For the past four years, Humanitarian Acts in Nepal Developing Schools (HANDS) has been working towards providing education and community development programs in Nepal. The seeds for HANDS were planted four years ago when founder and SLO County native Danny Chaffin, 20 years old and taking a break from school, decided to volunteer and travel through the country. Initially attracted by the Buddhist and Hindu cultures, Danny fell in love with the people he met in Tibet, living with a host family and learning traditional Thangka painting. Becoming more and more immersed in the traditions and society of the region, he looked to find ways in which he could give back to his adopted community.
After returning home from his first visit, Danny enrolled in Naropa University which was co-founded by famous Tibetan author, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The school offered a Thangkha painting course, which he enthusiastically attended, and allowed him time to study and plan his next trip to East Asia. After a year, he made his way back to India, and then Nepal where he began to more seriously lay the foundations for a NGO. Returning from that excursion, Danny was able to file for official non-profit status and embark upon building a school in one of the villages he had visited. Taking a semester off from during the third year of the project, Danny was involved in overseeing the construction of the school. Being enrolled in Naropa’s Peace Studies program, he felt as though his work dovetailed perfectly with his coursework which placed a strong emphasis on international aid.
Now in its fourth year if operation, HANDS is accepting donations from across the United States and Nepal, and has two established schools to its name. Danny and his girlfriend are currently residing in Thailand where he is finishing up elective credits from Naropa and they are both continuing in their efforts to establish schools in Nepal. It’s so refreshing to hear about a local student in his mid-twenties with a passion for more than beer and spring break. Thank you, Danny for commitment to education, service, and social responsibility!
To learn more about HANDS or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit handsinnepal.org.