Eileen – Director
Eileen heard about Nepal Orphans Home and Volunteer Nepal through Sanctuary 4 Kids, a grassroots organization that cares for children around the world. (Nepal Orphans Home was one of the first charities they chose to financially support). Eileen volunteered with Volunteer Nepal twice and did placements both in and out of the valley.
When she was asked to be Director last year, “it didn’t really seem like a choice”. She was hankering for an excuse to return. Eileen adores her staff who make her laugh every day and the kids of Nepal Orphans Home. Some highlights so far have been straightening Kalpana’s hair, shaving a volunteer’s head and taking two NOH boys on a holiday to Nagarkot with Maureen (an American volunteer).
Sunita – Volunteer Manager
Sunita used to teach English and Social Studies at Skylark school. Every day for three years she would meet Michael (Papa) and his many children. After she had undertaken Montessori training, Papa approached her and asked her to teach a group of girls he had taken into his care. The girls were between 6 and 16 years old and had hardly any education, no English or writing skills. It was initially a 2–3 year project, and Sunita taught every subject to the 16 girls in the group. But it took only one year before they were school-ready, all passing their entrance interviews and accepted into school.
The following year her phone rang, it was Papa again. “I have one job,” he said to her and she smiled. Sunita has been working at Volunteer Nepal for over two years now – and loves the chance to tackle new projects and is an administrative powerhouse for both Volunteer Nepal and Nepal Orphans Home. One day she hopes to teach again, but smaller kids next time.
Enjila – Volunteer Co-ordinator
Enjila has just finished school and intends to study political science and economics at university. Her sister Abhia used to work for Papa as a Volunteer Co-ordinator but left for India, so Papa offered the job to Enjila. At Volunteer Nepal, her role is to see volunteers through their orientation and take them to their placements. She loves being a Volunteer Co-ordinator because of the relaxed and friendly working environment.
Enjila is a bright, energetic spark who enjoys having fun with volunteers; whether jumping off a rickety bridge (The Last Resort canyon swing) or having a quiet conversation while walking.
Griscma – Volunteer Co-ordinator
Until recently, Griscma was working as a dental hygienist, a “really boring” job. Her aunt Gita (a house manager for Nepal Orphans Home) talked to Papa about (non-boring) job opportunities at Volunteer Nepal.
Griscma was offered a job as Volunteer Co-ordinator and thrives in the position. She teaches cultural and language lessons and takes volunteers by the arm, touring them through Kathmandu’s dusty streets and landmark sites. Her favorite memory so far is going out to KFC for Eileen’s birthday as a staff team. But there are many other memories she cherishes too, involving new friends from all over the world. To her, Volunteer Nepal is home.
Anjana – Volunteer Co-ordinator
Anjana is currently studying a Bachelor of Zoology. Before that, she was on vacation waiting for exams and spending her time in a small grocery shop that Papa came into. They began talking about life and he mentioned there was a position open at Volunteer Nepal. Anjana started working the day after her last exam.
Her favorite part is the different places she’s been able to visit, particularly those districts outside of the valley, and is always up for an adventure and a sing. In her own words, “Volunteer Nepal is the best office. No-one would have this kind of office where everyone is like family and we get to meet so many different people.”
Kalpana – Volunteer House Manager
Kalpana (known affectionately as ‘KP’) started working for Papa six years ago as a Didi at Gita’s house. Nowadays she is a fixture at the Volunteer House, forever tending to volunteers’ needs. She can be found cooking momos and asking “how was your day?” to anyone who passes through the front door.
She likes working at Volunteer Nepal because she can balance her work and study during the afternoon (she is studying journalism). She likes living with the volunteers, talking, having fun (“I’m always laughing”) and also spending quiet time with Eileen. Oh, and trying to find Nepali husbands for female volunteers.
Kalpana is very thankful to Papa for all that he has done for her and her family. Like Griscma, she says the best part of working here is that “It feels like home”.
Enjila is planning to continue her education and will be leaving the Volunteer Nepal family shortly. She has been a wonderful part of our program and will be dearly missed by staff and volunteers alike. Best of luck as you begin your new adventure!
By Emma McDonald