Featuring Lalit Shahi and Eric Fairman, the Papas


Lalit Shahi and the children of Shelter Home celebrating Holi Festival.

There is a one beautiful city in the world named Kathmandu (Capital of Nepal). Nepal lies between two of the fastest growing economies of the world: India and China. But Nepal has been unable to make progress like other south Asian Nations. Many people in Nepal are living below the poverty level. About 80% of the population are engaged in agriculture in Nepal and the remainder in other service industries. According to the Government data, only 55% of the population are literate as a direct result of poverty. Many parents in Nepal are still unable to enroll their children into schools due to the financial problems.

In Kathmandu, there is a one young man age 29, who came from the Rukum District of Nepal (one of the most conflict affected zones of the recent civil war). It is a district lacking electricity and proper roads for communication with the outside world. but the young man Lalit Shahi has been giving the gift of life to 17 vulnerable children and three of his own children. He has been supporting them in terms of accommodation, food, health care, education and other essentials which lead towards a healthy lifestyle.

Lalit Shahi started his volunteering services at the age of 15 whilst he was gaining a secondary education in the Dolpa District of Nepal. He engaged in voluntary service with the Red Cross and in a Youth club. After completing SLC, young Lalit came to Kathmandu with his uncle to pursue higher education, with a big dream of becoming a qualified lawyer, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to obtain a university education due to economic difficulties . But now he is an aspiring young social worker who has been providing a new life for many vulnerable children through offering security and education. This is a great achievement in these troubled, economic and political times and he can be rightly proud of his successes. His father left him at an early age and he was effectively an orphan in Rukum District.

In the month of February 2010, Lalit started own children’s ‘Shelter Home’ (Volunteer Foundation Nepal) in Sanepa, with Lalitpur with his 3 children and 9 vulnerable children. These 9 children came from various parts of Nepal, such as Mugu, Dolpa, Humla and Jumla. With the aim of giving them opportunities to become contributing members of Nepal society, Lalit initiated ‘Shelter Home’ as a project of Volunteer Foundation Nepal. Finding the necessary finance to manage and run the home was a continual challenge.

In the 2012, Lalit was contacted be a retired Steiner-Waldorf teacher from the UK by the name of Eric Fairman. Eric had been voluntarily working with Street Children in Boudha, but was now about to leave Nepal and was concerned for ‘his’ children who had affectionately named him ‘Papa’. Eric had met Lalit the previous year and had also visited Shelter Home. He shared his concerns with Lalit who agreed to head over to Boudha to meet the children and chat with Eric.

This meeting took place on 1 September, 2012. On that day, they jointly agreed to find premises of a home in Boudha for 5 of the Street Children. On Lalit’s insistence, it was agreed that the home would be called ‘Papa’s Home’, after the title bestowed on Eric by the Street Children. Papa Eric would find the finance for the project and Lalit would be the managing coordinator.

Fast forward to May 2013, we find out that 4 Street Children are now accommodated in Lalit’s former ‘Shelter Home’, having adopted the name of ‘Papa’s Home’ for the VFN project. Together with his own three children, 4 former Street Children and 13 another vulnerable children, the large family of 20 children with three adults, live happily together in the Lalitpur premises.

Papa Eric Fairman received the Nepal Friendship Peace Award in November 2012 in recognition of his social contributions in Nepal to not only Street Children, but also to Indian migrant beggars and other vulnerable people. Young Papa Lalit received the Social Development Award in April of this year in recognition of his work with Youth Foundation Nepal (a Nepal based youth led non-profit organization) and also for Lalit’s non-profit foundation ‘Volunteer Foundation Nepal’ encompassing ‘Papa’s Home’ in Lalitpur. Papa Lalit is looking for moral and financial support in running Papa’s Home.

Lalit Shahi has a big dream of opening a school for the Street Children in Kathmandu, but due to the lack of finance, he has been unable to pursue such an idea to date. His large family continue to obtain their education in the expensive private sector. Sourcing and collecting funds is a demanding task. Thankfully, Papa Eric has borne the bulk of the responsibility for this task over the past 6 months, raising sufficient money each month to meet the monthly out-goings. But Papa Eric also needs help in this undertaking.

Sunil KC, YFN President and Planet Diplomat Country Director.

To know more about Lalit Shahi Organization (Volunteer Foundation Nepal) : http://vfnvolunteer.org

Ready, Willing and Able

« Youth is not a troublemaker. Youth is a change maker. »
says Juju Kaji, a Nepali social worker.
2012. At one difficult time of national history, Nepali people face new challenges every day.
And still, youth is in the game