Shree Ghap Community Awareness Society | Our Partners in Carrying Hope
MountainChild has never operated alone. We partner with several national entities that help facilitate our wok across the Himalayas. One of them is the Shree Ghap Community Awareness Society (SGCAS). They play a vital role in implementing MountainChild programs and projects in the Gorkha district. They are a local NGO that carries the same vision and passion that we do. In Nepal, international NGOs (MountainChild) cannot function on their own. Through local entities like SGCAS, we are able to carry out the vision of hope we have for the Himalayas, together! Working closely with SGCAS enables us to empower local communities of the Himalayas to promote lasting change. We sat down with Seekha, Program Officer for SGCAS, to hear first hand who they are and what their hope is for the Himalayas!
What is SGCAS?
Seekha: SGCAS was started by the community of Ghap, a village in the Tsum Nubri Rural Municipality (TNRM) of the Gorkha district of Nepal. TNRM is the most isolated part of this district. Its border touches the border of Tibet, China. It's a 6-day hike away from the nearest bus station.
Because of their remote setting, these areas lack adequate resources. So we, the people of Ghap, with the assistance of the government, run a school with hostel facilities and a health center in Ghap.
With the help of Community Action Nepal (CAN), we started the health post in 2008 and with the help of other NGOs, we started the Shree Nubri Primary School in 2011. MountainChild has been our partner from the beginning, providing resources necessary for equipment for the health post and materials needed for the school.
In 2014, we registered SGCAS as an official NGO with the vision of providing for those who are most in need. Our main goals are:
- To provide free education and hostel services to the poorest communities' children.
- To make basic health services available for everyone.
- To ensure the safety and well-being of pregnant women and their babies during childbirth.
- To provide rescue services for severe emergency health cases.
What does SGCAS mean to the community of Ghap?
Seekha: SGCAS provides excellent education and health services. It has played a direct role in helping many people and saving many lives. And because it is run by people who are local to the area, the people of Ghap feel proud to be a part of such a community!
What do you hope for the future of the Himalayas?
Seekha: Life in the Himalayas, especially the TNRM is very difficult. 90% of the people are uneducated. Schools and health posts are scarce. it takes 2 hours of walking to reach neighboring villages and 6 days to reach the nearest road. 50% of homes are without electricity and most families rely on traditional and antiquated farming systems that yield only one type of crop a year.
But the future holds great potential for the remote Himalayas. Roads are being built and many hydropower projects are underway. Organizations like MountainChild and SGCAS are working with the government to advocate for better health and educational projects. When we see the number of kids in our school growing and people coming to the health post, it gives us hope for the future. In addition, many are showing interest in modern farming systems that will allow villages and communities to thrive.
Soon, the Himalayas will be completely different.
How have you directly seen the impact SGCAS and MC have made in the Himalayas?
Seekha: We see the impact in the lives of the Himalayan people we serve. 87 children are able to go to school, who would have otherwise not had the opportunity. We are also able to support and maintain jobs for the staff of the school and hostel.
The Nubri Learning Center (NLC) has provided a base education for many young children. Most schools do not offer early childhood development, so students struggle to make it through first grade. But we've seen a difference in students who attend the NLC. They are able to comprehend and excel in their primary school material.
Our Ghap Health Post provides excellent services to the community. In the past, it took days to reach a health post from Ghap. Many deaths occurred due to minor health issues. Now, we're able to meet these minor needs and have even provided the means for emergency rescues.
Through SGCAS and MC, we've been able to save lives both by meeting health needs and building a foundation for the future generation.