Global Family Village, a community-based orphanage model, was conceived after the founder, Freema Davis visited a Romanian orphanage that had adopted abandoned HIV/AIDS-affected children and grouped them into family units with "mothers". The sight of the once-hapless children now living together as a family and experiencing so much love and comfort from each other inspired her to start a similar family centered model for orphan children. However, this model would be different as it is supported by the local community and will eventually be self-sustaining.
In 2004, Freema began the initiative to transform institutional orphanages. Initially, the Healthy Infant & Baby Development Program at Bal Mandir Orphanage in Kathmandu was started as an urgent intervention for the safety and health of the newborns and toddlers awaiting adoption. The intervention, under the auspices of the International Child Resource Institute (ICRI), was broad based and addressed numerous deficiencies including: furnishing the rooms, new paint and curtains, general building repairs, creation of a play area, repair or replacement of outdated electrical equipment and fixtures, new cribs and mattresses, new clothes and toys. Donations were received to cover all the costs. The living environment of the children was vastly improved.
Simulaneously, GFV was conducted research on orphan care in Nepal and successful world-wide programs. The groundwork was laid for the design of the innovative model, based on best practices.