Thousands of trails wind through the Himalayas. They line the sides of towering mountains and creep deep into its forests, uncovering valleys anchored with wide, rushing rivers. Villages with tin-walled and blue-topped homes are scattered along the rivers’ edges. It’s easy, walking these far away roads, to become captivated by the surrounding beauty. It feels like a different world.
That’s what many people do. They come hike and see the beauty of the Himalayas. But a deeper look, a closer listen, will reveal that beneath their exterior, the Himalayas have been home to centuries of suffering and have endured centuries without hope.
That’s where we come in.
On our very first trip to the Himalayas more than 20 years ago, our founders followed a call to serve people in need, having no clue where it would lead. While hiking Himalayan trails they were confronted with the beauty tangled with the reality: a deep lack in resources and extreme remoteness sever many communities in the Himalayas from basic necessities vital to survival.
Our vision is to see hope in the Himalayas just as starkly as their beauty. Here is how: In our research we uncovered five core issues that deter thriving in the mountains of Nepal, and we have carefully and collectively developed strategies to target and, eventually, eliminate each.
e d u c at i o n + child labor + trafficking
On every front, change in the Himalayas begins with education. If children are privileged enough to attend school, hurdlingover the challenges of hefty tuition and supply fees, they often have to walk many hours from their home to reach the facility. Most families do not have enough income to support sending their children to school so instead, they put them to work either in their fields or they are forced into child labor or situations where they become trafficked. We have seen first-hand that offering early childhood education in the poorest places creates a culture that prioritizes education. We hope that by emphasizing the importance of lifelong learning—and providing as many opportunities to do so as possible—will influence Himalayan communities for the better.
h e a l t h
“Health cannot be a question of income; it is a fundamental human right” - Nelson Mandela. For many around the world, access to resources to maintain health are not even in question. Sadly, the same is not true in the remote Himalayas. Our research in 2000 revealed that due to common illnesses like diarrhea and other waterborne diseases, combined with lack of access to medical facilities, a disturbing number of children in the Himalayas die before their eighth birthday. In cooperation with local entities, we hope to see access to proper medical aid and sanitation education spread among the remote mountain communities of Nepal.
e n v i r o n m e n t
Aside from a niche and small tourism sector, income in the Himalayas is earned through farming. For centuries, these small, remote agrarian societies have relied on income earned from what their crops produce. Though perhaps innovative in their time, now antiquated methods of farming combined with frequent rain and landslides, harsh weather and rocky soil lead to a 40% crop loss every year. Communities in the remote mountains are mostly cut off from the rest of the world, leaving them with little to no access to modern technology and techniques. We are investing in sustainable agricultural solutions, empowering local communities with the tools for unequivocal advancements in progress.