UPDATE: JUNE 2016
With the pre monsoon season completed and a return to `normal’ operations in the Himalaya we were happy to have enjoyed an event-free season after the tragic outcomes of the previous seasons. This season saw our groups achieve successful outcomes on Mt Everest, Dhaulagiri, Mera Peak and Island Peak in addition to several trekking programs so it was very heartening to observe the Sherpa staff, guides and team members again enjoying the unique environment and rewarding experiences that travel in Nepal delivers. The employment provided to our Nepalese workers enables our staff to further rebuild their lives in an era when tourism is significantly down on `pre-earthquake’ levels.
The focus of the Sherpa Future Fund has centred on providing education to the children of Nepalese workers who have lost their lives in the mountains and as a result of your generosity this has enabled us to support a total of 13 children’s schooling and boarding costs while two are yet to start their schooling. All but one of the children who are already at school are now attending boarding schools in Kathmandu that have been selected because they provide caring and supportive environments with dedicated teachers with strong emphasis on academic results.
Some of the children shopping for clothes for school.
We closely supervise the learning progress and well-being of the children through our Nepal Operations Coordinator, Chhiring Sonam, who also has school-age children and personally knows many of the families. I was lucky enough to make a visit to one of the schools with Chhiring Sonam when I was in Kathmandu this last spring and I was very impressed with how attached the children were to him and what care he takes to supervise their education and well-being.
Adventure Consultants pays Chhiring Sonam’s wages and costs directly and not from the Sherpa Future Fund accounts from which all proceeds goes directly to the expenses for the children. The school costs cover all meals, stationary, uniform, sporting gear, bedding, school trips and footwear.
A post shopping ice cream treat!
We have been very gratified to have received offers from several of you out there who have committed to supporting the costs of an individual child or several siblings from one family for the duration of their education. We are extremely thankful for that support as it enables us to focus the balance of the funds to put the support to those yet to attract an individual sponsor or retain it for children yet to reach school age, or for us to offer
support to mothers needing assistance as they rebuild their lives without their husbands and bread-winners.
Our commitment to providing education to these children will continue through to 2030 for the youngest ones and we know the difference this will make to their future lives is palpable.
UPDATE: NOVEMBER 2015
Dear supporter of the AC Sherpa Future Fund,
Apologies for the lack of recent information about the Sherpa Future Fund but I have been very conscious of ensuring the support is going to those who have the greatest need. Due to a paucity of communication with some of our Sherpa team living in remote areas or because telecommunications were knocked out by the earthquake, we did not have clear communications with many of our staff for some time. I didn’t want to send funds indiscriminately but instead wanted to ensure your donation money goes to where it is achieving the most benefit.
Additional to your support towards the SFF we have been involved in several fundraising events to raise money from our local communities for the people of Nepal. In addition to own Sherpa Future Fund we have raised money for the Himalayan Trust, the Juniper Fund, First Steps Himalaya, dZi Foundation and the Helumbu - Solu Khumbu Relief Fund, all of whom are doing a sterling job of getting support directly to specific communities and individuals in their time of need. Throughout that process we have been overwhelmed by the level of sympathy and concern and generosity from people who want to help.
I recently spent 2 months in Nepal on an expedition to Manaslu so I was able to meet with most of our Sherpa team and allocate funds from the SFF. Many of the Sherpas have been in their villages since the earthquake to support families and, in some cases, to get on with the process of rebuilding so I was pleased to have met with a good number of them who were back in Kathmandu or about to embark on expeditions. While in Kathmandu I met with David Morton, founding director of the Juniper Fund that supports the surviving families of Nepalese expedition workers who die in the mountains. David was visiting families and distributing money to support the parents, wives and children of those who have lost their breadwinner. Unlike many Nepalese who perished in the earthquakes, the families of climbing Sherpas and base camp staff on expeditions do have some financial support if all is lost and it is organisations like the Juniper Fund that are there to back them up. This segues well with our Sherpa Future Fund which focuses primarily on the future education of the children with donations to families in dire need when required.
To assist us at Adventure Consultants with administering and managing the Sherpa Future Fund in Nepal, we have contracted a highly skilled man called Chhiring Sonam Sherpa. Chhiring Sonam has previously spent several years working in the USA and has good communication and administrative skills. Over the last couple of months he has been helping us communicate with the families of the Sherpa who died to ensure we are able to understand their needs and to help us
Chhiring Sonam Sherpa working with the SFF
arrange schooling and accommodation for the children. All of Chhiring Sonam’s wages and expenses are being paid in full by AC and not from the SFF.
My first objective in Kathmandu was to meet with the Sherpas who were recovering from injuries. Tenzing Bhote, a Climbing Sherpa at Everest base camp this year, had a badly broken arm that was pinned during a fairly major operation and this will keep him from any employment until next season. The fund is paying his living costs until he can return to work in the spring as well as paying for English lessons.
Kitchen boy Ang Tiley - suffered a serious injury to his right eye that required surgery and we were fortunate enough to secure one of the world’s most respected eye surgeons to do the operations. Unfortunately full sight has not been restored in that eye but he is fully recovered otherwise and is keen to return to work next season. Ang Tiley is now taking English lessons and is about to embark on cooking training classes that are all paid for by the SFF. The SFF also provided living costs to support him until the beginning of next spring season when he will be returning to continue his work as a kitchen boy/assistant cook with us. Several of the other Sherpas are still requiring physical therapy to help them recover from their injuries and we are in the process of arranging treatment for them.
I also visited the family of another deceased Sherpa whose surviving wife, Yanji, has relocated to Kathmandu with her three children, two of whom are boarding at a Tibetan school in Kathmandu while her youngest child (4) is going to day school there. Prior to this, the family had never been to Kathmandu so it must be a huge culture shock to them to go from a remote village to the cacophony of sensory overload that this city elicits. They have been staying with relatives, but even the most sympathetic relatives feel the impact of an additional two people living in the house and four on weekends. We decided to fund the rental costs for a one room apartment for her and her young daughter so they could have a sense of independence. The SFF has been able to provide this family the opportunity to move forward but the need to provide assistance will continue for quite some time until the children have completed their educations.
I felt it would be advantageous for the wives our deceased Sherpas to have some employment so I paid a visit to an old friend who is now a senior manager at Sherpa Adventure Wear to ask a big favour. Ang Phurba Sherpa agreed to take on those who are interested and able, as trainees at Sherpa Adventure Wear so they can learn a trade. In addition to earning their own income, they would have the social interaction and sense of worth that employment can provide. This opportunity is going to be available for more of our Sherpa families in the future.
The other effects of the earthquake impacted heavily on our Sherpa team with several of them losing their houses completely, while others had lesser damage. To this end we paid out $28,000 between 27 Sherpas with a graded scale of payment relative to the extent of the damage they suffered. For those whose houses were completely destroyed, this amounted to approximately 20% -25% of the rebuild cost so they are still in need of further funds to complete the rebuilds. In some areas the government did make payments for rebuilding, but the $100-$220 they gave is in no way going to cover the $8000-$12,000 a moderate house would cost to build.
So - where to from here?
Our main focus is to ensure the ongoing education of the children along with the well-being of their mothers and we will continue to pursue this through our own contributions and with fundraising. One kind soul has put arrangements in place to sponsor one of the families until the children have completed their educations and I hope to take him to see the family in Nepal next year. If you would be interested in supporting a family, or even a single child, we would happily set this up. We would arrange regular feedback from the student and the school and it is possible you could visit them periodically through their developmental years as they progress through school. Every little bit helps these families move forward. Without us many of them have little hope so it is important at this time that we do not forget that our support will be needed for many years to come.
We will continue to provide information as it comes to hand and next year we can report of the results of those children who have been benefiting from your generosity for the year. I will be returning to Nepal next March and will be visiting the families while I am there so I will report back afterwards.
UPDATE: AUGUST 2015
Dear supporter of the Sherpa Future Fund,
I am sending you an update of the work that has been done as a result of your support to assist the families of the victims of the avalanches on Everest in 2014 and 2015. We are happy to report good progress and it has been comforting to see the children in good schools and learning for a brighter future.
Your generosity has enabled 11 children to further their education, most of whom are at schools in Kathmandu. Contributions from the Sherpa Future Fund have been made to providing support for the poorest people in the village of Khumjung, some of whom have never had access to money. AC Climbing Sirdar, Sange Dorje Sherpa, has delivered cash and food to these people. We are also in the process of arranging support for the Nuns at the Nunnery in Deboche, which we hope we can continue on an ongoing basis.
Sange Dorje distributing funds in Khumjung Village
Kaji Sherpa's damaged house in Solu
Guy Cotter Director, Adventure Consultants
Kilimanjaro 2017 - Cool Morning Walk
Aconcagua 2017 - Celebrating Success
South Pole 2017 - At the South Pole
Vinson 2016 - End of the Line
Carstensz Pyramid 2016 - Bali & Beyond
Island Peak & Khumbu Trek 2016 - Kathmandu
Luxury EBC Trek 2016 - Kathmandu
Cho Oyu 2016 - Farewell
Mera Peak 2016 - Return to Kathmandu
Mustang Trek 2016 - Perfect Weather
Elbrus 2016 - Summit Success!
Everest 2016 - Parting Ways