We’ve made new friends!

Helambu Project has recently met with Vajra Varahi Healthcare director in Nepal and donated 20,000 NPR worth of dental medical supplies. It’s an organization that conducts health camps in remote areas of Nepal and runs a clinic in Chapagaon that co-ordinates delivery of effective low cost and free healthcare to those who need it most.

Vajra Varahi Healthcare was happy to receive the donation and plans to use it on their dental health camp in Ilam.

Thank you to all Helambu Project supporters who made this possible!

Notes on Student Collaboration Project

Few weeks into the project, Nima Sherpa, our Project Coordinator, shares her thoughts and impressions on the Student Collaboration Project so far.

The girl leader is leading the meeting

Helambu Project is partnering with PaxWorks and other organizations in order to empower educators, women and children through a Student Collaboration Project (SCP). The SCP focuses on developing girl’s aged 11-16 leadership and planning skills.

The Student Collaboration Project helps encourage and provide opportunities to girls to develop their leadership skills and implement projects with their peers. Through the SCP, Helambu Project and PaxWorks provide small grants to students who identify what the school or classroom needs most. Then the students decide through consensus which project to implement and report on the process.

In the context of Nepal, people are not used to planning before doing any projects. The SCP helps students to think and realize how important planning is and how it increases their chances of success. Students will have the chance to discover and understand their strengths and weaknesses during the project, helping them with their future projects. SCP provides a golden opportunity to rural students to learn and experience new things that they haven’t thought of or done before.

Writing the report

As part of the project, only girls are allowed to lead the discussions and plan the projects. The girl leaders are happy to be the part of the SCP and very thankful to be given a chance to develop their leadership skills. At first, they were surprised that they were actually going to implement a project. For the girl leaders it was the first time they worked on a project as a leader. The leaders were excited and happy to decide which project to implement with their friends and peers. The girl leaders said that their family and teachers encouraged them to implement the project. Their families think that for this generation going to the school is not enough and students should have the opportunity to learn and experience different things that aren’t taught in school.

It has been an honor working on the project and with the girls. I am happy for the students, especially for the girls, because they have a chance to experience being a leader. It has been fun to work with the girls because they are friendly and are very curious to learn. They have a lot of excitement and a positive attitude towards their work, which in turn has given me the positive energy to work on the project.

Nima Sherpa
Student Collaboration Project Coordinator

International Women’s Day: a day to speak up and out for women’s rights!

Today is International Women’s Day – a chance for all of us to reflect on women’s situation in the world and take a chance to listen to their experiences and voices. Women in Nepal and all across the world are routinely excluded from equal representation, status, and respect and suffer from a range of women and girl specific social, cultural and health problems that rarely receive the attention they deserve. Therefore, Helambu Project would like to take this chance to promote Her Turn – a girl’s education and empowerment program that aims to teach girls the importance of education, empowerment, and equality. Help spread the word about Her Turn by distributing and hanging up this flyer, fundraising, and telling your friends about the importance of the Girl Effect!

Her Turn flyer - click to download

We also want to promote the following resources, documentaries, and NGOs that cover a wide range of women and girl specific issues that we think deserve more attention:

MissRepresentation – a documentary by Jennifer Siebel Newsom that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The film explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.

Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men “Asia now has 163 million females “missing” from its population. Gender imbalance reaches far beyond Asia, affecting Georgia, Eastern Europe, and cities in the U.S. where there are significant immigrant populations. The world, therefore, is becoming increasingly male, and this mismatch is likely to create profound social upheaval.”

www.Her-Turn.org – our girls’ education and empowerment program.

Girl Effect – if you want to end poverty and help the developing world, the best thing you can do is invest time, energy, and funding into adolescent girls. It’s called the Girl Effect, because girls are uniquely capable of investing in their communities and making the world better.

Because I am a Girl – Plan International’s Because I am a Girl initiative is a social movement to unleash the power of girls and women

to claim a brighter future for girls in the developing world. When a girl is educated, nourished and protected, she shares her knowledge and skills with her family and community, and can forever change the future of a nation. It’s that powerful.

First Annual Himalayan Olympics comes to a close!

High jump

The first annual Helambu Himalayan Olympics came to an end last week. Over 200 students from 12 different schools attended a three day sports and games tournament organized by our local partners Helambu Environment and Livelihood Project (HELP) and co-funded by Helambu Project.

Children in rural schools rarely get a chance to meet and compete with students from other schools and the event was a great opportunity for students from different communities to meet and form new friendships. We had near equal participation from boys and girls, and students had a chance to compete in over fifteen events: sack races, javelin, shot put, high jump, long jump, soccer, essay writing competitions, song competitions, speech and debate, chess, badminton, volleyball, tug of war, long and short distance running, and of course football. For many students it was their first chance to play some of the sports and HELP arranged to have some sports celebrities come from Kathmandu and teach the participants some pro-tips. One student after playing his first match of football (soccer) said, “I had only ever seen football in books and pictures, I had never a chance to play it before.”

Events like these are an important part of any child’s education. Not only do sports and games motivate and inspire students, but they also give students a chance to bond with other students across schools and create a sense of camaraderie and school spirit. Perhaps one of the most moving moments of the event was when a young girl who was initially too shy to compete in the sack race because she had never competed in front of so many people before, took home the gold medal in the event. Every school eventually took home a medal in at least one event and by the end students had renewed determination to do even better in next year’ s Olympic


All participating schools also received a set of sports equipment donated by Helambu Project to take home and practice for this and next year’s Olympics, which will surely be an even bigger success.

Special thanks should be given to all of the sponsors and participants of the events. HELP did a wonderful job organization the event, and MondoChallenge Foundation also generously contributed to help cover food for the all of the participants and guests. International Teachers Foundation and Children of the Earth made contributions to the event, which was also covered by Kathmandu’s newspapers and media. 

Congratulations to all the participants and winners!!

High jump

Long jump

The First Himalayan Olympics Approaching!

Himalayan Olympics begins on the February 18th!

An exciting event is just on the horizon – the first annual Himalayan Olympics. Over 15 schools have been invited and over 200 students will be participating in a three day sports and games tournament. Competing teams will be equally composed of both boy and girl participants. They will compete in a range of events that challenge them physically, mentally, and artistically. Events range from soccer and badminton, to chess and speech, to song and dance. Helambu Project has donated sports equipment to all participating schools and prize money for the winning school. The winning team will be able to spend the money on school related events and materials, and all participants will receive certificates for competing.

This is the first regional inter-school event in Helambu and a rarity in Nepal. All the participants are very excited and have been practicing their skills.

Helambu Project is pleased to be partnering with our friends the Helambu Education and Livelihood Project (HELP), a local NGO, and MondoChallenge Foundation, who will be covering food related expenses for the student’s stay. Good luck to all of the contestants!

If you want to contribute, there is still time!

Hit one of our donate buttons and be sure to mention the Himalayan Olympics in the subject line.

Morning exercise at Nakote school

Practicing for the event!

New Supplies for Okhreni and Timbu Schools!

Last December, Helambu Project implemented two Small Grants Program projects. With the generous donation of previous volunteer, Marni Henry, we helped to furnish government schools in Okhreni and Timbu.

Okhreni school building

Marni was HP’ s fir

st volunteer to teach English in Okhreni and was moved to help this ill-equipped school. Upon returning to Australia, Marni raised funds to make this building into a proper classroom. Last month, we returned to Okhreni with metal desks, white boards, board markers/erasers, and books (one for each student).

Bringing all this to Ohkreni was no small task. The buses that go there are generally unreliable and the roads quite rocky. On our way there, we were stuck in a village for a night because the bus could not pass a muddy patch in the road. The next day – unable to find any porters – we waited all afternoon for a truck to come pick us up.

(And in trying to come back to Kathmandu, we were stuck in Okhreni due to a strike!)

New metal frames for desks and benches

Once we reached the school, the students were ecstatic to see the materials we brought.

The students immediately started playing with the desks and drawing pictures on the white boards. At the end of the day, we played some games with the students, and distributed the new books. At first the students were not sure what to with the books; it is not too often that books are given to them at school.

Though soon enough, they began to crowd

together and excitedly sift through their new possessions.

With the funds left over from the Okhreni implementation, we helped to furnish the school in Timbu.

Earlier this year, the Timbu school asked for HP help in purchasing white boards and desks.

Thanks to Marni’s fundraising efforts, we managed to provide 8 metal desk frames, 11 whiteboards, and board markers/erasers.

We look forward to doing similar projects with other Helambu schools!

Testing the new whiteboards!

Markers need to get checked, too!

Okhreni students devouring the new stories

So many new stories and pictures, yay!

HP’s Beau Miller and Danielle Preiss on University of Exeter’s “Think IR” blog

Development projects extending public services and infrastructure in Nepal are good, but doomed if not stemming emigration

and fostering economic prosperity.

To read the whole article, please click here.

Beijing to Bangkok – A cycle tour benefiting the Helambu Project

Jack's Red Arrow

Jack McGee, of San Francisco, California is riding from Beijing, China to Bangkok, Thailand and raising funds for Helambu Project!

Check out his website to read up on his adventures.

He will be volunteering with us in Nepal after recovering from his epic ride.

An EMT, Jack will be building on our recent health care projects, including First Aid training and other related projects.

Show him some support by making a tax-deductible donation to Helambu Project USA today.

Halloween Aerobics!

Haloween Aerobics!

Keep fit instructor Kate Todd led a ‘Halloween special’ fundraising evening for the Helambu

Project on the 25th October.

Kate runs classes in Galston for the local community and allowed her class to turn up in fancy dress in exchange

for a donation to Helambu.

Everyone had a good time, raising £104 on the night.

Thank you!

Exercising for Helambu!

Steve’s Nepal Expedition 2011

Timbu School and the village centre

After arriving in Kathmandu on the 2nd August, I took the bus to Timbu and arrived mid-afternoon on the 3rd of August. Timbu consists of a very small village centre, a small health post and a school which taught classes 0-10 (primary and secondary). Our host family, the Lama family, lived further up-river about a 10 minute walk away. During the next 24 days I worked at the school and within the community.

My main aims were to train the staff in basic/advanced first aid

but I also taught science/health as per the school’s curriculum, taught basic first aid to the students, ran some after school English classes and helped the local health post where necessary. I donated first aid supplies to the school which I brought from the UK (after some difficulty clearing customs). I purchased this equipment from money generated by fundraising and thanks to proceeds from St John Ambulance, Bedworth Round Table and the Arbury Rotary Club.

The Ghangyul Anni Gumba (under-construction)

On the 27th August I left Timbu to reach the Ghangyul Anni Gumba where I spent the next 9 days. The Gumba itself it still being constructed, hopefully to be completed in 1-2 years time.

The nunnery consisted of 16 nuns whose ages ranged from 12/13 to 30+ with most of the nuns being young girls under 16.

Here I also trained the Nuns and the Lama in first aid. I initially also taught English as well as first aid but I found this quite challenging and decided to focus on teaching first aid which, being a practical skill, was far easier to teach. The Lama also took me on a walk to his private meditation room and where we discussed Tibetan herbal medicines, their use, preparation and where they are found (the Langtang region is noted for their abundance).


By the 5th September I was ready to set off to my next destination, Tarkeghyang. Although a relatively large village it was profoundly empty with barely 60 people still living there (it was explained to me that this was a result of the Maoist uprising with many people immigrating to the US). Here I managed to persuade some of the younger generation of villagers to attend first aid training but with the very small local school closed for exams there was little other teaching to be done. Therefore I took this time to assess some of the villager’s health complaints and visit the local medicine man at the Darma Help Self Centre.

Nakote School

From Tarkeghyang I ventured down the valley to Nakote on September 13th. The school in this village was well equipped and the students were well educated; they thoroughly enjoyed my basic first aid training to the students. I also taught the staff, although they were slightly reluctant at first.

I also did some health work where required (primarily when people came to me asking for help).

On the 19th September, Ola and Nima surprised me by arriving at Nakote School.

After swiftly wrapping up my work in Nakote we set off on the 20th September back to Timbu and

set of back to Kathmandu on the 21st.

First Aid Training

Teaching the nuns at Ghangyul

My training was based on the First Aid Manual (currently in its 9th edition, I also donated 2 copies to the school) however I had to make many adjustments/changes: In the UK first aider’s are taught to seek medical attention/ambulance aid for many basic and non life-threatening injuries, a situation which would be quite impractical in the Helambu region. I attempted to teach the staff how to judge the severity of an injury; would it require going to a local health post, would it require going to the nearest hospitals (Kathmandu) or would it heal on its own and what warning signs to watch out for later on. Most of the skills went above and beyond the scope

of the book and what would normally be taught or even practiced in the UK due to the absence of a rapidly acting ambulance and emergency service and the lack of readily accessible professional medical advice. I adapted my teaching to suit the needs of the area and taught more practical skills which could be easily used and adapted to fit many situations (such as casualty handling and transport).

At Ghangyul, the lack of English meant I had to improvise with gestures, pictures and demonstrations. This was a steep learning curve but I felt I succeeded in teaching practical first aid knowledge that the nuns could understand. The training methods I developed here were very beneficial to my teachings later on in my expedition.

Teaching Spinal Injuries at Timbu School

I taught how to do a full head-to-toe survey of a casualty and how to assess any injuries. I taught how to clean and dress wounds and how to support/immobilise fractures. This ranged from simple bandages and slings, to full body immobilisation and casualty transport (including how to make improvised stretchers from local materials). I also put an emphasis on teaching spinal injuries because of how the local people transported goods (via a sling round their head). This included how to immobilise and move a person with a suspected spinal injury, how to correctly use cervical collars (I donated 2 to the school) and how to create an improvising long-board (spinal board) for moving casualties.

I would like to thank Nuneaton St John Ambulance unit for teaching me some skills which have been out of practice for many years but where very useful and applicable to the Helambu region.

I would also like to thank a paramedic friend of mine, Colin Jones, for his advice about teaching many things including spinal injuries.

Teaching students at Timbu School

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