Dr Peter Hall gives a gift to Bibek from Susan Williamson, a nurse at Family Doctors who sponsors him. Children play a circle game. Amanda McKay with Rossani. The main building of the orphanage.
A house in rural Kathmandu has become a home for Nepalese orphans, thanks to the work of Stanmore Bay’s Amanda McKay.
Amanda says while she was trekking in Nepal with her husband Ian 16 years ago, the sight of children on the streets of Kathmandu broke her heart.
“There are many reasons why children end up abandoned, and there is no social support network there,” she says. “I couldn’t walk away.”
She connected with a Nepalese woman and used an extensive network that came from her work as a journalist to establish an orphanage.
“I had never done anything like that before and was nervous about promising a future to those kids,” Amanda says. “I wondered how on earth I’d find the money.”
She says right at the start she decided that she and her husband would cover the administration costs, so that every cent donated goes to the Firefly Orphanage.
Amanda visits once or twice a year and says the children are thriving. All their needs are provided for, including education and, at the end of their schooling, they are integrated back into society.
“We have 100 children there now, which is capacity, and a fantastic team running it,” she says. “There are a lot of success stories – including that many of the children I originally took in are graduating from university.”
The orphanage has chickens and goats as well as an orchard and gardens. There are two big buildings – one for boys and one for girls – a communal kitchen and onsite Primary school.
Recently local medical practice, Family Doctors, has leant its support after Dr Peter Hall visited Firefly Orphanage when he was in Kathmandu last year.
“It’s such an inspiring place,” he says. “I met a boy called Bibek who is sponsored by one our practice nurses, and also had a look around the facilities. Some of those kids have had horrendous backgrounds but now they have a chance for a decent life. We are going to make a regular monthly donation and invite our patients to contribute if they are able. There is a huge need in Nepal and sometimes it seems overwhelming but this is one project that is making a real difference.”