Sandra Fiedeldy - President
In 2012, after having established a successful school fundraising business in NZ and Australia over 16 years, Sandra simply could not ignore the feeling that her hard earned entrepreneural skills were being wasted. Through a series of synchronistic events, she invited her friend David Brown to come to Nepal to make a documentary about women and education ... and as sometimes happens there, she experienced being called to work in Nepal.
It was during her second visit in 2014, that she met a few Gandharbas, members of the musician caste of Nepal. They had been lucky enough to receive an education and requested that she invest in a restaurant. They were looking for a vehicle to uplift their community, one of the poorest in Nepal and could not do this without support.
Sandra faced a life changing choice ... either walk away and get on with life in Australia or committ to something much bigger than herself. She chose the later and it would entail taking the big step of selling her business. It also meant throwing her hat over the wall and working with the Gandharbas to make sure this restaurant succeeded. They had made a promise to the whole community and a lot of people were counting on them. It was certainly a lot harder than they expected, but slowly they found their way.
Four years, and a lot of hard work later, Sandra is proud that they managed to crack the competitive tourist market in Kathmandu and have started a chef clothing social enterprise ... and being very ambitious, have many more social enterprise projects in the pipeline.
Sandra divides her time between Nepal and Australia and is equally at home in both countries. Having fully immersed herself in the culture and partnering local organisations has been the key to Sarangi’s success.
David Brown - Vice President
David is a professional filmmaker and has been a supporter of Sarangi from it’s inception in 2014, when he began recording the Sarangi journey on film.
Many individuals and communities have benefited through his storytelling which captures our collective voice, a fundamental part of creating understanding and change.
David’s unobtrusive style allows him to quickly develop trust in any environment. This enables him to get to the core of a story and the hearts of the people involved. He has a gentle tenacity that enables him to work with a wide range of people in any environment.
His production experience includes short and long form documentaries, commercial work, community projects and fictional films. He is an advocate of human rights, the underlying theme of much of his work. David’s clients include government organisations, businesses, individuals, community groups and Non Government Organisations(NGO’s) both in Australia and overseas.
David is committed to making projects possible, big or small. He supports and guides his clients through the entire production experience either directly or with his team of professionals. He offers a wide range of services and his clients can expect open and honest communication in determing what best suits their requirements and goals.
Michael Flatt - Secretary
Michael is NZ'er who emigrated to Australia in 1998. He currently lives in a small village in NE Victoria and works with disabled people.
Before this, he lived in Central Australia for several years working with indigenous people in remote communities. This included two and a half years living in the remote Warlpiri community of Nyirripi, 450km from Alice Springs.
In Nyirripi Mike was the Mentor/Coordinator of a small learning centre which was a joint project between the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust (financed by Warlpiri people through their mining royalties) and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.
This time left a strong impression on his heart and mind. Because of this I am particularly interested in Sarangi's relationship with Worawa College in Victoria.
Mike is a passionate photographer and and has a strong connection to the teachings of Ramanasramam Maharishi who lived in Tamil Nadu, India.
Matt Pettit - Treasurer
Matt is a qualified accountant who has extensive experience on 'not for profit' and 'social enterprise' board of trustees. He instigated the setup of the famous community restaurant 'Lentil as Anything' in Sydney and is passionate about telling stories of how social enterprise can dramatically succeed through their ability to inspire the public to contribute. Matt spends most of his time in Asia creating a social enterprise platform for travelers, connecting big and small companies with community businesses. He is transforming the way people experience and explore the world. Matt has been a good friend of the Sarangi projects for many years and we are grateful to have his extensive experience to draw on.
Dheeraj Shrestha - board member & adviser
Internationally acclaimed tabla percussionist, Dheeraj Shrestha is recognized the foremost Nepalese born tabla percussionist in Australia. Whilst he is an Australian resident, he is deeply connected to his homeland and to the welfare of its people. As we work closely with the Gandharba (musician caste of Nepal) his insight is invaluable to Sarangi's projects.
On a recent trip back Nepal, Dheeraj performed a fundraising concert ‘Blessings of Tabla’ at the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu. The “Dheeraj Project” was launched by the Australian Ambassador Graeme Lade at the event. He also conducted workshops for the blind & deaf orphanages in Nepal organised by UNESCO and UNWO. In Australia, Dheeraj has supported Help Nepal Network events with his Tabla forte in Sydney.
In addition to his 20 years of professional music experience, Dheeraj has taught music at the Fine Art College, Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal and at present he is lecturing at the QUT & the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Australia.
An irrepressible creativity, tremendous clarity and exciting rhythmic improvisation are his stylistic hallmarks and this has established him, worldwide, as one of the finest exponents of tabla. His easy flowing style of playing tabla, sets him apart from other players of international renown. Dheeraj has been actively touring around the world every year.
His recent tour highlights include:
• Performances at the Royal Albert Hall, London in the presence of Prince Charles.
• At the renowned Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
• California World Music Festival.
• The Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
• World Expo 88 The entertainment extravaganza.
• Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2008.
• Woodford Festival.
• Adelaide Fringe Festival.
• Big Day Out, Gold Coast.
• WOMAD, Adelaide
• Australian Himalayan Foundation “Tribute concert for Sir Ed Hillary 2008”
• Nepal Festival 2008, Melbourne
His recent collaborations include: Lior, Harry Manx, Jeff Lang, Rhythm Sutra, Flamenco Indo Jazz, Afro Dizzi Act, Dya Singh, OKA & Classical artists from Nepal and around the world. Dheeraj is conversant with various forms of music. Apart from Nepalese, classical and folk, he is just as good in jazz, blues, flamenco etc and having influences in crossing over various genres of music.
Emily Young - board member & adviser
Emily is from South Australia and works as a Paediatric Nurse Consultant and loves every minute of it! After volunteering intermittently for many years, she committed to working in Nepal full-time in 2015.
With the support and collaboration of local Gandharba’s and Australian volunteers, she facilitated health education camps in remote communities. Her team are committed to improving access to health care particularly for the Gandharba communities, who are often isolated within Nepal as a result of discrimination and inequality. Emily works with many members of the Sarangi project.
In 2016 she left Nepal to spend time working in rural parts of Australia where she saved some money so that she could study in Liverpool, UK. Both experiences provided her with additional knowledge related specifically to the issues she was addressing within the Gandharba communities and ultimately provide a new and improved service.
After completing her Diploma of Tropical Nursing in the UK, she worked with some of the leaders from the Gandharba communities via Skype to keep their health projects going and accepted a job in Sierra Leone, West Africa where she worked on a 6-month collaborative project with the World Health Organisation, the Sierra Leone government and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the UK. The project involved up-skilling nursing staff across Sierra Leone to improve triage, emergency assessment and emergency care for paediatric patients.
In early 2018 Emily returned to Nepal to continue providing support and collecting data to determine the success and sustainability of their projects. Individuals from the Gandharba community now manage the Nepali projects and they are so proud of everything they have achieved in improving health and sanitation for individuals and families in remote areas.
The Sarangi project is honoured to have Emily on the team. Together, we are planning some very exciting projects that will make a big difference to women's health.