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Kathmandu, Nepal

May 2014



1.   Introduction

The Helpless Colony orphanage was started in 2004 by Nanu Rai, a single woman. Nanu Rai continues to run the orphanage today.

There are now 21 members in the Colony. These are 19 kids, Mommy Nanu Rai and a lady who helps her.

The children in the colony come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Some children are orphans. Other children have a single mother or a single father who cannot support them or has abandoned them.

Over the years the orphanage has made significant progress. In the beginning there were about 18 small kids living in a small house. We had no furniture, not even beds, and the children slept on the floor. They could not afford to go to school. The Helpless Colony is called this way because in the beginning the situation of the orphanage was so dire that it was the most appropriate name.

Nowadays all the children go to school and get an education in English. We have some modest furniture and the children can eat three times a day. We now call our orphanage the Happiness Colony. We are all like one big family and we even call our volunteers ŅBrotherÓ and ŅSisterÓ.

The main aim of the colony is to ensure that all the children grow up in good conditions and get a good education. The final objective is to get all the children independent. Some children have already left the orphanage and have found stable work places or started university studies.

Currently the colony is managed purely on the basis of donations. There is no source of permanent income and there is no government support. The donations are solicited primarily by going from door to door. Some financial support comes thanks to the visiting volunteers.

2.   The members of the colony


I am Manju. I am 5 years old and I am in grade 1. IÕve been in the Helpless Colony for 1 year. My favourite animal is deer because it has many horns. My favourite subject is Nepali. My best friend is Pabin. I love Mommy because she loves me so much and she is very beautiful.


My name is Santosh but everybody calls me Kandza because I am the youngest in my family. I am 6 years old and I am in grade 1. I would like to have one cat and one dog in my house so that the cat can kill the mice and the dog can protect the house. I like to watch the chicken that live on our roof. Our Mommy is like my own mom to me.


I am Rohan and I am 7 years old. I am in grade 2. IÕd like to be a doctor when I grow up. My favourite animal is the lion. I would like to be strong like the Spiderman to save the people.


My name is Pabin, I am 8 and IÕm in grade 2. IÕve been here for about 3 years.  My favourite toy is the remotely operated helicopter though I donÕt have it. IÕd like to be a boxer when I grow up. I am so happy living here I would like to stay here forever.


My name is Utsav. I am 10 and I go to grade 5. My favourite game is football and my favourite player is Pele. My favourite place to visit is the zoo and my favourite animal is the tiger. IÕd like to become a doctor when I grow up.

:portraits:IMG_33649 Kumar.JPG

IÕm Kumar. I am 11 years old and IÕm in grade 6. IÕve been here for nearly 3 years. My favourite subject is math. I love playing cricket with my friends. I am very disciplined, I love studying and I want is to become smarter. I dream to be a brave Gurkha soldier.

:portraits:IMG_33000 Suroj.JPG

My name is Suroj. I am 11. I am in grade 5. I came here 5 years ago. I like to play and read. I always win in memory games. I want to be a scientist when I grow up. My wish is to make everybody happy.

:portraits:IMG_33356 Sushila.JPG

My name is Sushila. I am 12 years old and I am in grade 8. My favourite subjects are Math and Science.  I love to play badminton and I love visiting with the volunteers. My favourite place in Nepal is Pokhara though I havenÕt been there. IÕd like to be a doctor so that I can help people. I wish that I could always be with my Helpless Colony family.

:portraits:IMG_33560 Hira.JPG

My name is Hira. I am 13 and IÕm in grade 8. My favourite subjects are Science and Math. My favourite animal is rabbit because it has a nice white colour. When I grow up I would like to be a rich man so that I can help others. I like to visit temples and my favourites in Kathmandu are Swayambu and Bodhanath. Mommy saved me when I was very sick with meningitis so I think I am alive thanks to her.


I am Umesh.  I am 14 and IÕve been here for 4 years.  I like to play football. IÕd love to be a football player when I grow up. If I could make I wish I would like to have good marks in District Level Examinations. I like to visit monuments and temples and I would like to go to Pokhara.I want the volunteers to come to the orphanage so that I can talk to them and improve my English.

:portraits:IMG_33223 Ujjwal.JPG

I am Ujjwal. IÕm 14 years old and I go to grade 9. My favourite subject is math and IÕd like to be an engineer when I grow up. I wish that our Helpless Colony grows bigger and stronger and never ends and that my future is successful. I am very thankful to the orphanage because it helps to make my future bright.

:portraits:IMG_33500 Alisha B.JPG

My name is Alisha. I am 15 and I am in grade 10. IÕve been here for 10 years. My favourite subject is math.  My wish is to have a good result in my SLC examination. IÕd like to be an accountant when I grow up. My favourite movie is a Nepali movie ŅNovember RainÓ. I love it when the volunteers come because it is easy to speak English with them.

:portraits:IMG_33501 Kabita.JPG

I am Kabita.  I am 16 years old and IÕm in grade 9. My favourite subject is math. I like to listen to music and to travel. I like to play guitar. My dream is to be an astronaut and to go to the Moon.

:portraits:IMG_33624 Kabir.JPG

I am Kabir. I am 17. I am in grade 10. IÕve been in the orphanage for about 10 years. My favourite subject in school is math. I love bodybuilding. My dream is to be an airplane pilot.

:portraits:IMG_33623 Tara.JPG

My name is Tara. I am 17. Recently I started on-the-job training in an embroidery factory. My task there is to oversee the production lines. I like to play cricket. My wish is the world peace. IÕd like to one day open a hotel in the Thamel area. I wish more volunteers came here because we can share our history with them and play and speak English with them.

:portraits:IMG_33447 Sunil.JPG

My name is Sunil though my friends call me Bhim. I am 16 and IÕve been here for almost 10 years. I love football and my favourite team is Manchester United. My dream job is to become a British Army Gurkha. I was born in Dadhing and that is my favourite place in Nepal. In future I would like to open another orphanage but have Mommy as the chair.

:portraits:IMG_33589 Rohit.JPG

My name is Rohit. I am 16 years old. IÕm in grade 9. I joined the orphanage almost 10 years ago. My dream is that I have several dogs and every morning I can go jogging with them. One day I would like to be a lawyer so that I can help people who did not get justice. I like when the volunteers visit because I can ask them questions about their countries and learn from them. It is very important that the volunteers come here because the orphanage is run by a single woman who doesnÕt get any other support. For me Mommy is everything.


:portraits:IMG_33601 Alisha R.JPG

I am Alisha. I am 18. I like to sing. I want to be a nurse. IÕm here from the start of the orphanage. I love the whole family and I am very happy to be here.

:portraits:IMG_33567 Jyoti.JPG

I am Jyoti. I am 20 years old. I have already finished school and like Tara recently I started my training to work in an embroidery factory. My favourite animals are birds because they look beautiful. My favourite place in Nepal is my birthplace, Kunchha Lamjung district. The volunteers are welcome in this orphanage because they can play with the children and teach in English to them. I would like to stay in this orphanage all my life and I donÕt want to leave this home.


:portraits:IMG_33673 Laxmi.JPG

My name is Laxmi. I am 30 years old. I like sad songs. I live in the orphanage and I help to cook and take care of the children. When I just came here, I had no experience of cooking for so many people and I was afraid that the gas cooker we use to cook might blow up! I am very happy to see all the small children every day and to forget all the sadness from my life before. An electric rice cooker would make life easier for me. My dream is that my son grows up to be a good person and has a good job.



I am Nanu. IÕm 37. I started this orphanage because I come from a very poor family and I donÕt want other children to have the same difficulties when growing up and when getting educated as I had. I love playing and singing with children and I want the children to always be happy and smiling. I really want the volunteers to come here to help the children and also to contribute to the orphanage economically. My dream is that we have our own house so that we can look after more orphans, play with them and cook for them. There are many other single women in Nepal and I would love to organize free training for them to help them to improve their life.



3.   Monthly budget: expenses and donations

In this chapter we explain the costs of running our orphanage to help understand our need for support. These are average costs over the year as they appeared in May 2014. For some items that appear only once or twice a year, we have made a yearly estimation and divided it by 12 to get a monthly average. All costs are in Nepali rupees (Rs). 1 US$ approximately equals 95 Rs. We have also included the amounts in US$ for easier understanding.

The orphanage is run on the basis of donations that are solicited month to month. A small portion of income comes thanks to the visiting volunteers. We have no permanent source of income and no government support. As the donations are irregular, we have to constantly look for more donations to cover our costs.


Monthly in Rs

Monthly in US$


May 2014

May 2014

Building expenses


$ 370

Food items


$ 403

School items


$ 435



$ 1,207

4.   Expenses detail


Monthly in Rs

Monthly in US$


May 2014

May 2014

House costs



House rent


$ 263



$ 13



$ 9



$ 8

Garbage collection


$ 4



$ 18

Mobile phones


$ 11

TV subscription


$ 4

Light bulbs


$ 5

Mosquito repellent liquid


$ 2

Other house costs (small repairs etc)


$ 32

Total house costs


$ 370




Food costs





$ 126

Dal black and red


$ 38



$ 21

Bitten rice for kids school lunches


$ 38



$ 21



$ 28

Chicken meat


$ 34

Gas for cooking


$ 63

Oil for cooking


$ 25

Soap and detergent powder


$ 8

Total food costs


$ 403

(the table continues overleaf)               


School costs



School fees


$ 313

School uniforms


$ 17

School sports uniforms


$ 11

School shoes


$ 13

School books


$ 33

School supplies


$ 9

School bags


$ 10

Sandals for home


$ 3

Hospital expenses


$ 26

Total school costs


$ 435






$ 1.207

5.   Future activities plan

In order to raise the standard of living and to make our colony more sustainable, we have identified a number of investments that must be made. We are looking for the sources of financial help in order to implement those activities and you can find them listed here by level of urgency.

į      URGENT: Tables for studying and eating

As of today we are always eating on the floor and we are doing our homework sitting on the floor. Having a table on which we could do our homework would be extremely useful for us. We need 3 tables and 6 benches. The total costs of all these items would be 50,000 Rs ($526).


į      URGENT: Big lamps

Due to limitations of the Nepali electricity grid, we get electricity only several times a day for some hours. It would be very useful for us to obtain big rechargeable lamps so that we could do our homework when there is no electricity. We have 5 rooms so we need 5 lamps. The cost of one lamp is 1,500 Rs, so the total cost would be 7,500 Rs ($79).


į      URGENT: First aid kit

We donÕt have any medicines so whenever there is even a small medical problem, we have difficult time addressing it. The cost of one first aid kit is 1,500 Rs ($16).


į      URGENT: Electric rice cooker

We have to cook a lot of rice and currently we are using a gas rice cooker which is inconvenient and dangerous. An electric rice cooker would make our life a lot easier. The cost of a rice cooker is 5,000 Rs ($53).


į      URGENT: Cupboard for childrenÕs shoes

We donÕt have a cupboard so all the childrenÕs shoes are simply lying on the floor. A cupboard might cost 8,000 Rs ($84).


į      Hangers for clothes

We also need hangers for clothes. We need 4 hangers at a cost of 3,000 Rs, total cost 12,000 Rs ($126).


į      Vacuum cleaner

The only way we can clean the floors right now is by swiping them. A vacuum cleaner would be extremely useful for us. The cost of a vacuum cleaner is 5,000 Rs ($53).


į      Sewing machine

Our only sewing machine broke down recently and we need a new one urgently. Jyoti who is studying embroidery is very good at sewing clothes. The cost of a sewing machine is 5,000 Rs ($53).


į      ChildrenÕs games

Most of our games are old and out of order. We would love to get two badminton rackets, two table tennis rackets, a football, a basketball and some board games. The total cost of all games would be 5,000 Rs ($53).


į      Mixer

When we need to cut garlic and other vegetables, we sometimes have to beat them with stones. A mixer would make things much quicker. The cost is 2,000 Rs ($21).


į      Solar panels

The electricity is one of our major costs. More importantly, we get electricity only several times a day due to limitations of the Nepali network. The solar panels would provide us with a permanent source of electricity. The cost of purchasing and installing a solar panel is 20,000 Rs. We can install two solar panels on our roof, which would cost 40,000 Rs ($421).


į      Our own house

Our biggest dream is to have our own house. Our biggest torture is having to constantly look for the money to pay the monthly house rent which is our biggest fixed expense. The cost of a piece of land and a house fit for an orphanage in Nepal is about 10,000,000 Rs ($105,000).

6.   How to be a volunteer in our colony

Over the years we have had more than 100 volunteers in our Happiness Colony. We are eagerly looking forward to welcoming our new volunteers because they provide us with invaluable help.

The activities in which we most often get help from volunteers are as follows:

-       Speaking English with us

-       Playing with us

-       Helping with our homework (English, math, science)

-       Organising and taking part in our extracurricular activities (play football and cricket, taking walks, going to the movies, visiting temples)

-       Helping with the housework (cleaning, cooking, fixing clothes)

-       Administering first aid

If you have any specific skills, such as business, marketing, teaching English, plumbing, electrician, building, nursing, sowing, sports, this would be extremely helpful for us as you could both apply your skill in our house and/or you could teach us this skill.

The usual day of a volunteer in the orphanage begins around 7am when we start doing our homework and the volunteers can help us. After weÕve all had our breakfast at around 8.30, the volunteers take the little children to their school and the rest of the children take the school bus. From about 9.30 to about 4pm the volunteers have free time which can be used to discover the local culture and to visit the many tourist attractions around the Kathmandu valley. We come back from school at about 4pm and then we all play and hang around the house together until around 6.30 when we all eat dinner together. In the evening we do our homework and we would appreciate if you were there to help us with anything from math to English to science. We go to sleep at around 10pm. We have a day off from school on Saturday and we suggest that the volunteers spend the whole day with us. At the end of September and beginning of October there are two weeks of holidays in Nepal during which we donÕt go to school.

We expect the volunteers to contribute to our costs. It is important to understand that when the volunteers come through intermediary organizations, only 10-15% of the fees they pay eventually reaches us. If you come to us directly, 100% of the money goes to the orphanage.

We propose to the volunteers to contribute as follows:

Length of stay

1 week

2 weeks

3 weeks

1 month


15,000 rupees

20,000 rupees

25,000 rupees

30,000 rupees


= $158

= $211

= $263

= $316

We would also greatly appreciate if the volunteers could contribute to the future activities as described in Chapter 5.

7.   Practical information

Helpless Colony is located in the region of Kathmandu called Boudanilkantha. The exact address of the orphanage is Narayanthan, Ghumti, Pasikot. You can follow this link to see the Google Maps location of the orphanage.

Narayanthan is a suburb of Kathmandu which is centered around a large temple devoted to Vishnu (also called the Boudhanilkantha Temple). The temple is about 15 minutes walk from the orphanage. There are many local food restaurants, internet cafˇs and shops in the area around the temple. Also within the walking distance is a Krishna temple, Katmandu Animal Treatment Centre and a monastery which can be reached after a hike up the mountains in the Shivapuri National Park.

The easiest way to reach the orphanage from the airport is to take a taxi which costs around 1000 rupees. We can pick you up from the airport if that is more convenient for you. From Thamel, the touristic area in the centre of Kathmandu, the taxi to the orphanage costs around 400 rupees and it takes about 30 minutes. Our volunteers often take a public microbus from Thamel which costs 20 rupees and is a cultural experience in itself.

Approximate distances to different locations of interest:

į      Nearest public bus station Š 10 minutes walk,

į      Nearest phone/internet cafˇ Š 15 minutes walk,

į      Nearest major touristic area Thamel Š 30 minutes drive,

į      Nearest medical services for minor ailments Š 15 minutes walk,

į      Nearest major hospital Š 30 minutes drive.

Our house has 4 floors. The childrenÕs rooms are located on floors 2 and 3. The kitchen is on floor 3. We usually eat on the large terrace that is located next to the kitchen on floor 3. The volunteers live in their own room on the top floor. The room can be closed and it is perfectly safe to leave personal things there. There are two showers/toilets which are located in the staircase between the floors. We only have cold water. Electricity is on for only several hours each day. From our house we can see the mountains that make up the Northern ridge of the Kathmandu valley. The house is surrounded by fields and other detached houses. On holidays we play cricket or football in the field next to our house.

The costs of living in Nepal are relatively low by Western standards. For example, the cost of a lunch in a local restaurant is 100-150 rupees (1-1.5 USD). The cost of accommodation and food at the orphanage is included within the contribution and you can expect to spend no more than 10 USD daily for other optional expenses like visiting local landmarks or going to restaurants. The volunteers usually buy gifts for their family in the area of Thamel where you can be sure to find great deals. For example, an authentic pashmina scarf can cost about 300 rupees. Major credit cards are accepted in local ATM, the Nabil bank and the Nepali Investment Bank ATMs are the most reliable ones and can be found throughout Kathmandu.

 We strongly advise our volunteers to take out an insurance policy for the duration of their stay in Nepal. With regards to the necessary immunizations, please follow the CDC guidelines

Most nationalities can get a visa on arrival in the Kathmandu International airport. 30-day visa costs 40 USD and 90-day visa costs 100 USD. Be careful when you arrive not to follow the touts that will try to lead you through the airport: they are harmless but they expect a large tip. When applying for a visa, we advise our volunteers to simply state that they come for tourism, as stating that they come to work as volunteers may lead to a snowballing bureaucratic process.

We suggest the following packing list:

į      Camera

į      Mobile phone (it is very easy to get a local SIM card)

į      Map of Kathmandu / guidebook

į      Mosquito repellent

į      Toiletries

į      First aid kit

į      Sunglasses

į      Sunblock

į      Towel

į      Flash light

į      Electric adapter (the current here is 220 volts, 50Hz, two rounded pins)

8.   Activities we provide for the volunteers

We are extremely happy to accompany our volunteers in their sightseeing trips and to teach them what we know about Nepali culture. We offer the following activities to the volunteers:

į      Sightseeing

Kathmandu is a fantastic city full of UNESCO World Heritage sites. We love going to the world famous temples of Swayambu Temple (the Monkey Temple on the hill overlooking Kathmandu) and Boudhnath Temple (the largest stupa in Nepal). The Boudhanilkantha Vishnu Temple is literally just a 15 minutes walk from the orphanage. There is also a Krishna Temple nearby. The entrance to the Shivapuri National Park is also very close to the orphanage and it is possible to take a 3-hour hike up the Nagigumba peak to the Lhundrup Choeling Monastery. There are also some meditation centers nearby.


į      Learning about Nepali language and culture

All the kids in the orphanage speak English and go to school where English is the language of instruction, but of course we come from all over Nepal and from all kinds of backgrounds. No volunteers go away without a deeper understanding of Nepali culture and without acquiring quite a Nepali vocabulary!


į      Cooking Nepali food

Our main food is dal bhat, which is steamed rice with a cooked lentil soup. We always add some curry to our dal bhat. We love cooking other Nepali foods however and we would enjoy sharing our knowledge with the volunteers.

9.   Contact information

There is a number of ways through which you can contact us.

Our main email address is

Our fixed landline number is (+977) 1 4370947.

The mobile phone number of Nanu (manager of the Helpless Colony) is (+977) 984 1770351. It is better to arrange a phone call with Nanu in advance so that Nanu has someone who can translate for her from English to Nepali. The mobile phone number of Alisha who speaks good English is (+977) 986 0048736.

In case you would like to make a donation, here are our bank requisites:

Account holder's name: Nanu Rai

Bank name: Everest Bank Limited


Account number: 02800501203763

We also have a P.O. box where the donations of clothes and school supplies can be sent. The Nepali local postal system is not very reliable so it is a good idea to send any parcel with a specialized logistics company. The address of the P.O. box is:

Nanu Rai

P.O. Box : 15142

Kantipur Parcel Care : 488

Kathmandu, Nepal

Please feel free to visit out Facebook page:

Some past volunteers have written in their blogs about their experiences here. You can check out their blogs here:

If you have any other inquiries or would like to hear from former volunteers, please feel free to contact Aleksei at and William at

10.        Photos of our house




Volunteers room



The roof next to the volunteers room




Girls room



Big boys room

:volunteer prospect:IMG_33345-girls-room.JPG



Small boys room



Staircase and shower/toilet door

:volunteer prospect:IMG_33346-kitchen.JPG


:volunteer prospect:IMG_33349-terrace.JPG






The view from the roof of the house


The view from the roof of the house