In 1997, Maggie Namjou established the Aastha House, a home for children formerly living on the street in Budhanilkantha, a town outside of Kathmandu. Overseeing the house personally, Maggie Namjou welcomes all volunteers who desire to take part in the children’s lives and help the housemothers. Maggie Namjou funded the project personally for nine years until the organization achieved non-profit status in 2006.
Inspired by her experience with Aastha House, Maggie Namjou co-authored a book entitled The House of Hope Project, which she self-published. The House of Hope Project contains photographs of and stories from Aastha House residents, some of the most impoverished Nepali youth who formerly either lived on the street or were forced into child labor. In the book, Maggie Namjou and co-author Naomi Johnson present a new view of Nepal through the eyes of these children while expounding on their hopes and aspirations and reflecting upon their ability to rise out of the deepest despair. Maggie Namjou sells the book for fundraising purposes online at www.lulu.com and shares her own experiences on her personal blog, AasthaHouse.blogspot.com.
Involved in international development efforts for over 25 years, Maggie Namjou has made significant strides throughout Nepal. Working in the slums of Kathmandu, Maggie Namjou created an informal education program for children and provided them with free lunches. Moreover, Maggie Namjou established The Rising Child Nepal Foundation to take children off the streets of Nepal and provide them with medical attention, educational opportunities, and vocational training. Maggie Namjou has also used The Rising Child Nepal Foundation to help free young girls sold into slavery, a practice that persisted as a source of income for the girls’ families. In addition to rescuing these girls from bondage, Maggie Namjou has established educational programs for them and works to provide their families with the income lost once they are freed from servitude.