Our Mission

We are dedicated to helping disadvantaged Nepalese children
improve their quality of life.

The Asha Foundation is a not for profit, non political and non religious Australian charity dedicated to helping Nepalese children climb out of poverty and into a life of sustainable human dignity. We do this by:

  • Obtaining sponsors and donors from Australia and around the world
  • Operating with honesty & integrity
  • Fostering social responsibility, equality, excellence and independence
  • Ensuring children living in group homes have access to basic food, clothing and shelter, quality education, medical and dental treatment
  • Partnering with local Nepal NGOs who share our values and are established to implement similar objectives
  • Coaching local Nepal NGOs to raise funds for themselves
  • Training local Nepal NGOs to have continuously improving governance processes
  • Helping disadvantaged groups of children, women, and elderly creating genuine one to one links between our generous donor community and cost effective programs in Nepal
  • Complying with standards of governance, management, financial control and reporting according to the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) code of conduct
  • Follow a zero tolerance approach to child abuse and child pornography in accordance with our child protection policy
  • Committee members travel to Nepal at their own expense - no sponsor or donor funds are used in any travel expenses either in Australia or Nepal

Our Story

The Asha Foundation, formerly Dharmik Australia, was co-founded by Mark McIntyre and Mary-Louise Parkinson.

While living in Kathmandu for 4 months in 2007,  Mark & Mary-Louise could not ignore the plight of 15 children & 3 adults living nearby in conditions which were appalling by any standards. A neighbour, Narayan Shrestha, was also concerned at these inhumane conditions and so a pact to improve the living conditions of these people was formed. Over the following weeks the home was transformed and a new Nepal Australia partnership was born.

The Asha Foundation has grown since 2007and so have our responsibilities in Nepal. We are engaged in many projects and we are always working to improve the capacity of our local partners so that our efforts are sustainable. 

The word ASHA roughly means HOPE in Nepali. Not only do we provide hope, we help change lives.  

Mark McIntyre     Mary-Louise Parkinson
Mark McIntyre          Mary-Louise Parkinson

Our Team

Australian Team

Pauline Gleeson President

Pauline Gleeson

Pauline joined The Asha Team after visiting Nepal early in 2009 with co-founder,  Mary-Louise Parkinson. Pauline has returned to Nepal regularly after that initial visit and has formed an excellent working relationship with The Asha staff in Kathmandu.  Pauline became President in 2010 and after 8 years in that role she stepped down from that position.  In 2019 Pauline stepped back into the role as President.  Pauline is a Past President and active member of the Rotary Club of Moruya and recipient of the Rotary Foundation’s Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition of her work in Nepal. She is also a member of of NSW Rural Fire Service - Eurobodalla Catering Brigade and recipient of the National Medal for volunteer service.

Jen PearsonSecretary

Jen Pearson

Jen joined the team in late 2019 as secretary after an introduction to the Asha Foundation by Pauline.

Jen is an active member of the NSW Rural Fire Service in the roles of secretary and fire fighter in a local volunteer fire brigade, and also treasurer and active member of the supporting catering brigade.

Jen has a background in counselling and management, specialising in vocational rehabilitation.  She also previously volunteered for over 10 years for an organisation dedicated to providing training and sporting opportunites for chidren and adults with an intellectual disability.

Rohan GleesonTreasurer

Rohan Gleeson

Rohan joined Asha after visiting Nepal in 2010.

He is principal owner of Southern Computer Co, and a Director of Rainmaker Managed IT. He has a strong accounting background.

Rohan is Past President and active member of the Rotary Club of Moruya and current Treasurer, Past Chairman of Rotary Youth Exchange District 9710 and Past Vice Chair of Rotary Youth Exchange Australia. Rohan is also on the Moruya Business Chamber committee 

Bridie YoungSponsorship Coordinator

Bridie Young

Bridie has been associated with Asha for a number of years through sponsorship of one of our Asha children and becoming our Sponsorship Coordinator in 2012.  She has always had a deep interest in social justice, as well as human and animal rights. 

Pat ReidFundraiser Coordinator

Pat Reid

Pat joined the Asha team in November 2014 after visiting Nepal for the first time.  Inspired by the work of the Foundation she has proven to be a valuable member of the committee already organising the biggest fundraiser yet - our Earthquake Emergency Appeal.  Pat lives at Kianga on the beautiful south coast of NSW.  

Ken McLeodPublic Officer

Ken McLeod

Ken has been a fantastic supporter of The Asha Foundation and was appointed Public Officer in November 2011.

Ken is a retired Air Traffic Control and Search & Rescue Manager, and was the Australian delegate to 2 United Nations committees.

As a Past President of Moruya Rotary he has a strong sense of community both locally and internationally.

Kelly SullivanCommittee Member

Kelly Sullivan

Kelly joined the Asha team in December 2013 and has made many visits to Nepal meeting with the President of our In Country Partner Mr Narayan Shrestha, our Nepal Manager Satish Tamang and of course our Asha children.  Her fresh vibrant personality and knowledge of Nepal will be a great asset to Asha.  Kelly became President in November 2018 but due to work promotion unfortunately had to step down in July 2019.  Kelly's knowledge of Nepal and our children sees her as a valued member of the Asha Foundation team.

Karen SorensenCommittee Member

Karen Sorensen

Karen's first involvement with the Asha Foundation was in July 2009 when she and her husband Ken helped write the submission for our joint Rotary Australia World Community Project in Kathmandu.  

As a teen her parents provided foster care to 50 children and this has instilled in her a dedication to help children.  Karen has a background in nursing and counselling and she has specialised in the cancer, palliative care and bereavement support areas.

Karen held the role as Secretary for nearly 10 years and her association with Asha is very much valued.  Karen's knowledge of our work in Nepal makes her a worthy committee member. 

Nepal Team

Narayan ShresthaPresident-In Country Partner

Narayan Shrestha

Narayan is the President of our In Country Partner - Dharmik Nepal and volunteers his time in helping us navigate the Nepali way of life and is our Nepali cultural advisor.

Satish TamangNepal Manager

Satish Tamang

Satish is Asha's Nepal Manager & Financial Manager.  He has been with the foundation since 2010 and is responsible for our strict budgeting each month and managing our projects.

Satish is also the person behind the camera lens taking updated photos of each child twice a year as well as all our project photos.

Our Partners

In-Country Partner

Dharmik NepalDharmik Nepal

Dharmik Nepal has been our In-Country Partner since 2007 and has worked alongside us in all aspects of our work in Nepal.

Narayan Shrestha the President guides us in all aspects of the Nepali way of life and his association with The Asha Foundation is invaluable.

Project Partners

Home Loan Experts

 Home Loan Experts are our major partner with regards to the Good Oil Project.  Their head office is in Sydney with an office also in Kathmandu.  General Manager Otto Dargan and his team are passionate about Nepal and education and we at Asha are thrilled and honoured to have their financial support.

Home Loan Experts


  The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation LogoThe Rotary Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs.

The Rotary Foundation


Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS)

RAWCS LogoRotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) assist Rotarians to participate in projects that  improve the living conditions of others and to promote international understanding and goodwill. 

Rotary Australia World Community Service




The Body Shop Foundation

The Body Shop FoundationThe Body Shop Foundation is The Body Shop International charitable trust which supports innovative projects across the world working for social and environmental change.

The Body Shop Foundation




NepalNepal is a small landlocked country bordered by China to the north and India to the south. 8 of the world’s 10 tallest mountains including the mighty Mt Everest call Nepal home.

Nepal’s population is just over 30 million, the main religion being Hindu. The capital Kathmandu can be a shock for first time visitor - the sights, sounds and smells can quickly lead to sensory overload. Kathmandu is an amazing place with magnificent temples, exquisite wooden architecture, friendly people and a traffic system that has to be seen to be believed.

Of course Nepal is famous for its mountains, the magnificent Everest Region to the east and the mighty Annapurna Range to the west. It is a country with many faces – mountains, jungles, yaks & tigers.

A great friend and supporter of The Asha Foundation, Gajendra Kumar Rai, offers tours & treks for all levels of fitness. Asha committee members can thoroughly recommend his company Himalayan Odyssey Nepal Trek.