BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL — Change one child’s future, and you can help change the future of a country.
That’s the philosophy of Padma Nepal, an organization designed to help children in Nepal who come from dysfunctional and impoverished homes. The group works on strengthening the children’s education, peace of mind and post-high school opportunities.
“We want to prepare the children to become the bright, educated future of Nepal,” said Luke Hanley, who started the group. “We also want to heal the traumatic experiences the children have had in their families of origin.
Mark Earl, owner of Top Hat Video and DVD in Bountiful, took a trip to Nepal this summer to bring clothing and basic medical supplies to the school.
“They were incredible people,” he said. “We were all really touched.”
Hanley, a Park City native who was in Katmandu studying Tibetan Buddhism, started the organization seven years ago. When he saw the lack of developmental opportunities for children in Nepal, he began an organization to give them more opportunities.
Padma currently takes care of 16 children, ranging in age from 6-16. There is always a majority of girls at the school, since girls are less valued by Nepalese society, and the children often come from lower castes.
Since those castes have more difficulty finding jobs once they graduate school, Padma also works on getting the children to college or finding them vocational prospects.
The third aspect of Padma’s work involves spiritual training, doing yoga and meditation with the children and offering lectures on selfesteem and healthy relationships.
“Children, especially girls from the lower castes in Nepal often feel ‘less than,’” said Hanley. “These discourses are designed to give them understanding, healing and hope.”
The home, which takes $1,500 a month to run, always welcomes support.
“They take care of all of the needs for 16 kids,” said Earl. “The kids are pretty much there from morning until night.”
A benefit event for Padma will be held Dec. 7 at Fuego Pizzaria in Park City. Top Hat Video and DVD also has a collection box for Padma set up in the store, and this December will set up a Christmas tree where people can buy ornaments to donate to the group. It’s also possible to donate online at padmanepal.org.