About Helping Hands Health Education

Helping Hands Health Education was founded in 1992 by Colorado businessman Narayan Shrestha. We bring quality, low-cost medical relief services to people in rural villages in Nepal and Nicaragua through the help of Western medical and non-medical volunteers. In tandem with our work in health, we also focus on children and education. We currently have schools in both Nepal and Nicaragua, and provide school materials, scholarships, and teacher-volunteers for these schools.

Helping Hands Health Education is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Our Volunteers

Helping Hands Community Hospital, Kathmandu

One of Helping Hands’ primary functions is to provide volunteer opportunities for medical professionals, medical students, and non-medical volunteers to serve in Nepal. As part of their experience, medical students are supervised by a licensed doctor from either the U.S. or Nepal, depending on the time of year they volunteer. Volunteers can work in permanent clinics near Kathmandu or in a rural area, or in one of the mobile health camps that are organized throughout the year.

The permanent hospitals and clinics provide a wide variety of services, including general outpatient care, surgery, OB/GYN, pediatric care, dentistry, ultrasounds and x-rays, and family planning. Medical professionals with specializations in these fields are encouraged to volunteer. Helping Hands welcomes family practice physicians, dentists, pediatricians, OB/GYNs, surgeons, internal medicine physicians, lab technicians, anesthesiologists, and registered nurses to apply to volunteer. Medical students also receive supervision by a licensed physician. Helping Hands offers volunteers a unique opportunity to gain first hand experience in third-world medicine.

Helping Hands also arranges treks and tours in Nepal, both in conjunction with a medical volunteer trip or purely for leisure. Please contact the office for more information.

Our Clinics and Hospitals

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In Nepal, Helping Hands has established a number of permanent clinics. In Kathmandu, Helping Hands founded a 100-bed general hospital, the Helping Hands Community Hospital in the Chabahil district. This hospital serves over 700 patients each day. We also started two smaller clinics in the Kathmandu area, in Indrayani and Dharmasthali. Outside of Kathmandu, Helping Hands started a 25-bed hospital in Dang in the mid-western region of Nepal, and two smaller clinics, in the rural town of Khandbari (eastern Nepal), and the village of Phalebash (western Nepal).

Over the years we have organized 378 missions, including over 270 temporary medical clinics, and have helped more than a million people in many different countries.

Our Schools

Surya Boarding School25 years ago Helping Hands Health Education founder Narayan Shrestha established the Surya Boarding School in Khandbari, Nepal. The Surya School serves grades K-10, with 650 students attending.

In 2007, Helping Hands established the Sreejana Bilingual School in Jalapa, Nicaragua. This school currently serves grades K-3, with over 70 students attending.

A Brief History

Helping Hands was established by Mr. Narayan Shrestha, a businessman from Boulder, Colorado. Mr. Shrestha is a native Nepali who migrated to the United States in the mid-1970s and gradually started a number of small businesses. As his success grew, he became inspired to give something back to the people of his home village of Khandbari in eastern Nepal.

In 1986, Mr. Shrestha made his first trip to his home town of Khandbari. He arranged a trek for a small group of interested Americans to accompany him on his trip. Several doctors and nurses happened to be on this trip. During the trek, the group ran into a child along the trail who had a stick penetrating his chin and coming out of his mouth. It had been there for seven days and no one could remove it because his face was so infected and swollen. The American doctors spent a night there, removed the stick and stitched and treated the wound. This incident sowed the seeds for Helping Hands to be born. Mr. Shrestha decided to organize treks for western medical volunteers, who would help people in the villages and also enjoy a trek in the Himalayas. Thus, the motto of the organization was set: “you give something to our village people and in exchange we will arrange you to trek and tour this beautiful country”.

On several subsequent trips back to Nepal, it was very apparent to President Shrestha that medical conditions in Nepal had not changed in the ten years he had been gone; in fact, health conditions and the availability of reliable health care had deteriorated. After his encounters with numerous Nepalese who were in dire need of medical attention, Mr. Shrestha vowed to bring help from western medical professionals, and decided to dedicate much of his time and boundless energy to help people of Nepal.

In 1988, he fulfilled his promise to the people of Khandbari and brought in a team of doctors, nurses and pediatricians from America. They trekked for five days and set up a week long health clinic in the village. The success of the 1988 trip caught the attention of the then Minister of Local Development, who asked if there would be an opportunity for western medical personnel to aid the regional clinic in Bandipur. Through the work of several volunteers and numerous local Nepali staff, the first official Helping Hands visit to Bandipur took place in October, 1992. During this visit, the Western health care professionals treated almost 2,000 patients. Due to the need for medical help in rural Nepal, the demand for our program grew, and by 2003 we were conducting approximately seven mobile health camps in seven different villages in one year.

Since 1992, Helping Hands has taken more than 1,000 doctors, nurses, physical assistants, medical students and non-medical volunteers from the western world to provide health care and health education in Nepal. The services of the volunteers and our local team in Nepal have reached more than 350,000 people in rural Nepal.

While the focus of Helping Hands is to deliver primary care to the people of Nepal and to help train resident medical personnel, we hope to move towards improving the general health awareness of the mountain villages with an emphasis on prevention. Our intention is to organize nine trips each year with a concentration on health specialties varying with each trip. We rely on our volunteers to be responsible for bringing their own supplies, medicines, and equipment for their use during the clinic

Helping Hands has been very successful with its primary care clinics and would like to see more specialty clinics such as surgery, dentistry, women’s health, ophthalmology, etc. Helping Hands would not exist without the hundreds of volunteers who have dedicated their hearts, time, and skills to the people of Nepal.

We thank all our volunteers and can only hope to increase our medical efforts in Nepal.

Programs in Nepal have proven to be excellent and this led Helping Hands to extend its services to Nicaragua in 2007. Our program in Nicaragua is located in the Jalapa valley of northern Nicaragua. Helping Hands welcomes medical and non-medical volunteers to Nicaragua as well. We have hosted multiple groups of dentists and dental students for temporary clinics in the Jalapa area.