In 2015, Nepal was hit by a catastrophic 7.9 earthquake that devastated the city of Bhaktapur. 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 a charity, they wanted to give them a future.

Thus, Happy Kids Center was born.

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 it expanded and turned over to a new team of leaders, Nicole Heker, Joyce Rafii and Ellen Carney.

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.


  • HKC 2019 Update

    When HKC first opened its doors only 42% of the children we serve were enrolled in school. The rest of the children spent their days working in the street, collecting recyclables to sell and begging. 100% of Indian girls were married by 16 years old and 70% of all children were considered severely underweight according to the World Health Organization’s statistics on BMI. In the last year HKC has seen much success in making our mission a reality. Today, 87% of HKC children are enrolled in formal education and only 8% engage in child labor, with no new children joining the workforce since 2016. December 2017, we launched a pilot child marriage prevention program called Kanya String of Hope. Kanya String of Hope provides improved educational and economic opportunities to at risk girls, encouraging personal growth empowerment and while offering alternatives to child marriage. After just one year of engagement, two girls who recently turned 17 remain unmarried. We understand this has ne...

8 Students and Projects