This is the story.
Dr Ian Matheson and his wife, Rosa, were part of Health Partnership Nepal in Spring 2009. Whilst the organisers were in Kathmandu they were approached by a man requesting the assistance of a doctor and medicines for some children who were unwell in his orphanage. That man was Amrit Bikram Shahi, now converted to Christianity and known as Angel.
Angel is a professional guide and back in 1999 whilst out trekking with clients he came across a small boy (aged 6) in some remote village who appeared to have no-one looking after him. He asked the villagers about him and found that the only relative the child had was an elderly grandmother who was extremely poor and struggled to look after herself let alone the boy. Angel went to the grandmother and offered to take the boy and raise him as his own
The wise grandmother agreed and that was the start of Angel’s orphanage. Since that time he has rescued many abandoned or orphaned children and given them a home at his own expense. Over the last few years, however, the conflict and the credit crunch have made this extremely difficult and he has struggled to keep the children together, fed and housed and in doing so has incurred large debts.
As Ian had specialised in Pedeatrics before he was a GP he was asked to go to check out the children and I went with him. Our introduction to the orphanage was traumatic. We were deeply shocked at the conditions the children were living in yet greatly humbled by their obvious joy at being all together and ‘a family’. Whilst it is called an orphanage, and registered in Nepal as such, it is in fact a family home where the children call Angel ‘Papa’ and his wife Aishworya, ‘Mama’. We decided we could not walk away and leave these children in such a poor state, we had to help to alleviate their poverty and distress.
As soon as we got back home we told family and friends about our experiences at the orphanage. The response was what we expected. ‘We must do omething’ they all said and so the Friends of Angel’s Orphanage (a not-for-profit organisation) was set up. In May just a couple of weeks after our return we sent out the first ‘Monthly Support’ donation to buy food and clean drinking water for the children and their carers.