Stephen Raja Chinnappan was born and raised in Bangalore, India. He joined Global Volunteers in 2001 after serving as a free-time tour guide for volunteers in Chennai. After being promoted to Country Manager, Stephen led volunteer teams until the India program was suspended in 2018 and the Nepal program began. Stephen also provides service program information to new volunteers during their program preparation and responds to their pre-departure questions. While volunteering in Nepal, Stephen will guide you in all things related to culture, development, and volunteer travel to Nepal. Learn more about Stephen in this brief interview:
Stephen earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Loyola College in Chennai, India, and a diploma in Travel and Tourism. His wife of fourteen years, Sheeba, also works for Global Volunteers as Assistant Volunteer Preparation Coordinator. They have two sons; Roshan Immanuel, who is eleven years old and in seventh grade, and Shaun Immanuel, who is 15 months old. Stephen says Global Volunteers gives him much satisfaction since he can be of service to underprivileged children. Stephen is respected and admired by our community partners in Kathmandu and is truly committed to the development of the community’s population.
“Stephen is someone who goes out of his way to accommodate all team members. His heart is in the right place, and he is truly good at what he does.”Katie Imholte, business development director and alumni volunteer
Stephen, what most motivates you in your work with Global Volunteers?
“It gives me immense satisfaction to be able to serve the local communities while working for Global Volunteers. Especially the opportunity to serve disadvantaged children. Over the years, I have seen the positive difference that Global Volunteers has made in my home community. We have truly changed the lives of so many children. I am proud to be part of Global Volunteers, an organization that has touched the lives of hundreds of children in India and now in Nepal.”
What do you most most enjoy about leading volunteers?
“I always love watching how children respond to the team. The smiles on the children’s faces make my day. Also, the opportunity to meet new people, to guide and share my culture and beliefs with all my volunteers.”
What are the highlights of volunteer travel in Nepal?
“We truly help the community in so many ways. Volunteers do make a real difference in the lives of the children we work with. For example, one of our volunteers identified a child with some learning difficulties in St. Joseph’s School pre-kindergarten class. The little boy was alone and crying most of the time. Some extra attention and affection from a volunteer helped him gain confidence and start to mingle with other children. He even started to smile. Also, we were able to help the teachers and advise them on how best to work with him in the future. I believe the more help he gets from his teachers and volunteers, the better he’ll become. This extends to all we work with – children and adults. The one-on-one intervention truly changes lives.
So volunteers who join me on the Nepal Service Program are helping children to become successful in life. Their struggles are many, and we can’t underestimate how much good one person can do. It’s also a great opportunity for the volunteers to live in the heart of Kathmandu and learn the local culture and customs from the people. It’s different from being a tourist; you learn so much by mingling with the local people and serving them.”
What do Global Volunteers team members say about volunteer travel in Nepal?
“The need is great. The children we work with at the children’s home need love and care. Anyone can do this. The children require so little, but your efforts make a big difference. We need volunteers to help teach conversational English to disadvantaged students who don’t have the opportunity to learn English without the help of volunteers. English is the language of business in Nepal, and only the well-to-do can afford instruction. The poor don’t have this opportunity, but in reality, the change in their lives by learning English is actually greater than in the lives of the wealthy. So we need to uplift the poorer students. Moreover, the college students at the business school need role models, and the women’s group at Soroptomist Society need volunteers to inspire and motivate them. A service program with Global Volunteers is the best opportunity to make a difference in the world while you learn about the local culture and people.”
“Stephen is one of Global Volunteers greatest assets. He is warm, calm, kind, patient and friendly. Great at leading teams under the Global Volunteers philosophy!“Elizabeth Phelps, 4-time Global Volunteer
Stephen Off The Clock:
“In my free time, I’m a family man. It’s important for me to spend as much time as I can with my family. Sheeba, Roshan, Shaun, and I often visit relatives and friends. I also love to travel and would like to see as much of the world as possible. My passions include history, architecture, wildlife, and nature, as well as listening to music and watching movies.”