Tim Kaldor, Featherweight Games
Kindness and generosity in times of crisis
We were overwhelmed by the generosity of Australians after the quake. We know Australians have a special relationship with Nepal, and it showed through the outpouring of support.
One Australian with a unique connection to the country is Featherweight Games developer Tim Kaldor, who turned an incredibly stressful time for himself and his extended family into something positive for the recovery.
Tim Kaldor is telling us about the Nepali catchphrase ke garne.
It was after returning from his time working in development in Nepal that Tim and his friend Dylan formed Featherweight Games. “It was just something we’d always wanted to do.” They released their first app, Skiing Yeti Mountain, a fun, lighthearted, multilevel game for mobiles that was "created with the beautiful Himalayas fresh in mind." Tim laughs "we weren’t able to reproduce the beauty, I don’t think.
The game launched to what Tim calls ‘a mild success’ but he wasn’t in a position to enjoy it. At the time of launch, the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Kathmandu and surrounding areas. Tim’s soon-to-be wife Kritika was living in a villiage in Sindhupalchowk, one of the worst affected districts in the country.
“At first it was really hard to even contact her so I was constantly worrying. She was in the city at the time so she was okay but her house was destroyed and her family were buried in their house, but dug themselves out. Everyone was safe in the end but it was a very scary time for them.”
Unable to reach Kritika, Tim decided to channel his worry into something constructive and donate the profits from the game to organisations helping with the rebuild, including Plan International.
“I was very stressed at the time, I couldn’t be excited about the game’s release, So I just wanted to turn it into a positive thing.”
Tim had heard good things about Plan International’s work through friends and knew we were working in Sindhupalchowk. He and Kritika, a school teacher in the area, have since visited Plan International’s office in Nepal.
On how the people of Nepal have dealt with the disaster Tim says: “They’re very capable of dealing with the struggles, they don’t complain about anything, they’re very stoic.”
It’s a pretty big thing for a young person who has taken the risk to start up his own business to donate his entire share of profits to a cause. Tim notes he didn’t know how successful the game would be when he made the decision, he laughingly suggests that might have made it easier.
Fortunately the newest release from Featherweight Games, Rodeo Stampede has seen plenty of success. Tim is set to return to Nepal to see his wife in the hope they’ll both be able to return to Australia. When prodded about the future you can tell he’s taking it as it comes: “I enjoy my work, it will be interesting to see what happens in the future.”
The Nepali catchphrase ke garne comes back to mind. In the face of a long recovery the people of Nepal continue to rebuild, it encompasses their stoicism and resilience. It is the kindness, generosity and resilience of people that is so striking in times of crisis. Tim’s story is a wonderful reminder that the worst of times often bring out the very best in people. After all, ke garne?
Tim has pledged to help support the rebuild of Suryodaya Secondary School to help us get 844 children back into safe, permanent classrooms. You can help us reach our target, find out more: plan.org.au/give/help-rebuild-education-in-nepal