Hi-Cap is a UK based charity which works exclusively in Nepal, working with vulnerable families to provide support enabling them to stay together and to provide them with a way of making an income. Hi-Cap UK was founded by Freda Casagrande in 2005, who left her career in the UK to establish an orphanage in the Pokhara are of Nepal. Hi-Cap mainly concentrates on longer term projects to get children into education in remote areas, but has also been involved in emergency response after the recent earthquake which devastated the country.
Hi-Cap is a small charity, and the CEO is still the woman who established it over a decade ago. Communities in need are targeted for support, with the charity providing funding for education, training and equipment to help adults support themselves locally rathe than having to head to the cities to make a living. Since 2014, Hi-Cap has been encouraging people in the UK to support the work of the charity by sponsoring a child in Nepal. Sponsors can choose to support a child of a certain sex or age, and Hi-Cap provides regular updates on the family’s progress.
Given the small size of the charity, Hi-Cap prides itself on providing a personal service. The CEO makes herself available by email for questions and comments, and will personally visit the children being sponsored overseas. This contrasts with some of the bigger organisations which offer child sponsorship as these tend to be larger and more impersonal. Hi-Cap also has a limited geographical reach as it concentrates purely on children and families in Nepal rather than spreading efforts across many different developing countries.
Hi-Cap is still a small charity which is growing, and as such hasn’t the budget for advertising and big events in the way that some of the larger charities do. Hi-Cap doesn’t have shops, or produce its own range of Christmas gifts or organise fun runs or bike rides, but instead relies on people to give one-off donations online or by text. The charity relies on goodwill from volunteers to run their website and charitable activities. Smaller charities such as Hi-Cap often struggle to attract high-profile corporate partners, so instead work with smaller organise whose products are related to the work overseas. Hi-Cap also applies for grants from other charitable funds to use for their work with vulnerable children and families in Nepal.
One of the main ways in which Hi-Cap differs from other UK charities is that it offers volunteers the opportunity to combine a holiday in the spectacular mountains of Nepal with some charitable work. Volunteers might be placed in a school to help children learn English, or in an orphanage helping with the day to day tasks. As the charity is small, it can offer tailor-made experiences to suit the preferences and interests of the individual volunteer. If the charity continues to grow and starts to support more children and families, it is likely that this flexibility might become more restricted in the future.