Creating partnerships for and with the elderly: When not for profit innovates

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Proper and systematic caring for senior citizens is one of the most defining issues that can make Nepal a more equitable and inclusive society.

Yet despite some government’s efforts, the sector is neglected and certainly not a priority.

The provisions that are in place, like a monthly allowance for citizens that was recently increased, are not properly implemented.

Thousands of elderly people throughout the country are missing out on their right to have a dignified existence.

Only recently the administration of Kathmandu Metropolitan city has started to offer such allowance in a more systematic way and surely it will take some time to make the delivery of the allowance hassle free.

Therefore it is up to the civil society to step in to bridge the gap and try to offer services for the elderly.

A great example of such attempts is offered by Saar Nepal, a local NGO founded by a young social worker, Aarati Poudel, a graduate from Kadambari College/Nepal School of Social Work.

Saar Nepal envisions a just society for senior citizens and in order to play its role in achieving such dream, Aarati and her team has set the mission of uplifting, empowering and improving the quality of life of senior citizens.

The interesting aspect of Saar Nepal is its commitment towards its beneficiaries that is realized through a strong partnership approach.

Instead of implementing activities on its own, the philosophy adopted by the organization is to partner with local groups of senior citizens that take ownership of the initiatives being promoted.

In some extents Saar Nepal could be seen as a facilitator or enabler that supports groups of elders. You could think of it as a sort of incubator for senior citizens.

Founder Aarati shares her belief in such a model “The foundation of our work is our community engagement with senior people. For example the day care program that we had initiated is now run independently by our beneficiaries”.

Aarati is referring to the Day care and Lifelong Learning Center that Saar Nepal had started few years back that has been rebranded by the beneficiaries as “Jestha nagarik karyakram”.

Initially Saar Nepal has been running several trainings like informal education classes, livelihoods trainings, computer and mobile phone education and health education.

Now managed by fifty beneficiaries and co-owners, the center, located in Thapagaun mostly, nowadays carries out informal “get-togethers” and health classes, acting as a real social club.

The center is just one of the many endeavors initiated by Saar Nepal. Another accomplishment that again highlights the importance of the partnership approach adopted by the organization and its commitment towards long term sustainability is the establishments of the Senior Citizens Club/Groups that are not directly run by Saar Nepal but are owned by ten senior citizens groups.

The clubs act as counterpart to the work carried out by Aarati and her team and they are the focal point for all activities that Saar Nepal implements around the Valley of Kathmandu. Here we are talking about real self-help groups at grassroots level.

One more important work carried out by the organization is the rescue and rehabilitation of senior citizens that are abandoned by their families and left behind by the society. So far six of them have been rescued, supported and re-integrated to their communities.

Interestingly the same team behind Saar Nepal came up with a social business approach after having initiated, the first on line platform entirely dedicated to offer exclusive services and products for senior citizens.  

Run independently as a separate entity, is trying to cater to the needs of elderly people.

The growing number of senior citizens in Nepal has different needs and services according to Aarati that explains that “in order to make their life convenient, healthy and at ease promoting positive ageing, we came up with the concept of one stop online service platform for senior citizens”

On elderly can find a great variety of products spanning from health and wellness to holiday packages.

It is an interesting model where Saar Nepal designs through senior citizens friendly products and services that totally enhances active ageing.

Aarati and her team are energized to create the foundations for a senior citizens friendly society.

She shares” Let us provide multiple options for senior citizens in making their later life the best part of their life

More not for profit organizations should look at Saar Nepal as model on two fronts:

First about thinking long term, giving space and ownership to the direct beneficiaries and this means the courage and vision of stepping back rather than continuing with direct implementation.

Second the model shows that it is possible to combine charitable and not for profit work with a sustainable, high potential social business dimension.

Surely it will take time for such a bold idea like to be able to expand its business but it is a niche market and the initiative is well positioned not only to be the trailblazer but also the market leader.

To have more information on Saar Nepal and, you can contact Aarati, visit their web site at or call 9849912795.

The Author is Co-Founder of ENGAGE, a local NGO partnering with youths with physical disabilities. You can contact him at



Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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