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A STATEMENT FROM OUR CHAIRMAN, MIKE SMITH

GET TO KNOW US MEET THE TEAM

UK Team

Mike Smith

Mike Smith


Trustee , Chairman COTM UK


Mike has enjoyed a long a successful career in the hospitality industry. Formerly Managing Director of BaxterStorey, the largest independent FoodService business in the UK, Mike has been Chairman of Oakman Inns & Restaurants Ltd since 2007. Oakman Inns is an independent hotel, pub and restaurant business with 30 plus locations across the South of England and enjoys huge critical and financial success. Mike became first became involved with Children of the Mountain in 2014 following a charity trek he undertook in Nepal with a number of other hospitality executives. He has since returned to Nepal every year and takes a keen operational interest in all the schools supported by the Children of the Mountain. As well as his strategic, commercial and entrepreneurial knowledge, Mike brings an infectious enthusiasm and passion to the organisation. He became Chairman of COTM-UK in 2017.

John Matthews

John Matthews


Founding Trustee


John is currently based in Scotland where he co-owns a boutique hotel. John relocated from the Middle East where he held hospitality & legal sector finance roles including Financial Director of Al Tamimi the regions largest law firm and CFO of HMH a region wide Islamic hospitality chain. It was during his time in the Middle East that John first had the opportunity to visit Nepal and his experiences there resulted in the founding of Children of the Mountain. John is a passionate advocate for caste and gender equality and believes the provision of quality education in primary years and the mentoring and the development of values & confidence in young adults are key to fairer and more inclusive communities.

Debra Adams

Debra Adams


Trustee, Treasurer


Debra Adams is based in the South of England and qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA) in the 1990’s. Her early career was spent training and working in finance roles with an international hotel group followed by 11 years working as an academic in higher education. She has developed extensive experience in designing education programmes both for classroom delivery and online for adult learners. She now runs her own consultancy focusing on education and learning for middle to senior managers in the hospitality industry as well as holding positions at the Glion Institute and Les Roches Hotel School as Visiting Professor. Debra first visited Nepal in 2014 when she took part in a charity trek and community project for the UK based charity Springboard. This was a life changing experience and ignited her love for the Nepalese culture and people. She has since made a further two visits and has committed to supporting Children of the Mountain in her role as Trustee and Treasurer. Debra is passionate about creating equal opportunity for accessing education for young people based on sustainable solutions.

Simon Hodges

Simon Hodges


Trustee, Governance


Simon is a Company Secretary by profession. He has some 35 years of experience at Board level working for international publically traded and privately held companies headquartered in the United Kingdom, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Hong Kong, including acting as The Company Secretary for 2 FTSE 250 companies. Simon spent over eleven years in the Middle East where he completed a 2-year assignment as head of the health funding project for the Government of Dubai and was previously Company Secretary of The Jumeirah Group, Senior Executive Officer of Dubai Holding Insurance Services LLC and Head of Compliance for ADNEC and Company Secretary of Excel in London. Since October 2011 he has been running his own consultancy business. Simon has also been an adviser on corporate governance issues to the ICSA and the London Stock Exchange

Nick Howe

Nick Howe


Trustee


Co-Founder of Holroyd Howe Ltd, 1997 (contract catering business). Holroyd Howe now has a turnover of £100m with 2,800 employees. Previously the industries contract caterer of the year, Catey Award Winner & Sunday Times Top 100 Business to Work For two years running. Nick has dedicated his entire career to the sector helping to make Holroyd Howe the leading organisation in the independent schools market. Nick’s life and business principles focus on fairness, opportunity and a desire to create the best. His fierce determination and commitment have helped Holroyd Howe achieve an unrivalled reputation as an employer with style, one that leads with initiatives and that has a strong internal culture of inclusiveness and integrity. Outside of work, Nick loves cycling, walking and the outside life, has been an active sportsman all his life and more recently an active boatsman and RYA member. Nick has previously been a Board member and Trustee of People 1st and is now a Trustee of Children of the Mountain (COTM). Travelling the world has always been a life ambition for Nick and his sponsored participation of a group trip to Nepal in October 2018 has encouraged Nick to committing himself to work further for this wonderful and hugely valuable cause as a COTM Trustee.

Kaye Matthews

Kaye Matthews


Trustee, Marketing Manager


Kaye Mathew, Marketing Director of Northcote Hotel & Restaurant, has been a supporter of COTM for many years, through events held at Northcote and in 2018 helped to raise over £50k with a group of hospitality colleagues on one of our Nepal Treks. Kaye joins the UK team to focus on vital fund raising activities and support the marketing and promotion of COTM profile.


AUT Team

Helmuth Neuwirth

Helmuth Neuwirth


Trustee, Chairman COTM Austria


Occupation: retired since March 2018, 34 years self-employed insurance broker and consultant in insurance matters. On a trekking tour to Everest 2010, I had the pleasure of being a guest at a school party. I saw the poor facilities at this school. For that reason, the idea that children go to school a little better was taken up by me. Since my trip to the east of Nepal, Taplejung District in the Khokling region, it has been a special need for me to support the urgent school building in this region.

Kathrin Grimmer, MSc

Kathrin Grimmer, MSc


Deputy Treasurer


Profession: Physiotherapist and osteopath in private practice. Good education for children is very important to me, and my children can also experience it. I know that we live in a privileged environment in this regard, I am very grateful for it and also wish children in other countries the opportunity to shape their lives and that includes a school education that promotes knowledge and creativity and does not distort it. In Nepal, Children of the Mountain creates opportunities for children that can use them to shape their adult lives independently. I think that's great and I'm happy to be able to contribute something.

Gerhard Traxler, BA

Gerhard Traxler, BA


Trustee, Secretary


Profession: Retired civil servant In 2010 I was able to get an impression of the country and its people in the course of a multi-week trekking tour in the Everest area. Our tour guide at the time Nayandra Rai was not only a good and careful mountain guide, but also gave us a deep insight into the culture of this beautiful but poor country. But he also addressed the social problems of this Himalayan state. I was impressed by the openness, friendliness and helpfulness of the people. The impressive mountains, fauna and flora will not be forgotten. The Children of the Mountain Austria association, including the association's goals, has been known to me for a long time through my friend Helmuth Neuwirth and has impressed me. When chairman Helmuth Neuwirth asked me whether I could imagine working in the association, I agreed after brief considerations. I am looking forward to an interesting activity in this important social project to give the children in Nepal access to education.

Peter Krenn

Peter Krenn


Trustee , Cashier


Profession: Trainer in adult education / coach / supervisor. Through my work with adolescents and young adults, I see every day how important good training is. It is about the right knowledge as well as the knowledge of skills in the interpersonal area. We are lucky that we can live in Austria and that there is an opportunity for a good education. Through my commitment to Children of the Mountain-Austria, I would like to help enable children and adolescents in Nepal, who will be the decision-makers of tomorrow, to have the appropriate education.

Anna Neuwirth

Anna Neuwirth


Trustee, Deputy Secretary


Profession: Pensioner, worked as a registry office manager in the community. During a trip to Nepal I was able to get to know the surroundings and the population a little bit away from the tourist centers. The children have to walk a long way to school so that they can take classes in desolate schools. I was able to take part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new school and saw the joy that children and parents have in new educational institutions. Education is the cornerstone for a secure future and I would therefore like to make my contribution as an official at Children of the Mountain Austria.

Wolfgang Eder

Wolfgang Eder


Trustee, Assessor


Profession: Electrical engineer. Education and gender-free, free access to it are the surest step out of poverty and injustice. Educated children are the foundation for a sustainable, safe and just future of a country

Daniel Undeutsch

Daniel Undeutsch


Trustee, Assessor


Profession: IT consultant. I became aware of this initiative through a school project run by my classmates. This has never left me. Especially for children in developing countries, the only chance for advancement and prosperity is "education". It forms the foundation for opportunities in life. Therefore I want to make my contribution and offer the children in Nepal opportunities.

Nepal Team

Raju Bishowkarma

Raju Bishowkarma


Program Manager


Raju is currently pursuing his philosophical studies in Sociology from Tribhuwan University Nepal. Being an education practitioner, Raju has been a phenomenal part to develop, promote and implement various innovative projects for the public education of Nepal for more than a decade. Raju coordinated to develop a “Read Learn Know” package to support the children’s reading skill of early graders. He is responsible for managing all field operations

Aruna Adhikari

Aruna Adhikari


Assistant Program Manager


Raised and educated in Bimsin municipality, Aruna met John while in primary school and expressed an interest in becoming an early years teacher. COTM recognized her potential and, post high school graduation, sponsored a two year teacher training program. Aruna joined COTM in 2017 and now gives back through managing the early years program.

Umesh Khanal

Umesh Khanal


District Monitor


Umesh is a local resident of Gorkha, Tandrang and is a newly joined team member. However, he has possessed experiences in working various local organizations to change his village through developmental works in Gorkha district. Umesh is responsible to manage and monitor the works in Gorkha district. Umesh is pursuing his Master level of Education.

Sarita Shrestha

Sarita Shrestha


District Motivator


Sarita was a former Early Childhood Development teacher in Andhi Barahi Primary School in Bandipur, Tanahun. Her skills on motivating, engaging, inspiring children and teachers through activity based learning is remarkable. She is closely focusing and supervising 6 schools in Bandipur to bring the real value-based education and joyful learning environment. Aiming to build career in Education field, Sarita is pursuing higher secondary education.

Mandira Lamichhane

Mandira Lamichhane


District Motivator


Mandira is a graduate in Bachelor in Arts majored in Nepali subject. She is deeply engaging to motivate the children and teachers to implement the techniques and methodology provided through teachers training for 10 schools in Tandrang, Gorkha. Being an inhabitant of program site, she feels more responsible in bringing changes in children’s life through education.

Sapana Shrestha

Sapana Shrestha


District Motivator


Sapana will look after 6 schools in Borland cluster. In a short period of time Sapana has learnt much about the education programs “I have received many different trainings in the past, but have now learnt how children can learn much better with the Nepali Literacy Program. I am very thankful to the entire team of COTM, I enjoy rhyming, singing and dancing with the children. Every school should be friendly and a place where they feel safe”

Nishana Bhatta

Nishana Bhatta


District Motivator


Nishana will look after 5 schools in the Ghyampesaal cluster and is very proud to be working for COTM. “ I have been able to learn a lot of things from the organisation and I will try my best to support the children and teachers at the schools. The Nepali Literacy Training, really helped, I now know I can help the children to read and learn. Thank you COTM for giving me this opportunity to work” Nishana is studying Bachelor first year in business studies.

Devi Ojha

Devi Ojha


District Motivator


Devi will look after 5 schools in the remote part of Taplejung district. These are challenging schools that are in high hill and remote areas, Devi is very happy to visit the schools and looks forward to learning more about education programs to support the teachers and students. “The teachers have a lot of expectations for support and I hope that I will be able to offer this for them”

Kanchi Maya Tamang

Kanchi Maya Tamang


Ambassador


Kanchi is a three times Everest Summiteer and has been dedicating to empower the girls of her village in Sindhupalchowk district. She is managing the girl’s scholarship program and has been motivating them to continue the school level education. She conducts various activities to motivate, engage and inspire the girls to build career through the education.