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 children in Nepal.
Nepal Orphans Home (NOH) 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, founder and director of operations emeritus of NOH, gives periodic updates 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 2022, for the third year in a row, Nepal Orphans Home earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest recognition, placing us in the top 0.5% of the 1.8 million nonprofit organizations on GuideStar, demonstrating NOH’s strong commitment to transparency in its mission and operations. The NOH profile on GuideStar 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.
Nepal Orphans Home funds and advises Papa’s House NGO, the operations in Nepal, including Papa’s House, the Chelsea Education and Community Center, and NOH Outreach.
In 2023, Nepal Orphans Home begins its nineteenth year, providing for children living in Papa’s House and adolescents living in transition housing while attending college preparatory classes, as well as supporting the higher education of young adults living independently. The Chelsea Education and Community Center (CECC) enters its eleventh year of academic enrichment and life skills training for the Papa’s House children and its ninth year of free literacy classes to local women in the community of Dhapasi. NOH Outreach continues providinge assistance.
In 2023, Sunita Pandey enters her sixth year as Director of Operations of Papa’s House NGO. Educated in India and a teacher by profession, Sunita has been with NOH for over a decade, serving effectively in several capacities — initially home schooling our new girls, then as an administrator for Volunteer Nepal, followed by Director of NOH Outreach.
Sunita Pandey and Papa’s House children on the morning walk to Skylark School
Prashanna Bista begins his sixth year as the Director of the Chelsea Center. He previously earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and has a post-graduate diploma in counseling. His leadership has been both steadying and innovative.
Prashanna Bista leading a workshop on Wellbeing at the Chelsea Center
The founder of NOH, Michael Hess (Papa), while retired in North Carolina, remains in regular contact with Sunita and Prashanna, offering guidance. Moreover, he continues to be very involved in strategic planning, donor relations and fundraising for Nepal Orphans Home, as well as advising the NOH Board of Directors, and mentoring the young adults of Papa’s House.
Michael administering tika at Papa’s House on his visit in the fall of 2021
Including the directors, there are twenty-five employees at Papa’s House NGO. Half of the staff are former Papa’s House children, including seven who are instructors at the Chelsea Center, while also attending college and university; assistants with NOH Outreach; the Papa’s House bookkeeper; the Papa’s House photographer; and the staff at Hope’s Cafe.
Under the Papa’s House Human Resources Policy, employee benefits include medical insurance, a Dashain allowance, 14 paid holidays, 12 days of paid personal leave, 60 days of paid maternal leave, and 13 days of paid mourning leave. In addition, there are funds for personal and professional development and special circumstances support (including assistance with family responsibilities). Papa’s House Enrichment and Social Capital Fund can be drawn on by the directors to purchase items and pay for events that extend beyond normal programming and operating costs of the organization and provide enrichment, foster cooperation, extend mutual trust, and build morale. Moreover, Papa’s House NGO’s Enhanced Savings Plan provides employees each year with three percent of final salaries as accumulated savings when the individuals leave Papa’s House NGO employment.
A Brief History
Over time, 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 opened a school for the children, Papa’s Trinity Academy, enabling more than two hundred other children from the community to attend. In the first two years of operation, Nepal Orphans Home’s expenses exceeded income, largely from individual donations, and Michael Hess 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 three hundred 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 provide for Kamlari girls rescued from their indentured servitudes. NOH renovated two buildings in Narti, outside the municipality of Lamahi, and opened the Lawajuni (New Beginning) Home, providing shelter, food, clothing, and health care for the girls freed by SWAN. During the year more than sixty 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 twelve of these girls to Dhapasi, raising the number of children provided for in Papa’s Houses to seventy.
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 nearby 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 one hundred children, most of whom were Dalits (untouchables).
In early 2009, NOH brought another twenty-six 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 with 135 children. In that year, 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 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 began to offer 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 from a Swiss foundation 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 fall of 2017, following summer meetings in Dhapasi, the NOH Board of Directors, the NOH Board of Directors officially approved that the in-country operations of Nepal Orphans Home in Nepal would be Papa’s House NGO, a Nongovernmental Organization, 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 would 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.
In late March of 2020, with just the first cases of COVID-19 reported, the government of Nepal imposed a strict lockdown on the population. For the most part, individuals were confined to their houses, with only limited opportunities in the mornings for going out to purchase food, medicines, and other essentials. Shortly before the lockdown was announced, Papa’s House had sent most of the children back to their home villages where they would be safer than in the congregated living in Papa’s House in Dhapasi. Several children, however, without any family to return to, remained at Harmony House, under the care of the house manager. NOH supported the children back in their villages with cash transfers and the young adults in college living independently in Dhapasi with stipends for room rent and food. Like primary schools and colleges, the Chelsea Center closed for on-site classes. With international volunteers unable to enter Nepal, Volunteer Nepal suspended operations.
In November of 2020, after the Tihar holiday, the Director of Operations, in consultation with her staff, felt it was safe to bring the children back to Papa’s House. Six new girls were also welcomed at Papa’s House. Although the pandemic persisted through 2021, the children remained at Papa’s House. Periodic lockdowns prevented the children attending their schools and necessitated online classes. NOH continued to support the higher education of Papa’s House young adults.
Papa’s House is well managed by Nepali staff. The home has a head manager and an assistant manager, a cook, who also serves as the house mother, and a housekeeper who helps with the cleaning and laundry. In addition to attending to the children, house managers assist with buying supplies, accompanying children to medical appointments and other errands. Two Papa’s House young adults in university also live in the house to help the children with their homework and studies.
At Papa’s House, the health and wellbeing of the children are carefully maintained. Ill children are taken to the doctor or, if needed, to the hospital. All the children have dental and vision check-ups during the year. As soon as available, all the children received the COVID vaccine and booster.
Dental check-up at Papa’s House
Papa’s House is within a ten-minute walk to the Skylark School, the English-medium school attended by Papa’s House children through grade 10. For Papa’s House adolescents who are attending college preparatory classes (grade 11 and 12) and university, NOH supports their independent living with rent and and food allowances. These students are responsible for taking care of themselves, living on a budget, and maintaining good grades in their studies.
Papa’s House young adults can expect support for the tuition and fees for their college and university studies, subject to satisfactory academic achievement. Those not on a university track receive support for vocational training and internships. Young adults choosing to work abroad with a secure job arranged through friends of NOH are supported with their international travel fees and initial living expenses. Those who decide not to continue with higher education and are ready to live independently in Nepal are provided with final stipends for transitioning into society.
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 and life skills workshops. Some of the children choose to practice basketball every day from 6:00 – 7:15 a.m. at Skylark School.
For enrichment, all the major festivals throughout the year are celebrated, including the western Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and the Nepali Women’s Day, Holi, Brothers’ Day, Sisters’ Day, Dashain, and Tihar. The young adults living independently are invited to join Papa’s House children and staff at these times. The children’s birthdays are honored and there are outings like hikes, picnics, and movie nights at the Chelsea Center.
May picnic to Dhulikhel, a popular destination
Every year, grade ten graduates are taken to Pokhara for three days of sightseeing. In 2022 twenty-five young adults made the trip, including the graduates from 2021 and 2020, whose trip had to be postponed due to the COVID in those years.
Grade ten grads at Pokhara
As Michael always says, “Papa’s House is a really big family, with each child’s joys and fears, smiles, accomplishments, setbacks, 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 wish and are able to maintain satisfactory academic standing. 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.
In the 2022 school year, twenty-one Papa’s House children attended Skylark School, the English-medium elementary school in Dhapasi. Two were in class 1; one in class 3; two in class 4 ; two in class 6; two in class 7; four in class 8; five in class 9; and three in class 10.
Twenty-six young adults were enrolled in higher education. There were eleven in Plus 2, most in the management program at Herald College. Fifteen young adults were in bachelor’s programs. Nine were in their first years at St. Xavier, Herald and Imperial Colleges and Sushila Art Academy. One was in his second year at Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management. Five were in their third years: Herald College (Management and Computer Science), Engineering (Himalayan Whitehouse College), and Manmohan Memorial (Medical Laboratory Technology Program).
Three young adults were taking bridge courses, preparing for study or work abroad. Three others were working, having completed grade 12 and considering programs abroad. Four young adults had completed their bachelor’s and were working in Nepal, two as instructors at the Chelsea Center.
Three of our young adults were studying in Australian universities, another was in university in Japan, and one young man was on full scholarship at Davidson College in North Carolina. Two young women were working and studying in nursing school in Germany. Two other young women were working in Portugal.
Seventeen young adults from Papa’s House took advantage of the final stipends for independent living. All had completed Plus 2 and were in their early twenties.
In 2022, Dhiraj Yadav graduated from Federation University in Australia with a major in Information Technology, becoming the first young adult from Papa’s House to graduate from a foreign university. After graduating, he joined Systemnet in Sydney as a Systems Engineer, where he was awarded Employee of the Year with over 1,600 billable hours delivered to the company.
Dhiraj at Papa’s House in 2007
Dhiraj at graduation from Federation University – March 2022
Chelsea Education and Community Center
The Chelsea Center provides academic enrichment classes and life skills workshops to Papa’s House children in the late afternoons after school, and literacy classes to local community women in the mornings. The Center’s formal mission statement is:
The Chelsea Education and Community Center supports Papa’s House children 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 the Swiss foundation grant in 2015 includes: the Chelsea Education and Community Center, a three-story 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; the 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.
Chelsea Center Campus: the new building with CECC Annex in the back and Office at the front
Along the Carola Drosdeck Garden Path of the Chelsea Center
Programs for Papa’s House Children and Young Adults
The Chelsea Center is open to Papa’s House children in Grade 1-Grade 10 at the Skylark School as well as to the young adults who are attending their Plus Two classes at Herald and Southwestern Colleges, and the young adults who were pursuing their bachelor’s degree.
Papa’s House children below grade 7 attend the Chelsea Center Sunday through Thursday from 3:45 to 5:45 p.m. taking math and computer classes, as well as receiving homework support from mentors. On Fridays, these children engage in extra-curricular activities and project work.
The students in grades 7 to 10 attend the Chelsea Center Sunday through Friday for the same two hours each school week for eight Math classes and two Computer classes (two Q-Basic programming classes based on the school curriculum as well as one HTML website design class). For grades nine and ten students, “Life Skills and Career” workshops were designed to help prepare for their transitions to independence.
The Chelsea Center provides much more than academic enrichment classes for Papa’s House children. Yoga and meditation sessions have become integral parts of the mental wellness programs. On most Fridays, upper-level students (grades seven through ten) are invited to the Chelsea Center for special life skills workshops or activities, like educational talks, self-awareness activities, basic life skills (communication and public speaking skills, writing skills), Do-It-Yourself activities and health workshops. Programs such as sports days, tournaments, games and fun workshops are often held on Fridays.
The Chelsea Center hosts Friday and Saturday afternoon or evening workshops for 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 through our website ‘whatcanilearntoday.org’ with links to Khan Academy, Code Academy, Coursera, edX, and TED Talks. Some children participate in book club sessions and others take art classes led by a local artist.
Information technology (IT) is a special focus of the Chelsea Center. In the IT Club, formed in 2019, the children learn and share skills in programming and coding. There are additional IT career workshops during the year.
A presentation by the IT Club
Indra Khatri, professional artist and Saturday art tutor at the Chelsea Center
Adult education is available at the Chelsea Center from Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Three Basic English classes, six Intermediate English classes, two Advanced English classes, two Basic Nepali Literacy classes, two Intermediate Nepali classes, one Advanced Nepali class, one Basic Math class, one Intermediate Math class, and two Advanced Math classes are offered.
In 2022, over a hundred local women regularly attended classes at the Chelsea Center. Most of the women took more than one class each day. For example, many students who were enrolled in an English class were also taking Nepali or Math Literacy classes in the next hour. The Chelsea Center organized over a dozen workshops and events for the women. On Fridays, clubs for mobile learning, dance, and communication met.
In August, in preparation for upcoming exams, women learned new strategies for test preparation, including academic and psychological techniques. After their exams, students at the Chelsea Center met individually with their teachers to go over their results. Such individualized attention promoted increased learning.
… and feedback
Community celebrations and workshops were revived in 2022 after two COVID years. On June 30, the Chelsea Center was finally able to celebrate "Diversity Day". Many of the community women students prepared and shared different dishes based on their own culture and traditions.
In August, a dedicated team of dentists from Om Samyog Dental Clinic led a Dental Hygiene awareness session with the women who attend classes at the Chelsea Center. Their visit included free dental check-ups for our students and a wealth of information.
Diversity Day celebration in CECC Community Room
Dental clinic for the community women
Papa’s House Magazine and the Chelsea Center
To help develop their journalistic and writing skills, the children, and more recently the adult women, published articles for Papa’s House Magazine, aided by CECC staff and the NOH board’s Communications Committee. The fifth issue of Papa’s House Magazine, “Letters from the Lockdown” was published online in July of 2020. Essays, stories, photos and art from our older children and several staff members depicted what was happening and how their daily lives were affected.
In February of 2023, the seventh edition of Papa’s House Magazine, “The Heart of the Chelsea Center,” was published online. Personal accounts from the Chelsea Center teachers and the community women attending the center are featured. All issues of the Magazine are available here.
In addition to all the learning there is genuine happiness at the Chelsea Center. Kamal B.K., a young man from Papa’s House, who is an instructor in the community women’s literacy classes, while also pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Southwestern College, has written:
No words can ever describe how joyful and thrilling it is to be a part of and be able to work in this organization. I have been working at the Chelsea Centre as a women’s educator since 2018. I work with a group of professional team members and learn a lot from them. I had the experience of teaching school students, but this is my first time working for women’s education. Educating hundreds of women and seeing them taking their stand in the society has given me a sense of achievement.
Further illustrating the impact of the Chelsea Center, one of the community women wrote:
My name is Nima Sherpa. I am a student of Chelsea. I am very thankful to this organization. This organization has helped a lot of illiterate people like me, who were not even able to hold a book in the correct manner and were unknown about alphabets. But now, with the help of Chelsea Center, I have gained a lot of knowledge and I am able to read alphabets, words, and basic sentences quite fluently, I am very much grateful to this school.
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, while by providing heartfelt and enlightening volunteer experiences for groups and individuals.
Volunteer Nepal offered two dozen placements throughout Nepal--from Kathmandu to remote villages. Options included volunteering in hospitals and medical clinics, schools, rehabilitation centers, ashrams, human rights NGOs, animal shelters, and village agriculture. In addition to individual volunteers, groups of students and professionals participated in the program.
Volunteer Nepal in action: lost in translation?
Sirkka, from Finland, has volunteered several times
After returning to their homes, volunteers often continued 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 started their own non-profits to support NOH and other organizations in Nepal. And a few later became members of the NOH Board of Advisers.
For the period from 2012-2015, VN averaged one hundred and twenty-five annual volunteers from eighteen different countries. Perhaps due to the negative publicity about volunteer tourism, there was a decline in the number of individuals volunteering over the next few years. From 2016-2018, the annual average was ninety-three volunteers from sixteen countries. In 2019, Volunteer Nepal hosted forty volunteers from eleven countries.
Teaching Science in Dolpa
Four French medical volunteers in 2019 with staff in front of a hospital in Pharping
In 2020, there were only a half-dozen volunteers, all early in the year before the worldwide COVID-19 lockdowns restricted international travel. In 2021 Volunteer Nepal hosted no international volunteers. In 2022 there was one volunteer for three weeks, who went to Ramechhap and Sindhupalchowk for her teaching placement. At the end of 2022, Nepal Orphans Home reluctantly closed Volunteer Nepal, grateful for all the past volunteers, but no longer able to sustain a vibrant international volunteer program.
The GuideStar Great Nonprofits Seal
Based on posted reviews on NOH’s GuideStar’s profile, in 2022 NOH earned the GreatNonProfits Top-Rated NonProfit seal for the fifth year in a row.
Two of the reviews from earlier volunteers illustrated well the value that was provided by Volunteer Nepal (https://greatnonprofits.org/org/nepal-orphans-home-inc):
I started volunteering for Nepal Orphans Home through their Volunteer Nepal program in 2009. It was a life changing experience for me. I spent time in Kathmandu learning about the culture and tutoring NOH's children after school. From there I spent time teaching in a rural village near the Indian border for the remainder of my stay. Going into this experience I had never traveled outside of the U.S. and was nervous to say the least. The staff at NOH prepared me for my stay in the village and the other volunteers helped me to feel at home. I left feeling confident that my time in Nepal had a positive impact on the children and a confident supporter of NOH. I have returned to Nepal to support NOH in a variety of capacities since.
On my most recent trip my husband and I brought our son, who was 8 at the time. He loved playing with the children and joining them during their afternoons at the Chelsea Education and Community Center after school. The friendships we have established over the years are invaluable and we are proud to say the NOH has become part of our family from afar. We will continue to be champions of their work and financial supporters.
I first traveled to Nepal in the fall of 2014 full of curiosity and in search of an opportunity to volunteer in a meaningful way. I volunteered with a couple of different child-focused organizations before connecting with Nepal Orphans Home. The sincerity and integrity of the organization has kept me coming back to support the children and the organization time and time again. In fact, I've been there 7 times in all and will continue to visit and support this amazing organization and family.
I'd like to add a little note that in all of my years of visiting there and volunteering, I've never once seen children there fight or even raise their voices at one another. The organization is run with such love and care and that overflows and seeps into the hearts of all who are a part of the organization.
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.
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. From 2016-19, NOH spent over $90,000 from its Earthquake Relief Fund, most of these funds went towards the reconstruction of buildings destroyed by the earthquake.
NOH Outreach had supported the village school in Dumrikharka for years 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, a popular Volunteer Nepal placement outside the Kathmandu Valley.
New Shree Sham Primary School in Dumrikharka
New house and kitchen at Bigu Monastery
In the interests of transparency, the NOH Earthquake Relief Fund Report 2020 was posted on the NOH website, on the fifth anniversary of the earthquake. In April 2020, the Nepal Orphans Home Board of Directors approved drawing on this fund for assistance and relief from the COVID-19 crisis.
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. In 2022 NOH Outreach provided over $27,000 in assistance, accounting for nearly thirteen percent of Papa’s House NGO total expenditures.
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 also supports the Goldhunga Blind Children’s Home in the Kathmandu Valley, paying the salaries of the staff and the expenses of school uniforms and shoes, as well as supplying laptop computers. A young adult from Papa’s House is the coordinator of this NOH Outreach program and visits the home on Tuesdays and Fridays, bringing milk and fruit for the children and helping them with their academics.
Young patients at Kanti Children’s Hospital
Goldhunga Blind Children’s Home
Five years ago, NOH Outreach began providing tuition support for other children. In 2022 the education of thirty-five children was funded: eighteen of them attended Skylark, and seventeen in other schools or colleges, mostly in Kathmandu. NOH Outreach also helped local families in Dhapasi by providing food and medicines.
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.
Throughout the year NOH Newsletters are regularly sent to over 2,900 subscribers. Many of the Newsletters feature Papa’s Updates, reflections by Michael Hess on the children and their lives at Papa’s House.
In the fall of 2016, 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
Nepal Orphans Home maintains an active presence on Facebook and Instagram. Posts included numerous COVID-19 updates and general news of Papa’s House, Throwback Thursday photos, holidays throughout the year, magazine highlights, and winter holiday greetings with thanks to NOH supporters and friends. At the end of 2022, there were over 3,900 followers on the NOH Facebook page.
Nepal Orphans Home depends on donations. Over two hundred individuals around the world regularly donate to NOH. 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 and AmazonSmile.
Other monetary gifts have been received through benefits and fundraisers. NOH also received support from civic organizations, including churches and schools, and businesses (with matching employee contributions).
Nepal Orphans Home is fortunate for the steadfast support of Toni Thomson’s Possible Worlds Foundation. Based in Canada, her foundation has been integral in raising awareness and generating funds for our mission over many years. In particular, PWF donations support the education and nutrition of Papa’s House children, the salary of the Papa’s House official photographer, and the annual Valentine’s Day celebration at Papa’s House.
In 2022 Nepal Orphans Home also received grants from the Hayworth Foundation and the Wilson Sexton Foundation. Since late 2017 the Healing Buddha Foundation of the United States has funded NOH‘s outreach to Kanti Children’s Hospital. Nepal Orphans Home is very grateful for the generosity of these foundations.
Nepal Orphans Home is inspired by all our donors and considers their support confirmation of our continuing progress in our mission.
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 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
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.
Laura Handy-Nimick began teaching in 2005 after obtaining a Master’s 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.
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, three young granddaughters and a grandson. 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.
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.
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.
Board of Advisers
Suresh Acharya, an analytical professional and academic, lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife, Namita, and 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.
Elizabeth Dock Early lives in Madison, Connecticut and has three grown children and three 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.
Alyssa McCadden has organized fundraisers and raised awareness for Nepal Orphans Home with her friends and family since she was seven years old. She volunteered at NOH in 2018 and 2019 and has enjoyed getting to know the kids at NOH and its outreach programs and corresponding with them over the years. Alyssa is from Northern California and is currently studying at Georgetown University.
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 first-hand through NOH’s work. She was born and raised in Mumbai, India and completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology from Davidson College. She is currently pursuing her Master's in International Education Development at the University of Pennsylvania.