Umbrella Orgainzation Nepal

About Mission and History

The Umbrella Foundation is a family-first, children’s charity working to relieve the impact of
trafficking, poverty and war on the children of Nepal through projects which promote education, reintegration and community development.

Our History

Nepal has gone through many changes over the past two decades, with a 10-year insurgency changing the face of the country forever. Children were the biggest victims of the civil war and the thousands living on the streets or in homes and orphanages are the constant reminders of the price of Nepal’s struggle.

Northern Irish writer and teacher, Viva Bell, lived through it all, seeing the country she loved being torn apart and witnessing thousands of conflict-displaced children arriving in the capital every month. Feeling helpless and frustrated, she started to take action to address the problems on her own doorstep.

Viva’s course was set in motion when she met a street-child suffering from a simple throat infection. With no one to care for him, it had developed to a stage where he was severely dehydrated. She brought the boy to hospital and helped nurse him back to health and, after he recovered, she placed him in the care of one of Kathmandu’s many ‘orphanages’.

It was at this point that Dave Cutler entered the picture, offering to support the home financially and establish The Umbrella Foundation as a charity in Ireland. With his friend Harry Coogan as the Director in Ireland, they fundraised to renovate and improve the living conditions for the resident children. However it wasn’t long until the trio realized that their money was being siphoned off by the home’s managers, who were involved in other abusive behavior as well, Not an uncommon problem in Nepal’s ‘orphanages’. The answer was to take control of the matter themselves

In 2005, Viva and Dave founded The Umbrella Foundation and set up a residential childcare home of the highest standards. With the help of the government’s Social Welfare Board, they closed down the corrupt ‘orphanage’, rescued the children, and placed them in the homes where many continue to live today. These healthy, happy and well-adjusted children have been given a new lease on life and, for the first time, a dream of a better future for themselves and their country.
Jacky Buk from France took the mantle as country director and worked tirelessly to build up Umbrella to the organisation that stands today.

In 2005, Viva and Dave founded The Umbrella Foundation and set up a residential childcare home of the highest standards. With the help of the government’s Social Welfare Board, they closed down the corrupt ‘orphanage’, rescued the children, and placed them in the homes where many continue to live today. These healthy, happy and well-adjusted children have been given a new lease on life and, for the first time, a dream of a better future for themselves and their country.
Jacky Buk from France took the mantle as country director and worked tirelessly to build up Umbrella to the organisation that stands today.

In 2010-11, with an improved management structure for Umbrella in mind, a qualified and competent team of Nepali staff was hired to complement the international staff.

During 2011, Stephen, Conor and Amy returned to Ireland where they remain actively involved on the board of directors.

Shane (red and white stripes), Macartan (front centre, Umbrella t-shirt) and the local Nepali team November 2011

In December 2012, Macartan Gaughan took up the position of country director and Rajendra Kumar Raut came on board as Programme Director. Éadaoin Close, a volunteer in 2011 with a
background in primary teaching, stepped into the role of communications director, looking after all things sponsorship- and volunteer-related. Highlights in 2013 included the work of the
reintegration team with SVN, family tracing and rescue cases, the launch of our new website, partnerships with supporters in Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand, and the launch of a
‘Girls Health and Empowerment’ programme.

The Umbrella team in February 2014. Back Row (left to right): Éadaoin, Sujata, Deepa, Rajendra, Narayan, Gopal, Tsewang, Caroline (New Country Director). Front Row (left to right): Tulsi, Keshu, Ramesh, Raj Kumar, Guna, Saran, Narendra and Soban. Not pictured: Bibek

In late 2014, Umbrella said goodbye to Éadaoin Close as Communications Director and also to Rajendra Kumar Raut as Programme Director. Both Éadaoin and Rajendra worked tirelessly in developing our organisational capabilities and providing support for all of our children and youths. In place of Éadaoin came Jack Hogan, who volunteered with Umbrella in 2012 and Prem Singh Tharu  arrived to take over from Rajendra. 2014 also saw the arrival of Shyam Lama as Education Officer, Jay Ram Gurung as Admin Assistant and Dil Raj Joshi & Nabin Maharjan as Assistant Child Protection and Development (CPD) Officers. In addition, the office welcomed back Raj Kumar Magar.

In late 2011, Umbrella recruited Shane Cogan as country director and Macartan Gaughan as communications director. They launched volunteer teaching placements as part of the Rural Education Support Programme and Umbrella Trekking, a Non-profit company offering travel opportunities for visitors, providing trekking-guide experience to our young adults and generating funds for The Umbrella Foundation. As of 2012, 156 of our children had been successfully reintegrated with their families and communities.

The Umbrella Nepali team in May 2013, including Éadaoin Close – Communications Director (back row, left), Rajendra Kumar Raut – Programme Director (blue shirt, back row, centre) and Macartan Gaughan – Country Director (back row, right).

In late 2013, we said farewell and thanks to Macartan Gaughan for his enthusiasm in strengthening Umbrella as an organisation and tireless dedication to the care of the children and youth for almost 2 and a half years. He still remains actively involved overseas in raising funds and awareness. The torch was passed on to our new Country Director, Caroline Scheffer, a previous volunteer in 2010 from the Netherlands. Caroline has a Masters in Children’s Rights and has plenty of experience, having been working in organisations in Nepal over the past 3 years. 2014 saw a large number of our children successfully reintegrated as Umbrella continued to grow and excel. We are know considered to be one of the leading INGOs working in childcare in Nepal.

The Umbrella team in 2015 before the earthquake. Back row (l-r): Jack, Deepa, Caroline, Tsewang, Shyam. Middle row (l-r): Raj Kumar, Keshu, Raj Kumar, Nabin, Prem. Front row (l-r): Sujata, Dil Raj, Tulsi, Saran, Jay Ram.