The Himalaya is by many measurements the greatest of all mountain chains that runs from Pakistan in the west, through India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. The differing communities and environments that make up this mountain wonderland are under constant stress and strain and as Exodus have been organising tours and treks to this region for nearly 40 years, it is only natural for us to want to give something back. Some of you may have read Keshar Khadka’s story in the last Extracts magazine, where he talked about how the installation of smokeless stoves would improve the lives of the women from his home village of Nalbung in Nepal. We are delighted to report that 49 smokeless stoves have now been installed, and you can read more here.
Our focus has always been small-scale practical projects that include providing basic resources such as fresh water and sustainable wood supplies, supporting children's educational needs and helping communities preserve or improve their environment whilst giving the maximum possible long-term economic benefit. Since 2006, we have raised almost £200,000 in support of these various projects - an incredible achievement!
Nalbung is a tiny, remote mountain village, with no electricity and no running water. Five Exodus guides, Kedar, Lakpa Lama, Gum, Sukman and Chewang, travelled the long distance on foot to reach Nalbung to help the villagers install their smokeless stoves. Please click here to read Lakpa Lama’s full report on how the installation was achieved.
We are very grateful to two long standing Exodus clients, Neil Bowman and Carole Mahoney, who climbed Stok Kangri last year and raised funds for Exodus’ Himalayan Communities Project. £1,000 was set aside to pay for the cost of 20 of the smokeless stoves that were installed in Nalbung. Neil and Carole have also donated funds to pay for a water filter in Rumbak, Ladakh, and towards the installation of water pipes in the village of Thulpatel in Nepal. As part of our on-going Himalayan Community Support projects we have supported an orphanage in Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal. In 2006 we worked with local builders to build a new orphanage. A Nepali well-wisher initially got us started by donating a plot of land and we set about fundraising and applying our project management skills to the build. Since then we have set up an education fund to help support the local school, which provides donations to a central education fund rather than offering individual sponsorship. This continued support has meant that the original time-bound building project has supported not just the welfare of the children but also the local school and education of the children. As we feel our work here is complete we are no longer actively raising funds for this project.
WHAT HAVE WE ACHIEVED SO FAR? Click here to find out ...
• Our first project was Braga Tree Nursery where we pay a yearly fee for Karma Gurung and his wife to run a small scale tree nursery in one of their fields. Since 2006, we have donated a total of around £6,000 to this project.
o The Esther Benjamin's Trust focuses on improving the lives of Nepal's most vulnerable children. Their refuges cater for 140 children who are at risk of being trafficked or suffering domestic or sexual abuse. Donated £2000 towards the nursing training of one of their girls, Deepa Moktan. Please visit the Esther Benjamin Trust's website for more information or see Nepali Times news article 'Company of dreams'.
• £500 raised every year for HAMWWA (High Altitude Workers Welfare Association), a small NGO set up by climbing sherpas to help families of climbing sherpas who have lost their lives or livelihood climbing or trekking and the money we raise yearly goes towards the education of 4 to 5 children.
• More than 50 solar cookers installed across teahouses in the Everest region. Cookers were also donated to The Sir Edmund Hillary Hospital and School in Kunde and Khumjung, the porter shelters in both Thyangboche and Gorak Shep and the monastery in Thyangboche. In 2010 two Exodus groups helped put the stoves together whilst out on trek.
• Nalbung is a remote village situated above the Seti River and the Kalika School has almost 100 students but only 3 teachers including the head master. Since 2009, we provide £250 a year to sponsor an additional teacher. In 2012 the operations staff at Exodus raised money for water pipe for the school. The village may get government help for this and if so the money raised by the office will go towards a new water pipe in Thulopatel School. In 2013 some of our Nepali leaders will take 50 smokeless stoves to the village and will help install them in every house.
• Thulopatel, a fairly large village in the Jiri area south west of the main Everest trekking region and is where many of our trekking staff come from. In the past two years, 139 smokeless stoves have been installed in this area.
• Danda Kharka is home to Chwang Sherpa, one of our popular trekking guides. For 9 years, a couple of Exodus trekkers have continued to raise money for this village. Achievements include water pipes and a water tank installed and repairs to the monastery. In summer 2011, thanks to British Airways match funding their efforts, the village is now connected to the local hydro power plant, meaning each home now has electricity.
• Plastic water bottles are the bane of life in Ladakh so since 2011, we have been working with the Youth Association for Conservation and Development in the Hemis High Altitude National Park (YAFCAD) and Niyamdu.dro, a French NGO, to help provide safe drinking water that can be sold to trekkers in the Markha Valley. UV filters have been installed in Rumbak, Skiu, Markha, Hankar, Nimaling and Chilling to provide safe drinking water for trekkers. Exodus have provided water containers for tea tents so owners can sell safe drinking water to trekkers (meaning no plastic water bottles should be left along the whole of the Markha Valley). In December 2011, Valerie Parkinson was in Leh for a training session run by Ladakhis from YAFCAD on waste management, how to use UV filters, keep them clean and provide safe drinking water for tourists.
• In 2012, our emergency relief fund bought a wheelchair for Lal Gauri Tamang, a 21-year old girl who has been paralyzed since she was 18 months old. Her father works as a porter and she requires 24 hour care which her family provides. She had outgrown her previous wheelchair and the family could not afford a larger one. She now has a new wheelchair which means she can sit upright and outside during the day.
WHAT DO WE WANT TO ACHIEVE THIS YEAR? Click here to find out ...
• Approximately £520 for the Braga Tree Nursery, where Karma and his wife collect seeds and grow them to small saplings, then plant them out in the surrounding hills.
• £500 to be raised for HAMWWA (High Altitude Workers Welfare Association) for the education of 5 children of climbing sherpas who have lost their lives or livelihood climbing or trekking.
• Thulopatel In 2013 we are trying to raise money for water pipe for The Grace Morning Glory School and the village health post.
• Nalbung Kalika School In November 2012, 50 smokeless stoves have been ordered and one will be fitted in every house in the village in early 2013. We would like to raise money to buy a small piece of land which will allow the Nalbung Kalika school to build additional classrooms.
o Each family in Danda Kharka put some of their own money towards the cost of getting electricity in the village. Due to the wooden posts not being very robust, however, we now hope to raise £950 to replace these with metal poles.
• If you would like to donate a solar cooker the cost of one is £350 including transport. More people in the Everest and Mera Peak region would like one and we would love to raise the money for at least 10 more cookers, which means raising £3,500. Unfortunately in January 2012 a sudden wind storm swept through the Everest region and about 6 of the solar cookers had the reflectors broken. It will cost £100 to buy new reflectors and we would like to repair the broken cookers.
• In 2013 we will be working with YAFCAD to promote the sale of safe drinking water in the Markha Valley. Promotional and educational and information sign boards need putting up in each village. Exodus will fund these.
• In Leh there is a Donkey Sanctuary set up by Joanna Elfson. In 2013 we will be sponsoring an 'Exodus' donkey. If you are travelling to Leh you will be able to visit the sanctuary, which was set up to provide a safe place for mistreated, old or sick donkeys.
• Founded in 1998, the Nishtha Trust works for the benefit of the hill people of the Kangra Valley in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh, North India. The primary activity of the trust is to run a health clinic for the poor and underprivileged of the area. Our support started in 2011 with Philippa Russell, who lives in Kangra District and leads some of our trips (including Mountains, Temples & Hillstations). For more information see www.nishtha-hp.org or visit the Nishtha Community Centre on our Mountains, Temples and Hillstations Ride and Mountains, Temples and Hillstations trips.
• Emergency Relief Fund for those in need of short term help.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP?1) Firstly, if you are planning to visit the Himalaya on one of our trips, please make everyone in your group aware of what Exodus are doing. Help us spread the word!
2) Take out any old walking clothes to India or Nepal and hand over to your leader and they will ensure they are given to porters working with our groups.
3) Bring children's storybooks for school libraries we support in Kalika, Thulopatel and Ladakh. Easy reading books with pictures are most useful, which you can pass to your leader.
4) Over the years Exodus trekkers and travellers have been sponsored for their treks and cycle rides. Others have run marathons, done a skydive, held cake fairs at schools, sold souvenirs obtained in the Himalaya, or even donated money in lieu of wedding and birthday gifts. However the funds are raised, a few pounds, dollars, euros or rupees can and do make a real difference to the lives of many and help maintain the amazing mountain environment that we go so far to see. On certain trips to the Himalaya you may be able to donate locally (especially in Kathmandu), or on your return through Friends of Conservation in the UK.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? Click here to find out ...
You can either contact our Himalayan Operations Manager Valerie Parkinson for details on the project or contact Claire Daniel in the office for more information on our trips that visit the Himalaya.
Updated: 09 April 2013
We hope to reach our target - every donation counts.