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Friends of Himalayan Sherpa People, Inc.

501 (c) 3 non-profit organization

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Why We Care

Education is the path forward in our trek into the future

Education in remote villages of Nepal spells the solution to give children the tools to improve their future. Most people living in remote farming communities have many obstacles for children to attend school including walking miles that at times cross landslides, rivers, and treacherous slopes in the rainy season.

In addition to the physical challenges, many parents have a limited cash income as they farm the land for their food. The young men labor at remote jobs often in another country, and there is frequently not enough rupees to pay for to pay tuition fees, books and other school supplies. As many of the children grow up with limited opportunities due to lack of education, teenagers just out of childhood are married due to their limited education. Farmers are needed for the traditional lifestyle, yet in the modern world these young people also need to understand both worlds so that they are treated fairly in routine transactions and emergency needs. Without an education, these young people are often seduced by immoral recruiters who promised decent work with good pay. The desperate and unskilled young people can then find themselves trapped in a foreign country with no rights and no way out. Part of the solution, is empowering children and young people with basic knowledge and skills to read, write, and do math in their daily transactions, and role models such as their teachers, who have attained decent work and a sustainable life.

Seeing the burdens of people in remote villages and hearing stories of a difficult way of life without education, a group of us, established Friends of Himalayan Sherpa People, Inc. in the Eastern Sierra of California. We hope to play a small role in providing some relief for better education that would empower them to improve their future.

Friends of Himalayan Sherpa People, Inc. has contributed to the purchase of land and the construction of a school building in Wangdowa Sherpa’s village in Phapre, Okhaldunga, Nepal. Through this school, we plan to provide the best possible education to the children as well as provide life improving skills and health education to the adult villagers. Part of the adult education will be on the installation of metal cooking stoves with smoke stacks so that they vent the smoke from cooking and heating outside their homes. This will greatly reduce the health impacts from breathing smoke and the particulates and carbon dioxide that chronically affect their lung, eyes, and ears. A simple solution needing funding is for efficient wood burning stoves with smoke stacks that vents smoke outside. This will improve their health and also improve efficiency of wood stoves and decrease the demands on the surrounding forest for wood. Other projects that we may bring to the villages are solar energy and biogas generation from which people can cook.

Other aspects of the school that will showcase will be improvements in hygiene with clean water and sanitation.

Other adult education efforts in the village would be teaching people about better hygiene and building improved toilets to stop open defecation; better diet practices such as eating more green vegetable based food; preserving the seed bank of crops that are healthy for people and promote economic sustainability; and introducing improved way of farming to be able to produce more food on smaller parcel of land.

Health:
The remote villages lack health clinics as there are not trained nurses and doctors available to serve the people. As a result of lack of health professionals, sick children and adults sometimes die before they can reach the nearest clinic or hospital which may be located days walking distance away. One of our goals is to raise funds to build a clinic in the village to provide basic health care, health education, and first responder emergency services. In accomplishing this, lives will be saved and quality of life will increase as hard working farmers who have no time for a long journey receive local health support and do not have to walk many days away to receive medical treatment.

Shamans and Buddhist Lamas (priests) are the medicine men in these remote villages but villagers take sick children, women and men to the far away clinics anyway as a last resort to save life, but it is often too late. Friends of Himalayan Sherpa People would like to lift these poor villagers from this burden by bringing in a clinic that can provide basic health service while recognizing the value of the spiritual support of traditional culture, thereby blending the best of the old and new in improved health, medical, and emergency services.

Environment that can support life and peace of mind is imperative to attaining quality of life on earth for all beings that breathe including plants and animals.

Environments in remote villages are in need of stewardship, starting with education for the people today, and for the future generations. With the ever increasing population, the forest is being depleted of resources.. As a result, landslides wash away valuable farming land and the sustainable livelihood of people. With the escalating deforestation many species of wildlife which once freely roamed the forest are driven to the brink of extinction. With fast modernization, clean streams and villages are becoming littered with plastic bags as well as other modern creations such as plastic bottles, glasses and cans. If deforestation continues at the current rate with the farmers’ needs and illegal poaching of old growth forest trees, the livelihood of people and wildlife will be threatened.

Nepal’s existing old growth forest is one of the oldest eco systems on earth. The values of the old growth forest are both measurable and intangible. The forest has sustained the people throughout time by holding soil intact to prevent landslides, providing fodder for animals, grazing areas for domestic animals, and the many medicinal plants which are used in modern and traditional medicine. These life supporting resources need urgent protection with proper education of the villagers and other stakeholders.

There is reason for hope. When political will locally and nationally comes together, conservation of existing forests and wildlife will be coordinated with the community forest managers, the villagers and the Nepal Department of Forest. An essential key to the long term solution is recognizing that people in remote villages live subsistence farming lifestyles and need a sustainable future for themselves and their children. Currently, villagers burn wood to cook and heat their houses. The forest is their main source of fuel, construction material, and food such as bamboo shoots, mushroom, various wild vegetables, berries, medicinal plants and animal fodder. With the ever increasing population, deforestation is rapidly occurring. Therefore, locally sustainable fuel with a low carbon footprint is needed, as well as reforestation education. Globally, the impacts of the warming climate are anticipated to affect the traditional peoples of the Himalayan region at an alarming and disproportionate rate. Our mission is to help develop a meaningful, sustainable, and respectful solution to the impacts global climate change stresses on these traditional cultures who have lived sustainably and are now are experiencing unprecedented challenges to their survival.

Cultural Survival and Heritage:
People living in remote villages for centuries have traditions and cultures that have endured longer than thousand of years. They do not have written history yet there is a rich oral history passed on through the elders. Things are forgotten as people get old and die. Temples and monasteries built by communities when the times were good are now rotting away with the rapid pace of change and external pressures. The ancient and valuable part of culture is represented in the mural paintings, religious texts and statues handcrafted centuries ago in the monasteries. These cultural treasures increasingly are stolen or wither away with neglect as mold and rust eat away the pieces of the past. These rotting relic structures need to be secured, restored, and recorded to be shared with current and the future generations. Both restoration specialists and teaching people how to take care of these valuable cultural resources would protect these irreplaceable cultural icons and enable them to provide insights to present and future generations.

The needs are many. Compassion and wisdom has called us to establish Friends of Himalayan Sherpa People, Inc. Our vision and hope is that we can expand our circles of support so that we can provide relief where we can, implement meaningful support, and contribute our resources and knowledge for a sustainable future rich in natural and cultural heritage.

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School under construction

Phapre Village Gallery

 

Friends of Himalayan Sherpa People, Inc.
PO Box 349
Lee Vining, CA 93541

 

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Friends of Himalayan Sherpa People, Inc. is a non-profit (501(C) 3) organization.