“Happy Kids Center is more than just a space,
it is a place where journeys begin.”
Happy Kids Center, Est. October 2015
In 2015, Nepal was hit by a catastrophic 7.9 earthquake that devastated the city of Bhaktapur. In response, aid workers and volunteers flooded Bhaktapur to assist in rebuilding the historic city. Even more heartbreaking than the physical destruction were the children, begging for rice and water in the streets.
Joanna Contat, Kevin Mumford, and Chris Love were among the volunteers dedicated to bringing stability back to the Bhaktapur area. The three took special interest in the children from the slums in Bheklukel. As they got to know these children they quickly recognized they were not living the life of children at all; instead of playing or going to school, they were bearing the weight of providing for their families; simply surviving. The volunteers decided they wanted to give these children something more sustainable than charity, they wanted to give them a future.
Thus, Happy Kids Center was born.
A Shift in Mission, April 2016
Initially, Happy Kids Center was a simple, semi permanent structure designed as a fun filled, safe environment for children to escape the devastation just outside. In the last two years, the mission of Happy Kids Center has shifted as we expand as an organization. In April of 2016 Happy Kids Center was turned over to a new team of leaders, Nicole Heker, Joyce Rafii and Ellen Carney who would take the center to new heights.
The center is now a permanent, solar powered, weatherproof structure that is covered floor to ceiling in murals painted by traveling artists. Today, Happy Kids Center is an officially registered Nepali NGO, and works with 80 children who range in age from 3 to 16 years old. About half of our children are currently in school while the other half work in the streets, begging or collecting recyclables to sell to the government. We are working toward changing that! The center is no longer HKC’s only project and through our new programs we are empowering our Happy Kids break the cycle of poverty that they were raised within.
Happy Kids Center has expanded to include 5 major programs
A Scholarship Program for children who have not been able to go to school.
Health and Nutrition Programs for those in our community who cannot afford proper health care and those who are suffering from malnutrition
Community Meal Days, which unite the community while ensuring children have a full, nutritious meal.
Vocational skill building programs for children who never went to school
Child marriage prevention program called Kanya: String of Hope, teaching girls to make bracelets while working with the families to wait to marry their daughters until they turn 18.
Through these programs we hope to enable all of our children to pursue the life of their dreams and change the trajectory of their own lives!