As an avid mountaineer, Michael made his first visit to Nepal in 1971 to visit Everest. Although his main focus was photography, he ended up falling in love with the Tamangs, a local tribe, because of the porters that he met. He was so taken with their happy nature, friendliness, and work ethic while living at subsistence levels, that he vowed to help them. He embarked on an adventure and joined two porters to visit their villages in the Timal Region of the Kabre Palanchok District (Southeast of Katmandu). No other Westerner had visited this Region before. These porters from the Kunuwal village were asking for help with the completion of a schoolhouse that was already under construction in their village. Upon Michael's return to Canada, he proceeded to raise money to help complete the school. He travelled back to Nepal to see the school completed and requests for more schools followed. He was hooked on helping and expanded his fundraising activities. While fundraising in Canada he developed a relationship with a group called TRAS (Tibetan Refugee Aid Society). He worked with them for 10 years building schools, 47 in total, and in 1986 he formed an independent NGO – Nepal School Projects. It was at this time that he shifted his efforts to the Southern Mahabharat region. Michael recognized that no other aid organizations were present in this region due its remoteness. NSP filled this gap.
In the past 25 years of his life with NSP, Michael's leadership resulted the following accomplishments:
- The construction of 45 schools;
- The development of 6 sub-health posts;
- The building of 263 drinking water systems to benefit 5,197 households and a population of 46,123;
- The construction of 3568 permanent latrines;
- The development of an apprenticeship program where 79 apprentices were trained with income generating skills;
- The rehabilitation of 70 kilometers of landslide damaged trails. These foot trails are the only means of travel in the region;
- The installation of 15 micro-hydro projects and 630 biogas;
- And the construction of 8 wire bridges, which allow the crossing of monsoon-swollen rivers so that people are not isolated during this time of the year.
We believe there is no other project that has accomplished what he has done. NSP, as an organization, is so proud of him and honoured to have been able to work with him. We are saddened by the loss and energized to continue on in his legacy. Currently, NSP's energy centres on additions to and improvements of schools. There are also many new requests for latrines and safe drinking water systems. Michael’s dedication to NSP was done selflessly, and with minimal administration costs as he strongly believed that all money raised should go primarily to the local people. We agree and we are determined to fulfill current requests with the same integrity. Michael spent the last 40 years of his life giving to the people of Nepal. We are prepared to do the same over the next 40 years. We hope we can count on your continued support!