Improving the Lives of Poor Children in Nepal

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. 

Our Mission

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. 

Our Organization

Basic information about Nepal Orphans Home, a 501(c)(3) public charity incorporated in Davidson, North Carolina, can be found on the website,   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 2024, for the fourth year in a row, Nepal Orphans Home has 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, and demonstrating NOH’s strong commitment to transparency in its mission and operations. The NOH profile on GuideStar includes 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

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 2024, Nepal Orphans Home begins its twentieth year, providing for young children living with Papa’s House, supporting adolescents living in transition housing while attending college preparatory classes, and funding the higher education of young adults living independently and studying in university. The Chelsea Education and Community Center (CECC) enters its twelfth year of academic enrichment and life skills training for the Papa’s House children and its tenth year of free literacy classes to over a hundred local women in Dhapasi. NOH Outreach continues providing assistance throughout Nepal, including to the Goldhunga Blind Children’s Home and Kanti Children’s Hospital.

Last year NOH was able to provide:

  • primary education at Skylark School, an English-medium private school, for our thirteen young children from Papa’s House and support for more than twenty local children from poor families to attend Skylark and other primary schools in the Kathmandu Valley
  • college preparatory education for our ten adolescents in grades 11-12
  • academic enrichment classes in math, science, and computer, as well as life skills training for Papa’s House children and adolescents at the Chelsea Center
  • after-school basic English and computer classes at the Chelsea Center for students in grades 6-8 from the local Dhapasi School  
  • university education for young adults from Papa’s House — fifteen studying in Nepal and thirteen others studying in Australia, Germany, Finland, Canada, Japan, England and the United States
  • free literacy classes in Nepali, English, and mathematics and workshops at the Chelsea Center for more than a hundred local community women
  • initiation of a Chelsea Center International Child Development Program for the community women, a psychological care initiative to foster the holistic development of children
  • assistance through NOH Outreach to Kanti Children’s Hospital and Goldhunga Blind Children’s Home.

Nepal Orphans Home is fortunate to have a dedicated board of directors, good management and staff of Papa’s House NGO in Nepal, and many loyal supporters across the world.

New Leadership of Papa’s House NGO

At the end of June 2023, Sunita Pandey, the Director of Operations of Papa’s House NGO for the past six years, left Nepal and immigrated to the U.S. with her family. For several months before, Sunita had been training her replacement, Sushmita Thapa, a bright, diligent, and organized young woman. Sushmita had served with Volunteer Nepal in late 2008 until early 2010 and did an outstanding job of growing the volunteer department into what became one of the top volunteer organizations in Nepal. She later earned a master’s in gender studies and a master's in psychology. Before returning to Papa’s House NGO, Sushmita was serving as a senior counselor with TPO Nepal, one of Nepal’s leading psychosocial organizations. She has spent many years working with children and women’s issues.

Sushmita hired Jesika Maharjan as a general assistant director. Sushmita had earlier worked with Jesika at CAP Nepal, a non-profit based in Kathmandu with a mission to emancipate women and girls from gender-based violence and discrimination. Jesika has a bachelor's degree in development studies and a master's degree in gender studies.

The founder of NOH, Michael Hess (Papa), while now retired in North Carolina, remains in regular contact with the Director of Operations of Papa’s House NGO, 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. 

Transfer of directors in a key exchange ceremony at the Chelsea Center in June with Sushmita Thapa (left) receiving the keys from Sunita Pandey

Jesika Maharjan, new assistant to Director of Operations

Staff and Operations

At the beginning of 2024, there are twenty employees at Papa’s House NGO, including the Director and Assistant Director of Operations. Nearly half of the staff are former Papa’s House children, including four who are instructors at the Chelsea Center, while also attending college or university; two assistants with NOH Outreach to Kanti Children’s Hospital; the Papa’s House bookkeeper; and a staff member at Hope’s Café.

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.

All the bank transactions of Papa’s House NGO are administered and reconciled by the Director of Operations every month and the bank records are sent to the Finance Committee of Nepal Orphans Home. All the bills are collected and are submitted to the Papa’s House NGO bookkeeper on a weekly basis for maintaining the accounting records.

The Director of Operations maintains a daily log of transactions. The Papa’s House NGO bookkeeper enters all expenses in vouchers and ledgers, which are also sent to Nepal Orphans Home Finance Committee monthly.

The Papa’s House NGO board of directors in Nepal supports the organization. The board  gives the authority to the Director of Operations to make decisions for children and the staff, and for the renewal of Papa’s House NGO with the government offices. The board members are updated with all the activities of Papa’s House, the Chelsea Center, and the NOH Outreach program when the board meetings are held.

Over the year, the NOH board is informed about operations of Papa’s House NGO, receiving regular reports from Director of Operations. The NOH board’s Strategic Planning Committee works with the Director of Operations and Founder in planning and setting policy. The NOH board’s Chelsea Center Committee works with the directors and the staff of the Chelsea Center. Annually members of the NOH board volunteer at Papa’s House NGO, helping with operations and programs. 

A Brief History

Over time, operations 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 one hundred and thirty-five  children. That spring NOH established the Chelsea Education Center to provide vocational and life skills training to complement the formal education of the children.

On April 25, 2015, a devastating earthquake outside the Kathmandu Valley shook the nation, 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 property 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 (including 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 young girls were also welcomed at Papa’s House. Although the pandemic persisted through 2021, all 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 adolescents.

In 2023, Papa’s House began phasing out child care, according to the mandates of a new act passed by the National Child Rights Council of Nepal. In the future the Chelsea Center will be the primary operations.

Papa’s House

Harmony House, the first Papa’s House, opened in 2005, with a large yard in front that served as a playground and campus for the children. Over the years, Papa’s House grew to  providing for over 140 children in five Papa’s Houses in 2014. With the aging of our children, progressing from elementary school to college preparatory classes to young adults leaving Papa’s House for university or transitioning into independent living, by 2023 far fewer children were directly provided for by Papa’s House.  

Last year was pivotal in the transition of NOH, with new leadership of Papa’s House NGO.  In accordance with mandates of a new act passed by the National Child Rights Council of Nepal that children with parents or guardians capable of providing care should return to their families, Papa’s House began phasing out childcare. At the beginning of 2024, there are ten young children living at Papa’s House and attending the Skylark School, an English-medium primary school through grade 10. The children also attend after-school academic enrichment and life skills programs at Chelsea Education and Community Center.

There are seven adolescents in grade 12 preparing for university and living independently, supported by Papa’s House with their tuition and school fees and monthly stipends for rent and food. Twelve young adults in first, second years, or third years at university are also receiving food and rent stipends along with their tuition and school fees. Another three young adults in their third or fourth years at university are living with family or independently while receiving NOH  education support.

Thirteen young adults are studying in foreign universities: four in Australia, three in Germany, and one each in Finland, Japan, Canada, and the U.S. Eight young adults have completed their bachelors (four in computer science, two in social work, and one each in business studies and medical laboratory technology).


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, and upon passing, they may enroll in college preparatory classes, known as Plus 2 (grades 11-12). After successfully finishing Plus 2, young adults may advance to university.

According to the NOH Continuing Education and Transitional Support Policy, Papa’s House young adults can expect support for the tuition and fees for their college and university studies, subject to satisfactory performance. Young adults not on a university track can receive support for vocational training and internships. Young adults choosing to work abroad with a secure job are supported with their international travel fees and initial living expenses.

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, Dhiraj joined Systemnet in Sydney as a Systems Engineer, where he was awarded Employee of the Year.

Dhiraj at Papa’s House in 2007

Dhiraj at graduation from Federation University – March 2022

Instead of attending university or vocational training programs, some young adults may feel ready to leave Papa’s House, live independently and seek employment in Nepal.  These young adults must first consult with the Director of Operations and will be expected to submit a written proposal with a rationale for their plans. They will need to establish a bank account and NOH will provide a one-time payment of Rs. 240,000 (approximately $1,800) for their transition, which might also be used for apprenticeships or to start their own businesses. Continued contact with these young adults is encouraged, but essentially they have chosen to live independently of the organization’s assistance.

In 2022 seventeen young adults from Papa’s House, who had completed Plus 2 and were then in their early twenties, decided not to pursue university and took advantage of NOH final stipends for their independent living. In 2023, another eight young adults received their final support. 

As Michael Hess noted in his Papa’s Update Summer 2023, despite growing up and leaving Papa’s House, many of the children remain close: 

In early summer many of our older children, those still in college or having graduated, organized a picnic. It has always been a pleasant daydream to think of the day when all our children reunite. They do a good job of staying connected with social media, and those remaining in our area of Kathmandu see one another frequently. But now with some of our children in Japan, Germany, Croatia, Tanzania, Malta, Australia, Portugal, Finland, and the US, our Papa’s House diaspora grows.

Those young adults living nearby enjoy gathering with the children for the holidays on the Chelsea Center campus.

Summer picnic for Papa’s House young adults, staff, and board members

Christmas at Papa’s House 2023

Chelsea Education and Community Center

The Chelsea Education and Community Center (CECC) supports Papa’s House children and adolescents 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

In 2023, consistent with the decreased number of children in Papa House and under the leadership of Sushmita Thapa, the new Director of Operations, Papa’s House NGO began a transformation.  In the future, Papa’s House NGO will focus on the Chelsea Center, with its programs of adult literacy classes, workshops, and celebrations for community women of Dhapasi and after-school academic enrichment classes and life skills workshops for Papa’s House and other local children.  The Chelsea Center also initiated an International Child Development Program to serve the community women and children. 

According to its new mission statement:

The Chelsea Education and Community Center supports children in their development through academic enrichment programs and community based psychosocial child care. The Center also promotes the empowerment, personal growth, and social connection of local Dhapasi women.

Programs for Papa’s House Children and Young Adults

In the late afternoons after school, Sunday through Friday, the Chelsea Center holds classes in English, math and computer, as well as study halls with tutoring, for the Papa’s House children and select other Dhapasi School children. For the children from Papa’s House, there are also career workshops and life skills training.

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 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. 

A presentation by the IT Club

Indra Khatri, professional artist and Saturday art tutor at the Chelsea Center

Life Skills Training is an important part of effectively preparing our children for their lives after Papa’s House. There are workshops at the Chelsea Center for Papa’s House children and young adults, ranging in topics from information technology to internet safety, mindfulness, health care and personal fitness. The workshops are led by CECC staff, volunteers, local professionals, and members of the Nepal Orphans Home board.

Math class at the Chelsea Center

Dhapasi school students studying English at CECC

Adult Education

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.

Over a hundred local women regularly attend classes at the Chelsea Center. Most of the women, with little or no prior formal education, take more than one class each day. The women learn new strategies for test preparation, including academic and psychological techniques. After their exams, students at the Chelsea Center meet individually with their teachers to go over their results. Such individualized attention promotes increased learning.

Taking exams

… and getting feedback

In the inaugural International Child Development Program for caregivers in 2023, the participants learned about the importance of the care that children need, as well as better understanding the children’s perspectives, rights, and choices.

Health professionals volunteer at the Chelsea Center, recently including a dedicated team of dentists from Om Samyog Dental Clinic who led a Dental Hygiene awareness session in 2023 with the women who attend classes at the Chelsea Center. Their visit included free dental check-ups for our students and important information.

Dental clinic for the community women

Awareness session for the community women on basics of menstrual hygiene led by local physician

Special events are organized with the women including celebrations of International Women’s Day and Diversity Day. The Chelsea Center Women’s Council, made up of select leaders among the adult women, serve as an advisory group to the Director of Operations and assist the Chelsea staff in organizing the community events. 

A conversation class for Advanced English students led by a visitor from Australia

Diversity Day Celebration at the Chelsea Center

Papa’s House Magazine and the Chelsea Center

To help develop their journalistic and writing skills, the children, and the adult women, publish articles for Papa’s House Magazine, aided by CECC staff and the NOH board’s Communications Committee.

The seventh edition of Papa’s House Magazine (February 2023) featured the community women students. That the Chelsea Center continues to contribute to the welfare of local community women is reflected in their testimonies. One, Tara Shrestha, wrote:

The name of my institution is Chelsea Education and Community Center. It was founded in 2013. It is a community center that emphasizes service and is situated in Kathmandu’s Dhapasi Height. For all women residing in the Kathmandu valley community, it offers a variety of educational facilities. It is in a good, peaceful environment. Since four years ago, I have been a student here. With the assistance of one of my friends, I was able to enroll here. I knew nothing about the English language before coming here to study. I had a very difficult time understanding it. I learned a lot about the English language after attending this school. Now, I feel like a woman with education. I want to express my gratitude to each and every CECC educator for a prosperous life. I am quite happy and enthusiastic about a lot of things that will happen soon.   

Papa’s House Magazine (February 2023)

Tara Shrestha, a Chelsea Center student

Volunteer Nepal

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 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.  

Teaching Science in Dolpa

Four French medical volunteers in 2019 with staff in front of a hospital in Pharping

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.

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.

Nepal Orphans Home

Two of the reviews from earlier volunteers illustrated well the value that was provided by Volunteer Nepal:

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.  

—Laura (4/5/2022)


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.

—Ted (4/22/2022)

NOH Outreach

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

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 been supporting 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.

Other Assistance

Over the year, the Director of Operations of Papa’s House NGO 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 2023 NOH Outreach provided over $20,000 in assistance, accounting for more than twelve percent of Papa’s House NGO total expenditures. 

NOH supports terminally ill children in the cancer ward at Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu. Two young women from Papa’s House on the NOH Outreach staff visit six days a week, providing fresh fruit and art supplies and playing with the young patients. Birthdays of the children are celebrated, complete with birthday cake, candles, presents, balloons and sweets. Support for pain medication is provided for poor families, usually from remote areas, with children at the hospital. At Christmas this year, the children received gift packages of a winter cap, woolen gloves, socks and thermos with two cups.

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, who also serves as the Papa’s House NGO bookkeeper, is the coordinator of this NOH Outreach program and visits the home on Tuesdays and Fridays, bringing milk and eggs for the children and helping them with their academics. At Christmas, the children received gift packages that included a towel, handkerchief, undergarments, nail cutters, comb, socks and chocolates.

  Young patient at Kanti Children’s Hospital with NOH Outreach staff

Two members of NOH Board with Papa’s House staff member and Goldhunga children

Young Adults Making Their Marks

To have witnessed the growth and development of the children of Papa’s House over the years has been most gratifying. Michael Hess often portrays Papa’s House young adults in his Papa’s Updates posted on the NOH website. Featured in the Papa’s Update for Summer 2023 is one young man who is already giving back. 

Khemraj Shahi came to Papa’s House as a young boy, fourteen years ago. After college Khem spent a few years working on a hydroelectric plant in Solukhumbu District (home of Mt. Everest), saved his money and then left to begin an NGO he named “No Limits Nepal” primarily serving his home district of Kalikot. Thus far he has managed to remodel a school which was in shambles and provide for the children’s educational supplies, bring doctors for a health clinic, and most recently bring eye doctors for an eye clinic. Now, due to the high incidence of mortality among women and infants in his district, he is focused on building a birthing center that is safe, warm and sterile where the local women will feel comfortable giving birth with visiting OBGYNs that he manages to induce to come from hours away. 

Khemraj in 2009

​Khemraj (center, in sunglasses) after a successful eye clinic he put together in Kalikot district in 2023

Communications and Support

Effective communication through the NOH website, social media, and public profiles has not only increased awareness of Nepal Orphans Home, but enhanced fundraising.

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

In 2023 the NOH board’s Communications Committee published four newsletters, including Papa’s Updates, to over 2,600 subscribers. There were frequent postings of news and special events on both Facebook and Instagram, including holidays and celebrations and ‘Throwback Thursday’ photos throughout the year, all of which helped increase interest in and motivate support for Nepal Orphans Home. Young adults from Papa’s House serving as Papa’s House photographers, along with the director of operations and the Chelsea Center, supplied many of wonderful photos. 

In 2023 there were more than 3,900 followers on the NOH Facebook page and over 320 followers on Instagram. The United States accounted for the largest percentage of Facebook followers (48%), with Nepal second (24%). Many of the Nepali followers are Papa’s House young adults (and their friends), staff, and adult students at the CECC. Followers in other countries included Australia (10%), UK (5%), Canada (4%), Portugal (3%), India (2%) and Germany (1%).

Donor Support

Nepal Orphans Home depends on donations, with hundreds of supporters around the world. 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. Other monetary gifts have been received through benefits and fundraisers. NOH also received support from civic organizations 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 Valentine’s Day celebration at Papa’s House.

Nepal Orphans Home is grateful for the generosity of these 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 and Director of Operations Emeritus for NOH in Dhapasi, Nepal. He is the proud father of two wonderful sons, grandfather to four precious grandchildren, 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 Corte Madera, California. She and her husband Dan have two grown daughters; their older daughter Alyssa serves on the NOH Board of Advisors. Since first volunteering at NOH in 2011, Anne has made annual trips to Nepal, becoming a dedicated advocate for the children and overseeing the Goldhunga Blind Home outreach program. Anne and her family have rallied their local community to support the mission of NOH through many fundraisers over the years. 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

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.