Kavita grew up in a Nepal village in the Pokhara area. She was educated in Norway at the University of Bergen. She holds a degree in government studies. Upon returning to Nepal, she began working with the Nepal government and the National Land Use Project. When she studied in Bergen, her research dealt with Women's Studies. She began to focus her attention on women's work skills in the Nepal villages. Now Kavita works with village women to empower them with a focus on health. She has joined up with HANDS in Nepal to help us establish workshops for village women, teaching primarily sewing skills and sanitary pad workshops. She also helps teach village women how to make their own hygiene products, and serves as a field guide for us in understanding better the needs of women and children in the Himalayas. She has led workshops for HANDS in Nepal at our Learning Center and for women who have relocated to Kathmandu due to earthquake hardships.
Bishwo has worked with HANDS for the past 5 years. He has served as our project coordinator for our first library in the Annapurna area, in Astam village. He has also helped HANDS in Nepal with adding a classroom building for a Dalite school in Kalika, near Astam. Bishwo supervised our first Learning Center in Jirjika. He is now overseeing the building our second Learning Center. Bishwo does all this as a volunteer because he says he wants to help village people achieve a better lifestyle. Bishwo owns and manages Marigold Hotel in Pokhara. He also shares responsibilities of running the family owned Eco Village in Astam along with his brothers Purna and Bednidhi, and Amrit Trekking. He is also a member of TAAN (Treking Agency Association of Nepal) and has served on the board for the past 10 years, and is currently directing the development of new trails in the Annapurna region.
Purna studied business management in Singapore for several years, returning to work along with his brother Bishwo and Bednidhi for the family’s Eco Village in Astam. He has applied his skills by developing the ecotourism business along with his brothers and helps and supports his wife Kavita with technical support for her women's programs in Nepali villages. Purna also is a great support for HANDS in Nepal, delivering sewing machines to our projects in his 4 x 4 truck, and helping us with many of our transportation needs.
Bednidhi is one of the owners and managers of Annapurna Eco Village and Amrit Treks (like Bishwo and Purna). He has been involved in the tourism business for many years. Apart from tourism, he is conscious about the environment, thus has been working in environmental planning, especially in waste management and sanitation. Bednidhi has received training for Slow Sand Water Filtration systems by JICA and Kobe University. He contributes his knowledge regarding sanitation by installing water filtration systems in many places especially in rural community schools (along with Purna and Kavita). We at HANDS look forward to helping villagers with these important programs and thank Bednidhi for his help and assistance. Bednidhi also oversees the sustainable organic coffee cultivation, roasting and sales at Eco Village.
Bhupendra grew up in a remote village in the Ganesh Himals, where he had to walk many miles in order to attend school. He was the supervisor for our second school in his home village, Fulkharka. We also worked with Bhupendra in building our first library in Nepal, also in his home village. Bhupendra helped supervise the building of a classroom for the middle school in the next village. Bhupendra also runs a trekking company in Thamel, Kathmandu, called View Nepal; his office often serves as headquarters for HANDS in Nepal, letting us store books and sewing machines there until we can take them up to the village areas. He has offered endless support and help in transporting us and our gear up to remote areas in the Ganesh Himals, all on a volunteer basis.
Our HANDS in Nepal “right hand man” has worked with us since Danny Chaffin first started HANDS in 2007. Kelsang, a Tibetan refugee, who walked out of Tibet over the Himalayas as a child, knew many languages, including Nepali, Tibetan and Hindi. There was no one who knew the streets of Kathmandu better than Kelsang! He served as our guide and translator and helped us find our way around Nepal and lined up appointments, made reservations, and other services we needed in order to work in Nepal. Tashi Deleks Kelsang! Our dear Kelsang passed away May 4, 2019 in Kathmandu.
Annapurna Eco Village
Although the Eco Village is a place, not a person, it has become the HANDS Headquarters when we are working in the Annapurna area. The home-grown food, organic coffee and tea grown on the property, cozy rooms and support of the Adhikari family who run the lodge, have made the Eco Village our home away from home. Many of our projects are within walking distance of the lodge, which sits at the top of a mountain in the Astam district, about a 40 minute jeep ride from Pokhara. On a clear day, the views of the Annapurnas are indescribably beautiful, and provide endless inspiration. We thank the Adhikari family for making us safe and comfortable when we are working in Nepal.