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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Himalayan Children's Charities Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations

Mission: Himalayan Children's Charities was established in 2000 to help address the Nepali orphan crisis by providing quality education, nurturing care and innovative mentorship to orphaned and abandoned children and youth. Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty for these children and help transform their lives from a position of marginalized victim to a life of empowerment, self-sufficiency and community leadership. HCC was founded on a principle of community service, and we encourage our students to use their experiences and position to help others. Our philosophy creates a cycle of giving, ensuring that HCC’s future leaders are dedicated to helping vulnerable children in positions that they were once in.

Results: Our scholarship programs have directly supported 207 remarkable children - ten students have graduated with university degrees, and currently 27 students are enrolled at the collegiate level and over 100 are studying in elementary or high school. Through our various outreach projects and initiatives, we have served 3,000 individuals in the capital of Kathmandu and throughout rural Nepal.

Target demographics: Educate orphaned and abandoned Nepali children.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 150+ children from the ages of 8 to 22

Geographic areas served: Nepal

Programs: Providing education up through the university level, leadership, teamwork and life skills training.

Community Stories

69 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My wife and I have been supporting HCC since its inception, and can only say that Bruce and Susan Keenan have a stellar record of giving and serving. They put all donation money the foundation receives to work: into food, housing, and education for the kids. The results have been both miraculous and heart-warming.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife Soma and I have been a part of the HCC family since its inception, and over the years tried to help raise money to support the Keenans in their tireless effort to change the lives of orphans who otherwise would have little or no chance. During a trip to Nepal in late 2015, we visited the orphanage and were really impressed with the joy, caring and talent exhibited by these young people. Bruce and Susan should be proud of their accomplishments so far, as the kids they help certainly are.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My Name is Jasmati. I am nineteen years old and I am studying Bachelor in Healthcare Management. I am one of the students of Himalayan Children’s Charities (HCC). HCC has financially and academically supported me since I was seven years old. At present, I stay in the apartment with other female university students of HCC where we live like a family. During the breaks, vacations and festival time I go to the group home and engage in many activities in order to help my juniors learn and grow. I often give them dance classes, do art and craft activities, cook dinner for them and also help them in their studies. This group home has truly been a perfect platform for me to learn and explore different aspects of life. I regard this academic/financial support as the golden opportunity of my life because I am a girl from a very remote place of Nepal and I would have never imagined to get such facilities in my life time.

When I was six years old I was brought from Humla to an orphanage in Nepal’s capital city by my relatives. I knew nothing about the orphanage or the reason of being brought to such a strange place at that young age. I was also one of the shy and innocent kids who did not understand the national language (Nepali) because I belonged to extremely different part of Nepal where we had our own typical language. After a short time Bruce and Susan came to see many children in the orphanage and luckily they choose to sponsor my schooling. That day marked the turning point of my life because I was so happy to get admitted in a good boarding school and the hostel where I was provided with everything that I needed. Ever since that time Bruce and Susan came to visit us twice a year and took us for outings, lunch and trekking, which meant a lot for a girl like me. I felt special about being loved and cared for. As the time passed I was learning to speak Nepali as well as English and I even topped the class when I was in grade three. This vey incident motivated me to work even harder so I never hesitated to learn new things, speak in public, and I was never again that shy little girl. Since then I was always the first girl of my class also I developed communication skills and much more. By 2014, I passed my SLC with good marks and joined +2 in Science. At present I am a student of Healthcare Management and I am also hopeful about my career that I will be following because I am an active citizen capable of doing many things in my life, including helping others. The mentorship and leadership training that HCC has provided me has helped me to cope with many aspects of life. The establishment of HCC has brought a great change in my life and I consider myself as a good human capable of bringing positive changes in the society. Therefore, I would rank HCC 5 out of 5 because HCC provides the best opportunities for education, accommodation and life skills.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Namaste,

I am Saraswati Banstola and I am 20 years old. Currently I am taking my Bachelors in Medical Imaging Technology and I am in my second year. I study in Universal College of Medical Sciences which is in Terai region of Nepal.

I have been in HCC for 15 years. Before coming to HCC I lived in an orphanage where I didn't have good food, proper dress and better place to sleep. But now I have the greatest and the loveliest family and wonderful sponsors.

I have been staying away from home to complete my bachelors. I have learnt a lot of things staying by myself. I feel responsible and independent making my own decisions and managing financial stuffs. HCC has given me an opportunity to experience life outside of Kathmandu Valley (capital city) and it is totally worth it. I feel so happy staying outside from the capital city and experiencing life in different part of Nepal.

Thank you.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Namaste,

My name is Chet Kumari B.k and I am 23 years old. I'm currently in my 2nd year of studying my Bachelor in Public Health with the support of HCC. I have been in HCC's program for 19 years. It has been a great experience being part of HCC.

When I was 6 months old my father died due to lack of treatment available for ulcer and when I was 2 years old my mother eloped with another man leaving me and my 3 years old elder sister with my 9 and 12 year old brothers. Due to our poor economic condition, my sister and I were brought to the orphanage in Kathmandu. Soon after being admitted to the orphanage , I was brought into HCC's program where I received good quality of education and got a second chance to live a beautiful and a meaningful life.

Before being a member of HCC, I was really sad that I did not have a family and I used to get hurt that I was abandoned. I didn't like people calling me an orphan and never had good friends with whom I could play with and this made me really sad.

But now I am proud to say that I have a huge family with whom I can share may happiness and sorrows. I don't feel sad anymore about being an orphan. In fact, I am really proud being an orphan because now I can help other children like me. I would have never got an opportunity to get this quality of education and develop my career without HCC. HCC has made me a strong women with determined future aim. In 2016, with the support of HCC, I was able to compete in and was recognized as the first MIss Bishwokarma in a national beauty pageant for women from my so-called "untouchable" caste.

Second chances for children like me are not given to make things right, but are given to prove that we can be better, even after we fall. I'm very grateful to HCC for giving me a second chance to live a wonderful and better life again.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am so impressed with the work of HCC. The founders and staff work tirelessly on behalf of children in Nepal.
The video called Monika's Story 2017 always brings tears to my eyes. (It can be viewed under galleries/video on the HCC.org website).
The continued expansion and support for the children of the Dhading district is impressive. It provides children who have lost a parent in the earthquake with the means to go to school and supports extended family members to care for them. HCC is changing the lifetime trajectory for many children.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Supporting and working with the Himalayan Children's Charities has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life. While there are so many large charities that take your money and do who-knows-what with it, HCC is known for their ability to make a difference in real kids lives - and you know exactly what your money and time is going to. Started by a humble couple who live in Atlanta, Bruce and Susan Keenan have raised the bar for charities around the world. Through HCC, they have given proper education, a home, a purpose to life and a family to over 50 kids in Nepal who would otherwise be homeless. And they have been able to help over 100 kids, in four different districts, stay in school after the 2015 earthquake.

I first got involved with HCC in 2014 and have been volunteering and raising money for the charity since then. My family sponsors two girls in Nepal, Shristi and Saraswoti. The charity does a great job of keeping the sponsors in the U.S. up to date with their kids in Nepal, and I personally felt like I had gained two new sisters. I was fortunate enough to meet these two girls, along with many of the other HCC students, during my trip to Nepal in March of 2017. Not only were the two girls sweet and so well-rounded, everyone I met at HCC made me proud of what the charity stands for and was a direct reflection of the morals and values the Himalayan Children's Charities upholds. If there is any charity worth putting your time and money into, the Himalayan Children’s Charities isn’t just a great decision, it is a decision that will change your life for the better.

1 Maya Gold Foundation

Donor

Rating: 5

Five stars is not enough to review Himalayan Children’s Charities (HCC). I could fill the sky with the stars that I offer this organization. And the light from those stars surely shines through the eyes of the dozens and dozens of children touched by this organization. I’ve volunteered, served on boards and worked for nonprofits in different capacities for about forty years. I have the utmost respect for HCC.

When our daughter, who had been interested in doing work in Nepal, took her life in 2015, we knew that we wanted to fulfill her dream in her name. We researched many organizations and were fortunate to find Himalayan Children’s Charities. Our relationship began by asking friends who were visiting Nepal, to please check them out. They came back with glowing report. We then offered a financial contribution. We learned through reports of how that money was put to use.

In the spring of 2017, I helped to organize a trip to Nepal with a group of family and friends. There were thirteen of us. Our hope was to make connections and give of ourselves in some way to the youth served by HCC. Though our intention was to give, we received much, much more! We spent seven solid days with both program managers and the youth of HCC. We had many opportunities to witness firsthand the work done by HCC. Yes, there are some orphans served; there are many, many children who are recipients of services who may have one or both parents. The parent(s) do not have the means to care for their children.

Himalayan Children’s Charities goes way beyond caring for the children’s basic needs. Food, shelter, and clothing are provided. But it’s not just a “house”, it is the feeling of “home” that is experienced. “Families” are created, as the older youth act as mentors to the younger ones. There is a strong emphasis on education. As part of the education, visions are put into motion regarding career goals. In a country fraught with little options, many turning to sexual trafficking. Those who participate in programs supported by HCC are at a significantly less risk to be sold into sexual slavery.

In addition, nurturing creativity is valued. Children with HCC have opportunities to sing, dance, play instruments, and act. For those who are experiencing emotional challenges, efforts are made to connect them with appropriate supports. In regions that were ravaged by the recent earthquakes, HCC finds ways to keep families in tact while supporting the children to attend schools. And the students themselves volunteer. They do receive supports, and they do have a chance to experience the joy of giving.

There are opportunities for graduates of the HCC program to continue to grow with HCC. Some of the people on staff there now, had formerly been helped by HCC for years. And there is so much laughter among people who are part of the organization. My hope is that our next trip will be one in which I can take some teens from NYS, to offer them a profound cross cultural experience. Do you now see why five stars is not enough?

Do not hesitate to contact me if you need more light shed on this Great Nonprofit!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

On a trip to Nepal earlier in the year I was able to visit a HCC home and speak with some amazing young people who were then venturing into higher education. It was incredible what these young people were achieving and how they really put there all in to this. The adults in which worked within the house we visited were extremely welcoming and was great just to have a real insight into the HCC charity. As well as learning about them we as a group of people spoke about our professions and how these change in different countries, how we went about achieving them and then also about our lives back in our homes (in the case the U.K.) I hope these young people achieve great things; it was a pleasure to meet them and great to see they are being given the chance to do this!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Along with some fellow professionals on a trip to Nepal, I was able to visit HCC's facility in Kathmandu. HCC invited us to meet with their students as a cultural broadening exchange. The students we met were in various stages of preparing for higher education or entering the workforce (I understand they work with younger children as well, but it was less applicable for our visit). The visit enabled us to learn about the culture and life of the Nepalis, and allowed the students to learn from our established professional careers. The students were able to ask questions about our various professions and learn about the qualifications in the different countries we represented.

HCC's facility and staff were superb. Setting up the international cultural exchange was a great idea for the students and us travelers alike!

Chris from USA

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been in the HCC orbit for the past 10 years, and have learned so much about how to run and grow a vehicle for social good. Bruce and Susan bring their natural love of human beings into their work, and give their HCC kids both the material and moral support they need to develop into mature, curious, and successful adults. I have little doubt that HCC will continue to grow and deepen its programming, and become an increasing important part of the Nepalese landscape. I find this prospect to be particularly encouraging, because I get the sense that the children that HCC takes into its arms will exit the program inspired to make their own positive mark on the world - they will aim to pay their good fortune forward, as we all should.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a part of HCC since 2004 and from then I have a really strong bond with this organization. I was supported by this organization when I was in Class.4. My parents weren’t able to look after me. They were economically weak and had to put me in an orphanage when I was four years old. I don’t remember anything from my early childhood, not even my mother and the village. I was too small when I put into the orphanage to remember. In the orphanage, I had my friends but felt really sad as I always felt the emptiness of not being with my parents. When I look back to the day when I was selected in this program, it was the happiest day of my life. We were in a group and were enrolled in a good boarding school in Kathmandu. I was a shy girl at first in school but later on I gained self-confidence and was outspoken. I got sponsors, Jeff and Diane, who treated me as their daughter and gave me the love of the parents, which always made me feel cared for. Many thanks to our HCC founders Mr. Bruce Keenan and Mrs.Susan Keenan for this initiative to help children like us.


After our Class.10 School Leaving Certificate (SLC), we had no place to go, and so we were kept in a youth home named Khushi Ghar, which means Happy Home, where we were given life skills training of cooking, cleaning, staying in the family, celebrating our festivals with the family members and most importantly the mentorship training. We got our mother and father in Hira Aunt and Dinesh uncle. Everything we got was so much valuable and precious to us; from the study support to the bonding with all the brothers and sisters here. The hardest thing for me after my Class.11 was meeting my father, whom I met after 20 years. I thought after meeting he would have cared for me but that wasn’t the case. Even then, I did not feel the lack of love from him, as I have my sponsor Jeff caring me as his own daughter. Jeff’s trip to Nepal the next year to meet me meant the world to me. At Khushi Ghar we are people from different backgrounds, communities and districts but still we are living together as our own family sharing the same bond.


After completion of my university I got to be one of the staff of Himalayan Children’s Charities looking after the new program- Dhading Children’s Initiative (DCI). Now I am an independent girl working to support myself and living on my own. The self-confidence in me to do better in life, and the degree that I hold (Bachelor in Business Studies) are the biggest accomplishments that I have. The HCC graduation program was a big day of my life as I realized the drastic change in my life prior to 13 years ago. Now I look at my life and find a positive change in me; I look after many programs of HCC; Dhading Children’s Initiative (DCI) and the school support to the children in different schools of Nepal; Dhading, Nuwakot, Dolakha. I am also involved in project coordination for Creating Possibilities, Nepal. I feel so privileged to be a part of this program as I was a student of this program and now an active staff member.


The changes in me, my identity as an independent youth of Nepal, and my readiness to move forward with a vision of helping the needy children and women is all possible all because of HCC.

1 Khil T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hello! I am Khil Bahadur Thapa, graduating student supported by Himalayan Children's Charity for past 15 years in my education, training, accommodation and food. I have been so lucky out of many to get this support. Today I am what I got from HCC. They have always been supportive in the things that I love to do and provided me guidance, care and love. I am Public Health graduate from one of the prestigious colleges in the country, and currently working as a program coordinator in one of the youth-leading NGOs called YUWA, where I also serve as a Secretary. Like me, there are many other children who are pursuing their educations with full support from HCC. Besides academic support HCC believes in all round development of children, regardless of their family backgrounds. This is because we are children who do not have either or both parents. Life skills training and links with experts in the field are other very important parts of HCC. Here, we live as a big family helping each other. This helps us to live together in the society later when we graduate from HCC. Out of many things that I got and learned from HCC, giving back is what most fascinates me and I have been doing this through small steps. I feel really blessed and pleased to write my review for such a great organization.

1 Arjun A.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

HCC is supporting about 100 kids who were orphaned by the earthquakes in 2015. These kids are from Dhading district where I come from too. With the help from HCC, those kids have been able to continue their school and dream big. I have personally met over 40 of these kids and they highly appreciate the help they have been receiving from HCC and partners. I find that Susan, Bruce and Sadie are all about helping those who needs. I am very glad that they are doing great works in Nepal and making a difference in the lives of those kids who lost their loving parents.

2 Manna R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

You only have this one life and you should recognize that each day is gift. I am Mun Maya Rawal recently graduated student of HCC. I feel that it was yesterday I joined HCC, Can’t believe it’s already been 11 years. I am so blessed and lucky to be surrounded by so many people who are ready to give me a helping hand.

I can proudly say that I am a big sister, mentor and leader for my younger brothers and sisters in so many ways. I love spending my leisure time at Happy Home (Khushi Ghar) because my heart lives there.

Now I am well educated and working young woman. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of HCC sponsors.Thank you HCC sponsors for being with me in my hard and good times.

Thank You.

1 Montalvo L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the unique opportunity to travel with the activity coordinator of HCC to outlying villages in Nepal and participate in a meeting to support and inform parents and students of the services being brought to the region as well as distribute scholarships to their families. The work was so impactful and life changing both for myself and for the students who were being served by this charity. I am pleased to continue my involvement and now we have a network in NYC of donors who are supporting students in Nepal to complete their education. The founders are kind and available, and their staff so well informed and have excellent communication skills. The homes they have built for students in the Kathmandu valley are warm and full of life, and their policy is so transparent and accessible that there is no doubt that all the donations and funds raised go directly to supporting these wonderful youth.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor to HCC since Nepal suffered the devastating earthquake in April 2015 that orphaned so many of her vulnerable children. It was evident to me that HCC is an organization of great integrity which would channel the donations from individuals such as myself to where they were most needed - to provide direct services to these children. This March, I had the opportunity to travel to Nepal, visit HCC's group home in Kathmandu and meet a number of the children who have benefited from the program along with HCC's founders and local staff.
HCC has been in operation for over 15 years and I was also honored to attend the a ceremony honoring the first college graduating class of HCC, a number of whom had been children rescued by the program since its founding.I was so impressed by the program's mission, which is to support and encourage these young people who have lost everything to attain the highest level of education they are capable of, to become leaders of positive change in their impoverished culture, to nurture and give back to one another in order to create a real sense of family. And it works. I and others who had travelled to Nepal together were so moved by our personal connections with these vibrant and genuinely happy and motivated young people and so humbled by the dedication and vision of the founders and staff of HCC that we organized a fundraiser in our hometown when we returned to the U.S. I will continue to support HCC and encourage others to do the same.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been supporters of Himalayan Children's Charity for many years now but had an opportunity to go to Nepal for the first time in March. It was incredible and enlightening to experience such a rich and vibrant culture and to see, first-hand, our sponsored child and the entire HCC family, in their element, in Kathmandu.

My husband and I went to Nepal knowing about it's dire economic situation and poverty, but we were still unprepared for the culture shock we felt. Seeing the living situations of some Nepalis and the post-earthquake wreckage, made us appreciate and respect the work of HCC even more. To have taken these extremely unfortunate children out of orphanages, and off the streets, and given them a real chance at life- an opportunity to become something- is truly extraordinary.

On two occasions, we visited HCC's "Kushi Ghar" (Happy Home), where the sponsored kids stay when they are not in boarding school. It was located in a nice, safe neighborhood. As the older kids showed us around, they explained that they learned basic life skills here; how to cook, do chores, maintain cleanliness and be a responsible person. We had many opportunities to spend quality time with the kids throughout the trip. They guided us during our sightseeing, took us through the markets and helped us negotiate, celebrated a Nepali wedding with us, and a few of them even came along on a three day trek in the amazing Annapurna mountains with us.

On our last day, we were able to see the first of the HCC children graduate at the beautiful Yak & Yeki Hotel. As I looked around at the children's faces here, and not only the graduates, it made me realize something: the HCC kids looked different than other children in Nepal. They smile with confidence; they are educated; and each of them speak with excitement about following their dreams and giving back to their country. This is what HCC is about and why we love to support them.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I visited the HCC headquarters during my recent visit to Nepal and met the staff and some of the children they serve. i am very impressed with their programs and with the young people who have been served by them. I have volunteered to help with a fund raiser in my community and support their good work.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I visited the HCC while in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was wonderful to see many of the young adults who had been served by this charity; some since early childhood. Some of these children were orphaned or abandoned. The Signature Program, which is a rural program, works with children who were abandoned or orphaned during the 2015 7.8 earthquake, which killed around 10,000 people. These children live with extended families in the outlying villages. The Charity works with the local schools. Many of these children had been living in state orphanages . Over 150 children are currently being served in this program. The villages in which they live are very remote and sometimes high up in the hills. Some people walk for miles over very rough terrain to attend their schools and to receive other kinds of help. The people who work with this charity are mainly volunteers; there are two full time staff in Nepal. Any volunteer who works with the program pay for their own travel and living expenses.
We visited the boarding home and school in Kathmandu. These children were adolescents and some of them were getting ready for graduation. When they graduate from High School, they are given a stipend and some of them move into their own apartments. They are given schooling for different professional choices. They are also schooled in life skills. Nine of the ten graduates now have jobs in Nepal. They are provided with a large network of social support as they navigate the complexities of working in Nepal. Nepal is a very poor country, and the problems are enormous.
i was very impressed with what I saw. Our friend Sadie Green is one of the Directors in this program. While we were in Nepal, we went to her wedding, marrying a Nepalese man from Kathmandu. They live in Kathmandu and Sadie travels a lot for her job; sometimes she walks for two days to get into the remote villages to work with the children.
It is a very deserving program and is deserving of the kinds of donations that will help continue and expand the organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was privileged to meet the students who are the lucky beneficiaries of the HCC program. They are confident and feel positive about their futures. I was fortunate to attend the ceremony for the first ten University graduates. Laxmee’s speech brought us to tears. It’s was so good to see a program that provides loving care and educational opportunities for children who would otherwise be seriously at risk for a life devoid of opportunities. I was so impressed by the program, that when I came home, I planned a benefit for the organization.
I'm an ESL teacher, and I was impressed with their mastery of the language and their enthusiasm for my class.