MEET OUR TEAM
DURGA ARAN - New Zealand / Nepal
FOUNDING DIRECTOR / FIELD DIRECTOR
Durga grew up in a small village in Sindhupalchok and experienced the rural Nepali education system first hand. This insight and local knowledge allows him to seamlessly navigate the intricacies of overseeing our education projects. This entails project management, donor liaison, logistical support and management of staff. Durga also oversees all training, evaluation and monitoring. He divides his time between Nepal and the office in New Zealand.
FIONNA HEITON - New Zealand
FOUNDING DIRECTOR / CEO
Fionna began her career as a charity fundraiser in the U.K. She then spent six years in Nepal, working for Water Aid, UNICEF, the Britain Nepal Medical Trust and The British Council. She has conducted training for The Basic and Primary Education project (BPEPO) as well as numerous NGO’s in report writing and presentation skills. Fionna has studied at the University of California, specialising in the Supervision of Adults in Early Childhood Education. Fionna holds a Postgraduate Certificate in International Development Management and is based in New Zealand.
LAUREN PALLISER - New Zealand
OFFICE MANAGER / ADMINISTRATOR
Lauren looks after all aspects of our administration. She has a wealth of administrative experience, both in NZ and Australia. She also has a strong interest in community work and has held a number of volunteer positions. Lauren lives in Nelson, New Zealand, and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons).
ELEN TURNER - New Zealand
Elen lived in Nepal for 5 years where she worked as a freelance travel writer and editor specialising in South Asia. Elen now assists us with marketing for our Himalayan tours. Elen lives in Nelson with her Nepali husband and young daughter.
RANJANA GIRI - Nepal
PROJECT CO-ORDINATOR & SENIOR TRAINER
Ranjana is in charge of operations at our Sindhupalchok projects. She has a degree in English and is a qualified teacher. Ranjana co-ordinates our school projects on the ground with her team of supervisors and reports back to the First Steps team in NZ on progress. She recently visited New Zealand to further her knowledge in administration and reporting, and visited schools and preschools to gain a deeper insight into child-friendly teaching practices.
YASODA GIRI - Nepal
PROJECT SUPERVISOR & TRAINER
Yasoda supervises a number of our projects and works alongside teachers in their classrooms to provide hands on training. She also conducts teacher training workshops, and recently visited New Zealand to visit schools and preschools to gain a deeper insight into child-friendly teaching practices.