Leanna Flaherty (USA)



In 2005 I took a huge leap of faith and traveled across the world to volunteer for a small, fairly new organization that was then known as “Namaste Children’s House”. I had no idea at the time that I was headed for one of the most amazing and profound experiences of my life. I spent nearly four months volunteering at the orphanage, helping with things such as translating official documents, writing biographies for each of the children to be posted on the website, teaching English classes, planning and implementing small outings, assisting in the kitchen at mealtimes, teaching guitar lessons, and accompanying the house uncles on field visits to the homes of scholarship children. Though we volunteers had a variety of duties associated with our service, our primary task was simply to love the children. And trust me, this was the easiest task in the world. There is absolutely nothing like walking up to the orphanage gate in the morning and hearing a dozen little voices calling, “Namaste Auntie!!!” I still cherish the many sweet little memories of my days spent with the kids, singing and playing with the littlest girls and boys, learning Nepali games or dances from the older girls who would giggle like crazy at my ineptitude, laughing and playing guitar with the older boys…countless precious moments. Namaste Children’s House is a place so full of love and laughter. The house mommies, didis, and uncles do a great job providing guidance, love, and support to each of the children – a true family experience – and we volunteers did our best to follow their example. Working with the staff was an incredibly inspiring experience…so inspiring that I returned the next year for five weeks, this time with my (then) fourteen year old niece in tow. The organization has grown so much since then, thanks to the board’s extraordinary vision, dedication, and hard work. These people are true heroes and I am so thankful I was able to play a small part in building the Namaste community.

Leanna Flaherty