Meet Mei Quie Sherpa – Nepal Volunteer

Meet Mei Quie Sherpa – Nepal Volunteer

Greetings from Kathmandu, Nepal. Shalom and Namaste,

My name is Mei Quie Sherpa, and I am originally from Darjeeling a hill-station in India. Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s in Social Work (mental health) from Nepal. Nepal is a beautiful country and I find myself surrounded with serene geography and a community that is open and loving.

Joe FisherMeet Mei Quie Sherpa – Nepal Volunteer
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Online Storytelling 2021 – Enriching the children’s minds and hearts through stories.

Online Storytelling 2021 – Enriching the children’s minds and hearts through stories.

The GFF HELPS Philippines Team continues to provide quality education through online storytelling with children ages 9-12 from Banga, Aklan, Philippines. We have been doing this online project for exactly a year now and we have catered almost 15-20 children from different parts of Banga Town since we started last June 2020.

Joe FisherOnline Storytelling 2021 – Enriching the children’s minds and hearts through stories.
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Vegetable Garden Project – Phase II – Philippines

Vegetable Garden Project – Phase II –  Philippines
Today’s pandemic made the GFF HELPS Philippine Team realize the importance of mental, spiritual, emotional and physical health and most of our projects are bringing great impact to our beneficiaries, especially this Vegetable Garden Project in the different villages in the town of Banga, Aklan.

Joe FisherVegetable Garden Project – Phase II – Philippines
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Solar-Powered Homes for the People of Galicia Village

Solar-Powered Homes for the People of Galicia Village

The GFF HELPS Philippines is delighted with the successful result of the Solar Project Phase 1 in the Village of Mercedes in the Town on Madalag last December 2020. Upon hearing the beneficiaries’ meaningful testimonies and seeing how the Solar Lights have been changing their lives, we pushed through the second phase in the next prospect village, the Galicia, without any hesitation.  

Joe FisherSolar-Powered Homes for the People of Galicia Village
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Village Development Model

Village Development Model

Saom Tshering Namchu of GFF India, facilitating a village meeting in Kalimpong, India

The Glenn Family Foundation supports charities, institutions and individuals around the globe in the upliftment of poor communities and alleviation of suffering. The philosophy of its founder is in offering a hand up, not a hand out, and in so building communities that are empowered, self-sustaining and proud.

The Foundation uplifts communities through its “Village Development Model” by providing them with sustainable access to their most basic needs. This includes but is not limited to access to clean water, access to solar power, improved sanitation to reduce incidence of disease and improved living conditions to foster a sense of pride.We also recruit international and local volunteers to enrich these communities through education, health initiatives, skills sharing and technical expertise. Our volunteers are enmeshed in these communities for a six month period to ensure they have a meaningful impact. The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement (2015) attest to the valuable contribution that volunteers make toward the attainment of an organisations goals by extending the capacity of the organisation through their time, skills, expertise and points of view. GFF works to embody these standards in all its engagements with volunteers and considers volunteers as a vital part of its strategy.

Emily RobertsonVillage Development Model
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Looking Ahead: 2019-2021 Strategy

Equipped with the valuable experience and feedback from our first GFF Representatives and the important lessons learned, we enter 2019 ready to scale up our operations and deepen our work.

Emily RobertsonLooking Ahead: 2019-2021 Strategy
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GFF HELPS 2018: The Year in Review

July 2018 marked the deployment of our first group of “GFF Representatives” of the GFF HELPS programme. We received applications from over 50 candidates and selected 8 – the majority from the University of Auckland, where our Founder has strong ties and a long history as a major donor. These 8 Representatives attended an in-person or online briefing before being deployed in pairs to rural communities in need, which were to be their homes for the next six months. They showed tremendous courage, maturity and cultural sensitivity, forming good relationships with local stakeholders and initiating projects ranging from Digital Learning and Mobile Libraries, to Solar, Football Coaching, Recycling and Hygiene workshops. We learned a great deal about the rural contexts we were in and their unique challenges and strengths. We also learned the importance of clear expectations between ourselves and our partners, which will help to strengthen our work going forward. These are the highlights from two of our GFF Representatives who have recently returned home, Sophie and Joe, followed by more detail about what we did in each location.

Sophie administering a questionnaire to the women’s group in Kavre

“Spending the night in Kavre Village was the highlight of my experience in Nepal, it was amazing to see how the village operates and the community works. The way in which the people live and to hear their stories and share a meal with them. It is always a humbling experience to sit among people who have the bare minimum of necessities, who can smile and laugh with you and are willing to share what little they have with you. It was also enlightening for me to hear the big difference a small amount of learning can make to one persons life. Basic literacy is something that can be taken for granted when you live in countries like New Zealand, but the things you are limited in doing by being unable to recognise numbers or count are innumerable and take your independence away. Yet through all of their struggles, all of the difficulties, these women smile and laugh.” – Sophie Jones-Williams, GFF Representative 2018, India and Nepal.


Joe officially declaring an area a Child Labour-Free Zone in Kalimpong, India

“I learnt to appreciate that on the whole people are generally good and want to do what they can to help others. Almost every person I met during our stay was incredibly welcoming and couldn’t do enough to help us be comfortable in their country. Whenever I did something to help someone such as running a football training session, they couldn’t be more appreciative to me for giving up my time to help them. It can be easy to forget that most people are good people that want to make the best of themselves and others around them, no matter what their background may be.” – Joe Fisher – GFF Representative 2018, India and Nepal.


We worked alongside a local project, the Yolanda Aklan Reconstruction Programme, who facilitated our introduction to local schools and community leaders. We visited local schools and developed good relationships with the teachers, principals and department heads and put forward our ideas for the schools. We ran a pilot of our Digital Learning project, where we use inexpensive tablets as learning aids to supplement schools with few resources. We learned some valuable lessons for how to adapt this project in different contexts.

We piloted our Village Solar Project; developing a model for providing solar panels in areas difficult to access. These households do not have access to the grid and rely on harmful kerosene for lighting, which causes fires and respiratory illnesses. Our GFF Representatives ran Reading Workshops in four schools and started a Mobile Library to enhance language development.


In Vietnam we ventured North to identify a suitable rural community to work with and found a severe lack of sanitation infrastructure. We built 10 toilets and two washrooms for a new school that will service 500 children from the surrounding villages. In the South we partnered with a local NGO and sponsored 10 children through their schooling. We also identified a rural community and are building our connections there for future work.

India and Nepal

In India we partnered with one of our grant recipients, the Bal Suraksha Abhiyan Trust, and worked alongside them in their child labour programmes and started a football coaching course which continues to flourish in our absence. We faced some visa challenges and so decided to move our Representatives to Nepal, where we had identified a very promising women’s education and empowerment programme, run by a local NGO, Child Development Society. We visited their women’s groups and found good opportunities for partnership. You can read Sophie’s research report and see Joe’s documentary about this work here. We also introduced recycling to a local school and ran a football club.

This first round of our HELPS programme was illuminating; we were able to test out our internal processes and a lot of project ideas to see which gained traction. This has strengthened our programme plans and operations, enabling us to enter the field in 2019 stronger, more focused on our objectives and able to deliver larger impact. We are under no illusion that there is still a lot of learning to do, and we are looking forward to 2019 and seeing how this programme develops.

GFF Team.

Emily RobertsonGFF HELPS 2018: The Year in Review
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Our Work

The Glenn Family Foundation has a long history in India, with our work in the country ongoing for over 10 years. This has primarily been in the Kalimpong district, located in the Hills of West Bengal. Key projects have included building infrastructure for and supporting victims of child labour, equipping medical centres and schools, and rolling out sanitation in villages.

The Foundation, in partnership with a local NGO, has also established three Learning Centres in Kalimpong where children can access free tutoring from qualified teachers, get assistance for getting into vocational studies and a range of other extra-mural activities. These centres also serve the broader community by offering health workshops, adult literacy courses and facilitating visits from welfare agencies.

Through the HELPS program, we supplement our work in the area by running various projects. These projects are focussed on education and preventing the amount of children dropping out of school and going into child labour. The Glenn Family Foundation learning centres are an important way for volunteers to interact with and run projects within communities.

Volunteer Representatives are sourced locally from within India and assist in all these learning centre activities as well as initiate their own projects. They also conduct surveys and research that further informs us of the ongoing needs. Past programs have included yoga classes, football coaching and first aid workshops.

Our current HELPS volunteers in India are Melissa and Nikita. Read about some of their current projects on our India blog.

Emily RobertsonIndia
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