The Umbrella Foundation Nepal
Tsewang joined Umbrella in 2009 as a Reintegration Officer, and was initially responsible for tracing the families of the Umbrella children. He then worked to reconnect them with their families and where possible, eventually reintegrated them back into their communities. Due to his great work, he has been internally promoted over the years eventually landing the position of Program Director, in which he has overseen Umbrella’s programs for the past 3 years.
Imogen Harper Communications Advisor
Having first travelled to Nepal in 2015, I came back in August 2016 to intern with The Umbrella Foundation for 3 months as I was impressed with the work of the organisation and their stance on ethical volunteering. Since then, I have been lucky enough to work for The Umbrella Foundation as the Communications & Donor Relations Director until August 2020, and then as a advisor for the final stage of Umbrella’s journey. My background of study is both Psychology and Peace & Conflict Studies, and I have several years experience working in a Communications role in Sydney, Australia. So far, it has been an incredible experience watching the Umbrella kids and youth work towards their dreams, and become such impressive and responsible citizens of Nepal.
The Umbrella Foundation Ireland
Conor FoxBoard of Directors
I have been involved with the Umbrella Foundation since 2007 in many different capacities. I lived in Nepal and helped run the organisation with an amazingly dedicated international and Nepali team from 2009 – 2011. Since then I have been an active Board Member in Ireland, including fundraising, mentoring and supporting the teams in Ireland and Nepal, as well as being Board Secretary. My background is in the Charity and Social Work sectors. It has been an amazing journey so far with incredible and passionate people, particularly seeing this grassroots organisation become a model for responsible family reintegration, childcare and youth development.
Stephen JenkinsonBoard of Directors
I first visited Nepal and Umbrella in 2007, and have been involved with this special organisation ever since. Building on the great work of the likes of Viva, Jacky, Dave and Harry, I took over as Country Director in early 2009 and together with Conor and Amy Mulcahy, the three of us ran things in Nepal until late 2011. I have been an Irish board member since 2012 and continue to work closely with Umbrella’s Country Directors’ in a mentoring capacity. I take great pride in seeing how a small grassroots organisation like ours has managed to become a leader in the field of family reintegration and youth development for children in care in Nepal.
Macartan GaughanBoard of Directors
A chance meeting in 2011 with a former volunteer in Nepal, on what was supposed to be a fleeting visiting en route to a new life in Australia, first introduced me to Umbrella. While I learned first hand about the difficulties faced by our children and Nepal as a whole after joining the team in 2011, the amazing work achieved by our small organisation always gave me hope. I left Nepal at the end of 2013, but I remain involved and I continue to help out where I can.
Irish Country Coordinator
With a background in engineering, Darren has experience across a wide range of fields and project management. He has been to Nepal twice now, and has spent 3 months volunteering with Umbrella in 2016 so is excited to rejoin the team.
Founders of The Umbrella Foundation
I got involved with my friends Dave and Viva in establishing The Umbrella Foundation. Dave had been one of the sponsors of my superbike race team and, after winning the world championship in 2004, I raffled two of my competition superbikes to fund our work rescuing vulnerable children from unregistered ‘orphanages’. In 2005, I took on the role of Chairman, co-ordinating fundraising efforts, working to build our supporter base and participating in the strategic development of the organisation. I am now a retired electrician and supermarket owner, as well as a proud granddad and volunteer with local charities in Dunboyne, County Meath.
I’ve lived in Ashford, County Wicklow since 1976, selling motorbike parts and accessories wholesale, and also raced motorbikes competitively, becoming the 1997 250cc Road Race Champion at 51. Whilst visiting my daughter in Nepal in 2003, I heard Viva’s story about rescuing vulnerable children and had to get involved. We discovered corruption and abuse in a local ‘orphanage’ we were fundraising for, and in 2005 decided to open our own residential childcare homes under the Umbrella Foundation Nepal. With Harry getting involved and Jacky becoming the country director, I set up the board in Ireland and have been fundraising ever since.
I lived in Nepal for many years and was a teacher at the American International school here during the outbreak of the civil war. Unable to turn my back on this country that I love so much, I started to take action and address the problems that were now on my own doorstep. With the help of friends in Ireland, I initially supported a children’s home financially. However, when it came to light that money was being misused by management, I was involved in shutting it and others down with the help of the Child Welfare Board. The children rescued were placed in new, safe and caring homes and the Umbrella Foundation was born.