For the last 17 years, HCC’s Kathmandu Signature Program has provided quality education, innovative mentorship and a nurturing environment to abandoned, orphaned and at-risk Nepali children. The Signature Program was established in 2000 in the capital city of Kathmandu, and serves approximately 50 students from primary school through the last year of university. Most of these children have been rescued from the overcrowded and underfunded state run orphanage system, and several more children joined the program during the 1996-2006 Civil War via the request of the then president of Nepal.
The Signature Program includes:
- Provisions of all necessities including food, clothes, and medicine
- Enrollment in top-quality, English-medium primary and secondary boarding schools
- Khushi Ghar youth home and annex apartments for high school and university students.
- House parents who provide family nurturing, consistent care and support
- Life-skills, self-awareness, communication, advanced mentorship and leadership training
- One-on-one mentoring; academic and career counseling, and exit-planning
- All school-related costs including transportation, internet, and tutoring
- Access to psychological counseling and self-esteem coaching
Education & the Group Home
The Signature Program enrolls students in top-quality, English medium boarding schools, providing them with a strong educational foundation that opens doors to higher education and stable employment. Since one’s family forms the foundation for self-image, relationships, stability and confidence, HCC’s creates a nurturing, surrogate family culture to support and encourage each child. Khushi Ghar, which means “Happy Home” in Nepali, provides a loving home base where students spend their weekends and holidays. Students in grades 11 and 12 live at Khushi Ghar full time and act as big “brothers and sisters” to the younger students by providing guidance and tutoring, and leading fun extracurricular activities, such as sports, music and crafts. Students also have access to emotional counseling and therapy, an almost unheard of solution in Nepal, to ensure that the systemic trauma associated with abandonment does not undermine their social, emotional and academic progress.
Once each student graduates high school, they continue to be supported if they secure a position in a university or technical school. With HCC’s help and guidance, they move into nearby apartments, and, after completing high school or higher education studies, begin working full-time. Many of the graduates stay involved with HCC regularly visiting Khushi Ghar to help lead projects and mentor the younger students.
The Mentorship & Life Skills Programs
Within the Signature Program are the innovative Life Skills and Mentorship Programs, which provide each student with the guidance and skills needed to successfully establish a successful, self-reliant life.
The Life Skills Program prepares the HCC students for life on their own by teaching them practical, day-to-day skills children would generally learn from their parents or families. The program teaches the students how to manage a home, through lessons in basic budgeting, paying bills, cooking and food shopping and general household chores. The program also provides them with enhanced professional skills through lessons in job interviewing techniques, computer and internet proficiency, and advanced English classes.
Students also participate in the innovative Mentorship Program, which aims to shift the paradigm for at-risk children from a position of an unwanted and marginalized victim, to a life of empowerment, dignity, self-esteem and self-fulfillment. Mentorship inspires self-awareness and gratitude by encouraging each student’s individual talents, skills and passions. The program teaches communication and leadership skills, emotional management, and team building within a community. Most importantly, HCC mentorship encourages a mindset of “leaders training leaders.” Giving back to the community is a cornerstone of the HCC educational philosophy, and our students and graduates give back to the community with a profound sense of gratitude and responsibility.
The HCC Signature Program actively promotes each student’s success giving them confidence, a sense of belonging and worth, an ability to communicate and empathize with others, and an overall joy in living – ensuring that they do not return to an impoverished life on the streets but instead live an empowered life of dignity. A former orphanage director said, “The HCC kids have a little light, a confidence, because they’ve had someone believe in them and give them skills to exist in the real world, not just in an institution.”