How it all began

In March 1995 a group of Swiss and German tourists visited Sikkim. During their tour they came across many destitute and needy children in West Sikkim. It had such a strong emotional impact on them that they made a commitment to help these needy children by seeking sponsors for them in Europe.

So immediately after returning to Switzerland they formed and registered the "Children of Sikkim Foundation" (COSF), an NGO. They started collecting funds in cash and kind from donors in Europe. Within a short period they found sponsors for fifty children. Encouraged by this result Mr. Max Melliger and some of his friends returned to Sikkim a number of times during 1995 and 1996 to find out other ways and means of using the funds more effectively for the benefit of the needy children.

It was in one of these trips, October 1995, they met Ms. Keepu Lepcha who was already taking care of 20 children in her home using her own resources. Mr. Melliger and his friends were so touched and impressed with the wonderful work she was doing that they decided to help Miss Keepu in her work.


Board Meeting in Progress



During these trips considerable work was done in investigating available hostel facilities for children in different parts of Sikkim and building a network of reliable, dependable and socially minded Sikkimese people who were willing to help them in their endeavor to help the needy children.

As soon as Ms. Keepu learnt about the interest of COSF in Sikkim, she offered a piece of land at Chongey (about 9 kms from Gangtok), the only piece of land she possessed besides her small cottage at Chandmari near Gangtok where she was living with the children. The members of COSF accepted the offer and started work on construction of a Children’s Village – a large model campus which would provide for the food, education and accommodation of needy and destitute children.

In the meanwhile Sikkim Project Yuksom, a project started in 1993 by two friends from Switzerland, Christina Notter and George Eugster, both very young and full of enthusiasm and compassion for the children of Sikkim started together with COSF.


Dream to Reality

Since its establishment COSF has raised adequate funds not only for the construction of the Children’s Village at Chongey but also other related children’s projects. In order to receive donations from overseas and to implement the projects, the need for legal and formal organization became imminent.

Towards this end Human Development Foundation of Sikkim (HDFS) was established and registered with the Government of Sikkim on 23rd December 1997 as a secular, non-political, non-profit and non government charity trust. Soon after its establishment, an application was made to the Government of India as required under the F.C.R.A. (Foreign Currency Regulatory Authority) for permission to receive overseas donations. In 1998 permission was granted to receive a maximum of Swiss Francs 200,000 (Rs.5 million)

Construction of the Children’s Village at Chongey commenced on 1st September 1998 and within seven months the first phase was completed. In April 1999 the hostel was inaugurated with over 300 guests, sponsors and well wishers from Switzerland and Germany attending the ceremony.

The Padma Odzer Choeling School in the Children’s Village began operations in April 2001. It was formally inaugurated by the Ambassador of Switzerland, His Excellency Mr.Walter B. Gyger.

For her continuing and selfless work in the development of underprivileged children, Ms.Keepu Lepcha was one of the many women selected - from over 150 countries - as a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Our Work Principles

At HDFS we are:

Child-focused: As an organisation for children, we try to view the world through children's eyes.

Ambitious but practical: We set our sights high - for children, not for ourselves, but we accept that our main responsibility is a practical one. We concentrate on making a real difference to children's lives.

Accountable: We are responsible to those we exist to serve - children, their families and communities, as well as to those who support our work. Professionally and financially, we are sound, scrupulous, efficient and effective.

A Team: We value diversity in those who work for HDFS. We have to balance many expectations, but we support each other and never lose sight of our shared purpose.

Independent: We never compromise our integrity and are prepared to be radical and outspoken if necessary.

Open: We work without prejudice of any kind. We learn from our experiences, both our successes and our failures. We are proud of what we do and we communicate our work clearly and honestly.

Collaborative: We seek to work with others whenever we can, in order to achieve more for children.

Mission & Objectives
Lepcha Cottage
Mission & Objectives
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Genesis and history of Human Development Foundation of Sikkim

We work to ensure that disadvantaged children get access to good quality education for life

A community of young boys and girls living, studying and growing up together

Grants, sponsorships and donations go a long way in financing the children projects

From sponsorships to voluntary services, the children are the sole beneficiaries

We look forward to your call or visit to HDFS