Our Team

Jyoti Pandey, Director of Programs

Jyoti is a Senior Social Protection Specialist at the World Bank. She works on social protection and employment policies and programs in Nepal and Maldives. She has worked on projects to promote equitable and inclusive access to civil registration, cash transfers and disaster relief and to improve the delivery system including transitioning from paper to online civil registration and cash based to electronic payments.

She is passionate about equity of opportunity for all and is committed to promote that through all her engagements. Through Samaanta, she strives to pay forward the educational opportunities she received to others in need. She holds a Master’s in public policy from Hertie School of Governance, Germany.


Shrochis Karki, Executive Director

Shrochis is the Director of Impact and Influence, and serves on the Executive team at UnLtd, a national charity that finds, funds, and supports social entrepreneurs in the UK. He also serves on the Board of Proteknôn, a feminist development research institute focused on children and young people, especially as it relates to their care, protection, and wellbeing.

Shrochis has previously served on the Senior Management Team of a leading international development consultancy in the UK, specializing in education systems, organizational development, and policy reform in over 20 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Pacific. He is passionate about equity, inclusion, and social justice for all. He has a D. Phil. in International Development , with a focus on transitions to education and employment for young people, from the University of Oxford.

Shrochis was conducting his doctoral research when he came across fantastic public-school graduates who had high potential but were having to consider quitting higher education to make ends meet. With a group of likeminded young Nepalis who had themselves benefitted from the benevolence of others in accessing excellent higher education opportunities around the world, Shrochis founded Samaanta Foundation in 2012 with the intention of providing the kind of comprehensive, systemic support that levels the playing field by allowing these students to not only participate but actually succeed within the system.



Dev Mahato, Director 

Dev is an economist and a public policy professional working with governmental and non-governmental agencies. He received his higher education in the US and Switzerland under generous scholarships. Besides providing his expertise in research and implementation projects by multilateral agencies like the World Bank and the UN, he is working with a group of investors in bringing to fruition a state-of-the-art health tech company so that the cost of cancer diagnostics in Nepal is considerably reduced and the treatment experience is vastly improved for patients and medical professionals alike. Additionally, he wants to “Pay it Forward” through the works of Samaanta.





Mona Aditya, Director 

Mona Aditya considers herself a ‘generalist’ in Nepal’s non-profit world having worked for youth, education, and health-related non-profit organizations, and set up sustainability-related initiatives. She comes with a unique set of experiences across Nepal, among which she especially treasures her deep experiences with the communities of Mugu, Parsa, and Kalikot. She is a Co-Founder of Nepal ko Yuwa (currently Daayitwa) and has served on the boards of Youth Initiative and United World Colleges Nepal.

She attended Pearson United World College in Canada and Cornell University in the United States as a Davis Scholar. A recipient of the Cornell University Partners in Sustainability Award and a student of environmental sciences, she also co-founded Kathmandu Food Collective towards food sustainability discourse. Her recent-most engagements involve setting up the Alumni Affairs department at Teach For Nepal and serving as the CEO at the Oda Foundation. Food sustainability, youth service learning, disaster response, higher education, rural education, the role of technology in development and non-profit management make some of her continued interests and engagements.





Shirijunga Hang Rai, Director

Shirijung works at the intersection of education, entrepreneurship and employment for youth in Nepal. He is currently with Skill Lab.

At his heart he is a teacher. Prior to employment and entrepreneurship, Shirijung lived and worked in a rural village of Nepal promoting quality education to underserved children of high need public schools. He has completed his MBA -Entrepreneurship under TFN-Kings Public Service Scholarship. As part of the DFID-funded Skills for Employment Programme (SEP), and the technical assistance provided by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with Daayitwa, Shirijung also campaigned national level youth employment campaign advocating ‘Dignity of labour and improved youth employment outcomes’ through policy brief and recommendations for Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Science. Shiri has previously also served as the Program Manager of Samaanta Foundation.





Akhilesh Thakur, Program  Officer

“Self-motivated to work in Sustainable Development Goals, Akhilesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Mass Communication. He started his professional journey by joining ICS as a Team Leader in Raleigh International. During his tenure, he worked in rural villages of Gorkha where he managed to deliver activities related to livelihood project and gained experience in leading young people. As a Program Officer, he handles all the Samaanta programs and activities, strategic planning, including selection process, academic and personal growth, welfare of the fellows, Finance and also maintaining sound relationship with all partners and stakeholders”.


Mark van den Eijke

Mark is Procurement Director at a global materials solutions provider that manufactures plastics, latex binders and synthetic rubber. He holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and lives in The Netherlands. Mark is also the Chairman of the Board of Foundation Care for All, a Dutch(2006) non-profit organization that aims to improve the well being of people in Nepal through education. He has been an integral part of Samaanta Foundation journey from the very first year and bring funds, energy, ideas, enthusiasm, strategy and humor  to our mission to provide oportunity to talented public school graduates from disadvantaged communities in Nepal.

Jelle Wouters

Jelle J.P. Wouters is a social anthropologist and senior lecturer at Royal Thimphu College. He holds an MPhil from Oxford University and a PhD from North-Eastern Hill University. Prior to joining Royal Thimphu College in 2015, he taught at Sikkim Central University and Eberhard-Karls University. Furthermore, he is a founding member and strategic adviser to Care For All – Nepal. He has been engaged in various grassroots development and education activities in Nepal for the past so many years.

Otto Dargan

Otto Dargan is the founder and Managing Director of Home Loan Experts, one of Australia’s leading mortgage brokers. Otto’s experience at Home Loan Experts has given him strategic and management skills as well as a connection to Nepal. In 2012 Otto completed the Everest Base Camp trek and was impressed by the good nature and work ethic of the Nepali people. Home Loan Experts founded a BPO office in Kathmandu and has grown to have over 50 staff. The vision of Home Loan Experts is to operate ethically for the benefit of society so it’s a natural partnership to work with organisations like Samaanta who are helping children to have a brighter future.  Otto regularly travels to Nepal for work and the occasional trek as well.

Prapti Gautam

Prapti holds a PhD in Neuroscience and is trained on human development and advanced statistics. She has a strong interest in increasing access to education to reduce societal inequities. Her role in the organization is to provide general strategic advice on academic measurement, support grant writing, and fundraising.

Agya  Poudyal

Agya currently works at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. She has previously worked with World Education, particularly on child labour issues. Her academic background is in International Relations and Development Studies. Her interests extend to issues concerning women rights, power, inequality, social welfare, migration, health justice and good governance.

Trina  Tamrakar

Trina is currently pursuing a PhD in trauma psychology focusing vicarious trauma of the helping population such as emergency personnel and humanitarian volunteers, based in Denmark and Ireland. She has many years of experience working for Global Rights, based in Washington, DC and then for the child and youth rights at CWIN in Kathmandu, Nepal.


Samaanta US is a 501(3)c registered charity in the US, which has been set up to support Samaanta Foundation’s activities in Nepal. There is an independent team in place, and they are working towards their own initiatives to facilitate higher education for meritorious needy students.