AistropeALLAN AISTROPE has spent over twenty-nine years working in Nepal for the benefit of orphaned and physically impaired children there. Coming from a twenty-year, successful career in creative advertising, Allan abandoned his professional pursuits to seek ways and means to rescue and support the impoverished children of Nepal who had dramatically impacted his life during a 1981 visit to that country. Beginning with a volunteer assignment at Nepal’s first orphanage, Allan went on to co-found a U.S. INGO that provided scholarships to orphaned children. This quickly led to his establishment of homes for abandoned boys and girls and initiating programs of support for blind, deaf and other physically impaired Nepali children. In 2003, Allan was encouraged by program supporters and friends to register a new INGO, and Virtue’s Children - Nepal was created as an all-volunteer organization, dedicated to the service of Nepali children and pledged to highest standards of financial management. Allan spends several months a year in Nepal, finding new children deserving of support, providing reassurance and encouragement to all the children on his watch and personally administrating program expenditures.

Shawn Connolly SHAWN CONNOLLY has applied her creative talents to many areas from sculptor’s apprentice, jewelry designer and manufacturer, to running successful arts related businesses. As Screenings Coordinator at the National Educational Media Network (NEMN) the only documentary film festival of its kind in the United States, Shawn began honing her talents and skills for a life dedicated to non-profit organizations. After NEMN, Shawn began working with Harriet Burgess, renowned environmentalist and Founder/President of American Land Conservancy (ALC), a national non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of natural landscapes for the use of people and wildlife. Shawn was part of the team at ALC that negotiated the largest publicly accessible conservation agreement in the history of California. In addition to her work with Ms. Burgess, Shawn was the Graphic Director of ALC and oversaw the development of ALC’s brand identity. Looking for a new challenge, Shawn volunteered at an orphanage in the Kathmandu Valley. Finding it to be a transformative experience, she decided to devote herself to working for the betterment of the children of Nepal. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband Joseph.

WendyWENDY BREWER LAMA has worked for the past twenty years throughout Asia as an Ecotourism Planner with international organizations. She has been professionally involved with the United Nations (UNESCO, UNDP), World Wildlife Fund, Helvetas (a Swiss aid organization), and The Mountain Institute. While managing and advising ecotourism and cultural tourism projects, she provides enlightened leadership to communities, non-governmental organizations, travel and trekking agencies and national-level governments. Much of Wendy’s efforts and ecological commitments have been to motivate and guide Asian educational organizations to develop, manage and encourage training in community-based ecotourism. She has carried her cause throughout many parts of Central and South Asia, including Nepal, Sikkim, Ladakh, Tibet, Mainland China, Bhutan, Iran, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. She is currently an Advisor to the UNESCO project on the Development of Cultural and Eco-tourism in the Mountainous Regions of Central and South Asia. Wendy lived in Nepal from 1984 to 1999 and became a friend of Paropakar Orphanage, endearing herself to the children there. Wendy proudly sponsored one of the Paropakar boys from grammar school through college and maintains a close relationship with him and his wife and children. Her frequent journeys to Nepal always include time at the orphanage and visits with the children. Wendy lives with her husband, Karma Lama, in Half Moon Bay, California, headquarters for their KarmaQuest Ecotourism and Adventure Travel agency. Wendy also works as a planning consultant for the City of Half Moon Bay and in her free time she and Karma stay active with bicycling, backpacking, travel, and beachcombing.

PenelopePENELOPE ROSE is a long time, working professional in the legal field, assisting criminal luminaries J. Tony Serra in San Francisco, Gerry Lefcourt, Michael Kennedy and Marshall Perlman in New York City. Penelope’s commitment to legal justice represents only a portion of her interests and her talent in creative Asian fashion design has led to the formation of her own fashion design company, “Penelope Rose Design”. In her pursuit of fabrics, fashion accessories and design inspiration she has traveled widely in India and Nepal and made personal connections to many Nepalese and Indian friendships. A slow, gentle exposure to Buddhism and Hinduism during her journeys became a growing interest for Penelope, and she is an avid student of those religions. Penelope’s interest in the cultures of her wonderings rapidly transcended into compassion for the conditions of the poor in Nepal and India, and when exposed to the perilous living conditions for homeless children in Nepal she became an energized force for the establishment of Virtue’s Children – Nepal and our goals. Living in San Francisco, with her husband, Arthur, and her son, Malachi, Penelope continues with her responsibilities in law and fashion design, sharing her time and the best of her talents to benefit the children in our care.

RajeeshRAJEESH SHRESTHA is a member of a respected, established family living in Kathmandu. After earning his Bachelor of Business degree, he assisted his father for several years in managing the families’, craft-jewelry store in Kathmandu, where he acquired the gem and business expertise necessary to represent his father’s business throughout Europe and Asia. In 1992 Rajesh chose to bring jewelry imports to the U.S. and in a very short time he founded Aquamarine Enterprises, which has grown into a nationally recognized outlet of craft jewelry from Nepal. Rajeesh furthered his education and acquired a degree in Advanced Gemology from the Gemological Institute of America in Southern California and he continues to manage his flourishing import business with the help of his energetic wife, Kabina. Rajeesh is a solid member of the Nepali community in the San Francisco Bay area, and remains a steadfast supporter for civil rights and justice in Nepal and for the advancement of the Newari caste of his heritage. Joining Virtue’s Children – Nepal as a board member was not only a commitment that Rajeesh enthusiastically embraced, but he was also instrumental in founding Virtue’s Children – Nepal and encouraging the foundation in our ambitions to help Nepali children.