Core Team

SANTOSHI RANA, FOUNDER

After attaining a Master’s degree in Media & Communication Management from Middlesex University, London and getting a chance to work as a Campaigner, Communication Intern, Media Reader & Training Consultant besides being involved with organisations like OXFAM and Haemophilia Society, after much contemplation, I decided to come back to Nepal. While working with ChangeFusion Nepal supporting social ventures and organizing the Surya Nepal Asha Social Entrepreneurship Award – the first ever Nepali award of its kind which recognised hidden heroes – I finally got the courage to move out of my comfort zone. It was always my dream to start something of my own and during the course of time I tried to figure out what I really wanted to do. I realised that my fear of ageing had to do with the fact that it is not taken in a very positive manner in our society. There were deeper issues related to ageing and the problems on

e faces along the way. Over a period of time, I also got to meet a lot of inspiring individuals who were still living their lives despite their age and that is when Bihani took shape. It has been created as a platform to provide the support system that our elders needed, where unfulfilled dreams can take shape or where experiences would find a way beyond individuals through various activities.  At Bihani, we believe that one should re – engage, re – explore and re- live to have a rewarding life till the end.The main thought being, one should have lived their life to the fullest and not let any regrets ruin it.

SUSMRITI TAMANG, HEALTH & REHABILITATION COORDINATOR AND TAI CHI INSTRUCTOR

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I believe that every work we undertake or lead, should grow with happiness and confidence. I am Susmriti Tamang, a National Tai Chi player (Young Dragon Team) and a graduate of Bachelor in Business Studies (BBS). For me ageing is a beautiful step towards life so I feel happy whenever I get a chance to interact with or help elders. I have worked with a couple of elders and I can assure you that, they are the best. As you age you do become physically weaker yet the experiences that we as individuals have to go through makes us mentally stronger. As a Tai Chi Instructor, my work is not just something I have to do but it is also to give elders more strength, power and hope focusing on their overall health and well-being. It always gives me pleasure and makes me feel privileged when I am able to bring change in the lives of those around me. Till date, the best experience both in terms of teaching and learning has been the opportunity to work with an eighty nine years old client. When I come across such inspiring elders I feel that life is indeed full of possibilities and you never know when and who will make you feel proud of what you can contribute.

SAMRIDHI RANA THAPA, INCLUSION SPECIALIST – DISABILITY & AGEING

Samridhi completed her Master of Rehabilitation Counselling from the University of Sydney on being selected by the Australian Government Department of Foreign affairs & Trade (DFAT) for the Australia Awards scholarship. Samridhi is currently based in Nepal making efforts to promote effective inclusion of the ageing/ elderly and disability population through capacity building activities, building evidence and by involving in fundraising/ project development. Samridhi is a scientific based practitioner who has an added advantage of grassroots experience working in diverse rural and remote as well as urban setting. The case story on inclusive sexual and reproductive health care & rights authored by her has been published internationally. She has also recently completed a qualitative research on ‘Exploring Perspectives of People with Disability in Kathmandu on Employment’ funded by the Australian Aid in Nepal. Samridhi frequently writes for national dailies and in discussion forum to highlight issues on ageing and disability to a larger population. Samridhi is a risk taker, a culturally sensitive & dynamic professional.

PRASHANT KALAUNI, PROGRAMMES & OPERATIONS COORDINATOR

Nepal is a developing country with lots of problems. As a student of Development Studies, it is my aim to take these problems as challenge and solve them. At Bihani, we try to solve issues related to ageing using a social enterprise model. Ageing is a topic which fascinates me, there is so much we can learn from our elders. People learn from committing mistakes but smart people learn from others’ mistakes. I am involved in this social enterprise to build my own future by helping others to build theirs, learning from each other and facing every problems as challenge.

SANDHYA MAHARJAN, HEALTH AND REHABILITATION CO-COORDINATOR & TAICHI INSTRUCTOR

“Every day is a new beginning so try live it up as your last moment”

I am Sandhya Maharjan, National Wushu Player specialized in (Jianshu/Qianshu) and a graduate in Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Apart from my specialized event, I used to practice Qi Gong and Tai Chi which later helped me to realize and see my life in a better way. My way of thinking and perspective for the elders has changed after working in Bihani. I believe freedom is a beautiful and wonderful aspect which allows you to be you. Hence, no matter what age or how aged we are this sense of feeling is necessary. I realized that in our different phases of life, to explore oneself and finding to be whom we are and being able to live up to our dreams are most essential aspects. Qi Gong and Tai Chi practice gave me the best way to feel and see oneself thoroughly and furthermore it gave me sense of aliveness and good bonding with the nature which I was seeking. Therefore, to first feel it and then deal with it is very important that I find in my life. My nature in life is let’s live and let other live for to see own aspects of life.

SABINA KARKI, ADMIN STAFF & DANCE INSTRUCTOR

I, strongly, believe that people would live a bit longer if they did not know how old they were. Age puts restrictions on different aspects of life and living. But Bihani is there to create positive outlook for those restrictions addressing the problems of our elders and tries to resolve their issues to an optimal level. I am Sabina Karki. I came to Bihani Social Venture right after my high school studies in order to gain experiences I had never before. It has been the motto of Bihani that has attracted me to work more for elders. I believe that elders, too, can live in an environment dancing with new changes in society and enjoy their lives to the fullest.

AMIT SHAKYA, PROGRAMMES & OPERATIONS CO-COORDINATOR

“Hey friends, wanna be my friend?”

I think I should have been a person like that. But I am a bit different. I am Amit Shakya, currently studying Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) in Nesfield International College. Being a social work student, I want to give my best for the social causes in the society. Bihani Social Venture- this is where I came to know about the social issue of ageing and its beauty. I always like to look out for new ideas and explore new places. I also like photography. So I would like to make people joyful by exploring their interests while bringing positive changes in the society and my own self. To me- elders are analogous to Google where we can explore all the knowledge, ideas and information. I, strongly, feel that we can reach out to the elders for any information and data since they already have the first-hand experiences and can guide the forthcoming generations in the long run.

PRASANA RAI, PROGRAMME OFFICER

Am I Prasana? What am I supposed to do in life? What do I really live for?

These were the questions that used to arise in my mind time and again in the past. But now, I have the answers to, at least, satiate from my own level of understanding and belief. I am a first year student of BSW (Bachelors in Social Work) studying at Nesfield International College. And you may all be curious as to know how I found my answers though not a final one. It is all through guidance and exemplifications from the team and inspiring members of Bihani. Here, I am learning many things like idea generations, motivational factors, team work, looking life in more positive manner, being professional in work and many more. And truly, each day is “new” like the morning Sun.

RITCHIE SAMPSON, PROGRAMME OFFICER

“Success is nothing if there’s no one there to share it with”

These lyrics from a song by Ed Sheeran, my music inspiration, touched me when I first heard it. If there is no one there for us, nothing really matters. I am a person who strongly believes in companionship and friendship. I studied Bachelors in Arts specializing in Social Work. It taught me everyone is different, everyone is unique. Working in Bihani Social venture has taught me how to feel for myself as well as for others. All the little things in life can teach you something important. Life is a journey, and I plan to enjoy every moment of this journey. Love everyone like you love yourself. Help others when needed. Respect if you want to be respected. And most of all, enjoy life.

LUMANTI MANANDHAR, PROGRAMME OFFICER

Trying out new things in life is what gets me going. For that, I attempt to grab every opportunity that comes along my way. Academically, I pursued my Bachelors in Public Health whilst my passion lies in working with the community. Likewise, I am interested in outdoor activities and travelling. Much effort isn’t needed to show kindness and compassion to any living being around us. Also, I believe that no act of kindness no matter how small ever goes wasted. Bihani has given me the opportunity to explore myself beyond my comfort zone and groomed me in ways that has enabled me to strengthen my strengths, work on my shortcomings, look for opportunities and be prepared to tackle hurdles. Contributing towards bringing even small changes in people’s life while working in the field of ageing has changed my vision of life.

RESHMA NEPAL, PROGRAMME INTERN

I am trying to make my carrier in Social Work field because I want to eradicate biasness prevailing on society and focus on equity. I joined Bihani through my college for partial fulfillment of my study thinking that Bihani is an old age home. But after getting to know about Bihani, my perspective of ageing as an issue completely changed. The concept of Bihani to Re-engage, Re-explore and Re-live the senior citizens (not restricted to only them) in various services and benefits inspired me to join Bihani. Also I found Bihani a good platform to learn and develop professional skills which will help in my long – term carrier and personality development.

HALEY SANNER, FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR

Ms. Haley K. Sanner is originally from Washington, D.C. and graduated with a BS in Mathematics from Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. Haley is 2018/2019 Fulbright Student Researcher affiliated with Bihani. For her research, she is determining the potential market for intergenerational home sharing outside the joint family as a means of addressing social isolation among older adults. Prior to her Fulbright, she held a position with the AARP Foundation, the largest non-profit working on aging in the United States, where she and her colleagues were working on innovative solutions to mitigating social isolation among low income older adults. Haley brings this expertise as she partners with and advises Bihani in program development and innovative business concepts.
Haley first came to Nepal in the Fall of 2013 when she spent a college semester studying Nepali Language, Development and Social Change with School for International Training (SIT) where she completed a capstone research project on aging. This led her to pursue a two-year post-graduate experience in Nepal, first as a 2015/16 Davidson College Impact Fellow working on aging issues in the non-profit sector with Nepal Participatory Action Network (NEPAN) and a 2016/17 position as Academic Coordinator with SIT. She began partnering with Bihani Social Venture in 2016, leading various talks and workshops for Members and Ibasho elders. Haley facilitated the partnership between NEPAN’s Jorpati Older People Association and Bihani, envisioned the direction of the three-month long Tai-Chi program and secured the funding for the program from HelpAge International — https://nepan.weebly.com/blog/teach-me-tai-chi-program-9-months-in-review.

AAYUSHA THAPA, VOLUNTEER

“Along with working with Bihani, I am studying  at the Ace Institute of Management to fulfill my aspiration of becoming an entrepreneur. Being from an academic background of BBA-BI, Bihani as a private company working to address a social problem is a perfect platform for me to be. Ageing is inevitable, but the problems that come along with ageing can be reduced or well managed with suitable support systems in place. Working with Bihani has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to better understand the social perception of ageing and the positive role support systems can play for senior citizens.”

NARAYAN AGASTI, VOLUNTEER

“I am currently undertaking my Bachelor of Social Work studying at the Kathmandu Model College. I have been actively involved as a volunteer through Volunteers Initiative Nepal (VIN). I am interested in traveling, meeting new people, photography and learning new things.  I love working with senior citizens and I am most happy when I can bring a smile on people’s faces.”

SAGOL GHALE GURUNG,  VOLUNTEER 

“I decided to volunteer with Bihani because I wanted to create any level of impact in the lives of senior citizens. I enjoy listening to their life’s experiences and learn about their outlook to daily life. As a Chartered Accountant, I would have gotten the experience of working in a professional environment anywhere else but the experience I am gaining here is unique and new to Nepal.”

AARYA ADHIKARI, VOLUNTEER 

“Ageing to me means living more fascinatingly than before. The way I am living today is completely different than the way I will live after a few years. I believe that if my years now are interesting then my future can be as interesting. I am Aarya, an individual exploring the dimensions of life and ageing according to me, is the most colourful one among them. Observing elders around me, I feel that responsibilities make life complex but it also provides everyone with a chance to create the life they want based on their experiences. I want to age gracefully and create a life of enjoyment. I am a media student who loves interacting and learning. My interactions with elders both at work and otherwise inspire me to learn more and create a life I want.”

SHASHWAT BHUSHAN GUPTA, VOLUNTEER 

Shashwat is a creative artist whose overall work experience has been in Human Resource, Street Promotions, Retail, Accountancy, Public Relations, Video Production, and Journalism. In 2011 he completed his M.A. in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship from Goldsmiths, University of London. An entrepreneurial track brought along various ideas to represent different art forms on film with an objective to create a synergy between local art, culture, and global online social media. Beyond his entrepreneurial participation, Shashwat started a new journey in 2012 to strengthen his artistic skill and presence. Today, he is also a published poet, a professional photographer and an actor. He received a diploma in theatre and film acting from Barry John Acting Studio and was recently accepted at the prestigious Actors Studio Drama School in New York to pursue further training.

SONGYUE XU, VOLUNTEER

Originally from China, Songyue Xu graduated from New York University Abu Dhabi with a B.A degree of Social Research & Public Policy in the May of 2019. After Bihani, Songyue will move to Malawi to work on economic development consulting projects as a Princeton in Africa Fellow. Prior to Bihani, Songyue has had a diverse range of experiences in banking, consulting, consumer product, and entrepreneurship. Songyue is passionate about the social sector. She has helped with grant writing for Media Response, a Ghanaian NGO, and has designed national school engagement projects with Special Olympics Summer World Games 2019 to expose secondary school students in the UAE to the spirit of Special Olympics. She has also interned as an event coordinator with Operation Smile. This time at Bihani, Songyue was mainly responsible for developing an impact calculator model, which allows her to not only leverage her past experiences in the public sector but also utilize her academic knowledge in social research.

SUMAN RAI, FORMER SOCIAL ACTIVITIES COORDINATOR AND MEDIA MANAGER

And here I am. Going through the patches and matches of life, through my experience at Bihani, I am trying to find myself rather than, just creating an idea of who I am. From a Literature and Journalism graduate to Social Entrepreneurship, Social Innovations and Ageing, life has expanded my horizon greatly towards every subtleties of the social and business world. In order to bring change, to the dogmas and certainties of ageing as a global issue in the world, a humanly concern has been aroused in me.  Instead of enforcing changes of the uncertain future, living life to its fullest from moment to moment is what tickles me the most now. Connecting every dot and making a path towards infinity is an interesting phenomenon that drives the very process of ageing with dignity. Learning never ceases whatsoever happens. So never give up on life- there are definitely many interesting things waiting to happen, just breathe and experience- the time and surprises are awaiting. To every ‘New Day or Morning (Bihani)’!

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