The Core Team

The Happy Kids Center team is full of vibrant young people from all over the world. Get to know our core team members, our support staff, and our board!


Nicole Heker

Director of Development

Nicole is an American who has lived in Asia for the past three years. She became involved with the Happy Kids Center in January 2015 when she met one of the original HKC founders in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Since then she has been working toward building a stable and sustainable future for the Happy Kids Center. Nicole studied Communications Arts and Sciences from Penn State University with a focus in intercultural communications. This year, she will be riding her bike around the world to fundraise for the Happy Kids Center!


Joyce Rafii

Director of Finance & Health Programs

Joyce grew up in the city of Lausanne, in the French region of Switzerland. Joyce’s area of expertise is healthcare, which has been her area of study and profession since 2014. For the last three years, Joyce has lived in Singapore and Malaysia when she is not at Nepal with Happy Kids Center. Joyce arrived at HKC in early 2016 while volunteering with a center for muscular dystrophy in Bhaktapur. She quickly became an integral core team member and manages the HKC finances along with developing our health programs.


Ellen Carney

Director of Communications & Youth Programs

Ellen was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but has been working in Asia since graduating from Temple University in 2015 with a degree in Rhetoric and Advocacy.  Ellen first moved to Thailand to teach high school English but found her true passion at Happy Kids Center. Ellen now runs international communications for Happy Kids Center and has led the development of our youth programs, founding our sponsorship program, EducateHKC and our child-marriage prevention program, Kanya: String of Hope. Ellen has spent the better part of the last two years residing in Bhaktapur and is currently studying Nepali Language at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.


Chadani Dyola

Center Coordinator

Chadani is the heart and soul of day to day life at Happy Kids Center. Chadani was born and raised in Bhaktapur, just beside where Happy Kids Center now stands. Chadani first became involved with Happy Kids Center while acting as a translator for the founders when HKC was first being built. She was then hired as the first HKC employee!  You will find Chadani at HKC 6 days out of the week, organizing daily activities and spending time with the Happy Kids. When she is not at Happy Kids Center, Chadani is a teacher at The Dyola School.


Shalu Dyola
Assistant Center Coordinator

Shalu grew up in Kathmandu, but now resides in Bhaktapur, in the community HKC serves.  Her compassionate and playful energy makes her a great role model and perfect fit at HKC! Shalu is responsible for assisting with the meal days and daily activities at HKC. Shalou is also helping to develop our nutrition program, which is currently in its trial phase.


Miguel Dyola
Animal Care Specialist

Miguel is the younger brother of our Center Coordinator, Chadani. He was 15 when the Happy Kids Center was founded and is always seeking ways to become more involved with the Center. From his many fish tanks to the 24 baby chicks he is raising on his roof, we have watched him grow over the years into a man with an infectious passion for animals. Miguel is responsible for teaching the children to care for, feed, and clean up after our chickens at Happy Chicken Center and will be helping us to expand this program in the future!

The Didis

Every week, in their small kitchen, our lovely Didis prepare our Meal Day feast which can serve 80 people!

The word Didi means “big sister” in Nepali, which makes sense because at HKC our team is like one big family.

Thats why the daal baht is so delicious, because it is cooked with love!

Board Memebers

The Happy Kids Center exists because the support of community members who have stepped up and chosen to be a part of our family. Shekar, Charan, Deepesh, SatyaRam, Srijan, Suman and Chadani are our confidants, our advisors, our friends and family here. We would not be the Happy Kids Center without them.


Charan Dyola

President of the Board

Charan Dyola has lived his entire life in the community that Happy Kids Center aims to serve. Charan built The Dyola School, the school who provided land for Happy Kids Center to build and operate when he felt that the children in his community were not receiving the education they deserved. Charan is a leader in his community and has always been by our side, helping Happy Kids Center to grow in any way he can!