
|Young patients at Kanti Children’s Hospital||Anisha of Papa’s House helping at Bal Mandir|
NOH Outreach also provides tuition support for other children, mostly for attending Skylark School. In 2019 the primary education of forty-six children (including a half dozen children outside the Kathmandu Valley) was funded. NOH Outreach also provides temporary support to see local families through crises, and occasionally offers longer term assistance when needed.
Communications and Fundraising
Effective communications through the NOH website, social media, and public profiles have not only increased awareness of Nepal Orphans Home, but enhanced fundraising.
In the fall of 2016, NOH Board of Director Toni Thomson’s documentary film about Michael Hess and the children of Papa’s House, What It Takes to Be Extraordinary, was shown at three film festivals, including the LA Femme International Film Festival in Los Angeles, where Toni’s film received an award for the ‘Best Foreign Documentary.’ During the year, several members of the NOH boards screened the documentary in their communities, including Davidson, Cleveland, the Bay Area of California, and New South Wales, Australia. Also, the film was screened by friends of Nepal Orphans Home at fundraisers in London and Belgium.
The poster for Toni’s best foreign documentary
Throughout the year NOH Newsletters are sent to over two thousand subscribers. Last year, in addition to the two regular editions, which contained Papa’s Updates, there were two special editions, which highlighted Giving Tuesday and Holiday Greetings, thanking NOH donors and appealing for additional support.
NOH maintains an active presence on Facebook, posting a message, on average, twice a week. At the end of 2019 there were over 3,500 followers on the NOH Facebook page.
Nepal Orphans Home depends on donations. In 2019, over two hundred individuals around the world directly donated to NOH, with members of the NOH boards among the generous supporters. We have been inspired by the gifts of friends, who have seen or heard about our good work in Nepal. Moreover, many other individuals have supported NOH through the online fundraising platforms, including Network for Good, UniversalGiving, and AmazonSmile.
Some individuals designate uses for their donations, including specific NOH Outreach projects. Friends and former volunteers have contributed towards an entrepreneurial fund for the Chelsea Center’s Business Incubator Program.
Other monetary gifts are received through benefits and fundraisers. Friends and members of our boards have organized events from bake sales and lemonade stands to silent auctions, fitness events and ballroom festivals. Others have given presentations in their communities to raise awareness of Nepal Orphans Home. Sometimes visitors and volunteers bring donated goods to Papa’s House.
There are fundraising appeals through our Facebook page. Last year a long-time friend and supporter asked for donations to NOH for her birthday celebration. NOH also received support from civic organizations, including churches, schools, and a Girl Scout troop in the U.S., and several businesses (with matching employee contributions).
|Ninth annual bake sale of young supporters in California||A NOH board member’s Facebook Fundraiser|
Nepal Orphans Home is fortunate for the steadfast support of Board of Directors member Toni Thomson’s Possible Worlds Foundation (PWF). Based in Canada, PWF has been integral in raising awareness and generating funds for our mission over many years. In 2019 Possible Worlds Foundation donations supported the education of Papa’s House children, art classes at the Chelsea Center, and Valentine’s Day at Papa’s House.
During the year, Nepal Orphans Home also received grants from the Hayworth Foundation and the Wilson Sexton Foundation. The Angel Fund Foundation made a designated donation for art supplies and the salary of the Chelsea Center art teacher. Since late 2017 the Healing Buddha Foundation of the United States has funded our outreach to Kanti Children’s Hospital. In 2019, Nepal Orphans Home was awarded a large grant from Silicon Valley Community Foundation for the Tracy Brunetti Scholarship Fund for the higher education expenses of Papa’s House children attending colleges and universities.
Nepal Orphans Home is grateful to Aakriti’s Kids Foundation for providing for Aakriti, our young, blind girl living in Papa’s House. Before closing in early 2019, the foundation made a large grant to NOH for Aakriti’s future care.
Nepal Orphans Home is proud of every one of the children who’ve come to Papa’s House. The education and opprtunities for our children are made possible by the generosity of our donors. Perhaps no one epitomizes the mission of Nepal Orphans Home better than the young man, Chham Gurung. Michael in Papa’s House Update (June 2019) tells his story:
Chham was among those in the first home we took over in 2005. He was perhaps eight years old then and exhibited a remarkable energy and desire for helping. He was a “big” brother to his smaller siblings and even some older than him. He was a very quiet boy who knew his environment well--his expression always a slight smile with curious, yearning eyes.
Chham graduated with a degree in social work two years ago. Before graduating, he decided that the best he can do in social work is to be independent and simply do it. He has worked hard all his life and saved his money. After the earthquake [in 2015] Chham managed to rebuild a small school and his family’s home in his remote mountain village; he did so with his own labor and that of village people he organized, his savings, and money gifted to him for the cause.
In college Chham always had a side gig, or two, or three. He sold light bulbs door to door, vegetables on the street with a pushcart, then he decided to furnish pushcart sellers with vegetables. He has a keen eye for how success can be achieved by hard work and thinking how to do better, how to develop a niche that others have not seen missing.
Presently Chham is the owner of Four Brothers Trekking, a business he started three years ago including his three brothers, hardworking, honest Gurung men, who had earlier worked as porters. Chham has received his license from the government in high-altitude trekking...a major accomplishment. Chham has recently put money down on a jeep to take trekkers to remote areas.
Chham in early 2005, when Papa’s House began….and in 2019 in his ‘new’ 20-year-old jeep
Biographies of Nepal Orphans Home Board Members
Michael Hess, founder of Nepal Orphans Home, is the Emeritus Director of Operations for NOH in Dhapasi, Nepal. He is the proud father of two wonderful sons, grandfather to four precious and missed grandchildren in the States, and Papa to over a hundred exceptional children in Nepal, helping them to have a strong family life, turning their hopes into reality.
Board of Directors
Hillary Bernhardt, a 2015 Davidson College graduate, lived in Nepal for nearly two years serving the children of Papa’s House and the local women of Dhapasi through her work at the Chelsea Center. The experience of becoming embedded in the Dhapasi community has enriched her life immensely. Hillary completed her MBA at Yale School of Management in 2020 with the intent of working at the intersection of private and public sectors.
Carola Drosdeck serves as vice president of NOH. She is a retired elementary teacher with most recent experience in the Shaker Heights (OH) City Schools. Previously, Carola was Assistant Director of Teacher Education Programs at John Carroll University. She volunteers at Nepal Orphans Home regularly and continues to be inspired by the resilience, curiosity, and spirit of NOH's children.
Peter Hess, a retired professor of economics at Davidson College, has served as president of NOH since 2006. He and his wife, Boo, who served as NOH secretary/treasurer until 2017, have two grown sons and three young granddaughters. They have volunteered at Papa's House a half-dozen times over the years. Their lives have been immeasurably enriched by Nepal Orphans Home and the amazing children of Papa's House.
Antonia (Toni) Thomson specializes in Post-Production, Marketing and Documentary Filmmaking. Inspired by Michael’s work and the incredible children of NOH, Toni welcomed the position of NOH board director in 2007, and founded a registered Canadian charity “Possible Worlds Foundation” to further support NOH. She has visited NOH several times and looks forward to future visits. Toni lives in Toronto, Canada with her young son Tashi.
Ted Seymour first came to Nepal in 2014 where he met Papa and has returned annually in support of the efforts of NOH and the Chelsea Center. Based in Northern California, he received an MBA from UC Berkeley and successfully created a systems’ consulting firm before “retiring” in 2001. His passions include photography, writing, coaching high school tennis, music, and exploring the world. His “happy place” is working directly with the kids and young adults of NOH and he can often be found with a guitar on a rooftop in Kathmandu.
Rajesh Trivedi, a retired internal audit professional in Florida, is professionally qualified in Accounting and Auditing from the USA and New Zealand. Raj was born and raised in India and had visited Nepal several times in the past. As an avid volunteer from an early age, Raj was innately drawn to the work of Michael Hess at Papa's House. He is inspired and proud of the organization's unwavering determination to provide access, opportunity, and most of all, happiness to such courageous children.
Board of Advisers
Suresh Acharya, a software professional, lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife Namita and teenage daughters Shaily and Saurya. He was born and raised in Nepal and did his undergraduate work at Davidson College. Suresh and his family spent time at Papa’s House and the Chelsea Center in the summer of 2016 and are deeply appreciative of the great work Michael and the organization have done for the children of Nepal.
Marie-Cecile (Cici) Caillet, born and raised in France, has lived in the US for the past 28 years. Cici is a former preschool teacher and works now as a teacher assistant in a French International School in San Francisco. Since first volunteering at NOH in 2012, she has been an enthusiast supporter of the organization and returns each year to work with the children. Cici has a passion for cooking and enjoys sharing her culinary creations with the children of NOH.
Tyler Drosdeck, an artist and musician, lives in New York City. He first volunteered with the organization in 2014 and returned in 2017. He is forever touched by the community and spirit of the Nepal Orphans Home children, staff, and volunteers.
Elizabeth Dock Early lives in Madison, Connecticut and has three grown children and two grandchildren. She works for a local health department and is involved in many civic organizations. She is passionate about the mission of NOH. Liz serves as bookkeeper for NOH and is firmly committed to supporting the children of Papa’s House. She first volunteered at NOH in 2011 and makes annual visits.
Liz Early is a French Teacher at North Attleborough High School in Massachusetts. Since her first visit Nepal Orphans Home in 2011, Liz Jr. has been back to visit four more times, raising money and bringing donations each time. She is always inspired by the success and happiness of the children at NOH and can’t wait for many more visits.
Laura Handy-Nimick began teaching in 2005 after obtaining a Masters in Teaching degree from The Evergreen State College. She is passionate about teaching, equity in education, and supporting underprivileged children. She began volunteering for Nepal Orphans Home in 2009, which inspired her and her husband to co-found Life’s Handy Work, an organization committed to providing the children of NOH with funding for post-secondary education and training.
Anne McCadden lives in Marin County, California with her husband, Dan, and two daughters. Since first volunteering at NOH in 2011, she has made annual trips to Nepal, becoming a dedicated advocate for the NOH cause. Anne and her family have rallied their local schools and community to support the mission of NOH through various fundraisers. Anne also helps oversee the accounting functions of NOH.
Tanya Nair served as the Director of Transition for the children of Papa’s House from 2019 to 2020. During her time at Papa’s House, she developed a wonderful relationship with the children. She firmly believes that education can empower and transform lives and has observed it firsthand through NOH’s work. She was born and raised in Mumbai, India and completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology from Davidson College.
Michael Abraham Triozzi served as Director of Volunteer Nepal from 2013 to 2014, as temporary manager of the Nepal Orphans Home boys’ house following the earthquakes in 2015, and as Director of the Chelsea Education and Community Center. Prior to this he worked as a professional campaign manager and activist in the state of Ohio. He has served with the U.S. Peace Corps in Morocco and the Republic of Georgia. Michael has loved having the opportunity to learn and grow alongside his brothers and sisters at NOH.