Health Camp May 2011

The team

Helambu Project held it’s third and biggest Health Camp trek in May with Dr Mike Steven and nurse Pearl Wight returning to the region with a supporting tram of translators and porters. They were also joined by Australian nurse Greg Allen and a ‘pharmacy team’ of Chris Libmurg and Sarah Steven who helped to organise and distribute the medicine.

During their 9 day day trek they assessed and treated over 350 patients at the camps which took place in the villages, schools and retreat centres throughout the region.

Outwith the clinics they also undertook home visits for those too ill to travel and saw people ad-hoc whilst trekking.

Waiting in line


We held our clinics in the newly constructed primary school which sits around a mile below the Tarkegyang village. We held three clinics over a 2 day period at the school itself and an additional clinic in the community hall at Tarkeyang for the elderly villagers too frail to make the journey downhill. Overall 120 patients were seen with ages ranging from infants to the elderly. With large numbers of people to see, we developed a triage system whereby the villagers would document their personal details and symptoms to a translator following which they’d be directed towards the appropriate medic. If the consultation led to a prescription, they’d see our makeshift pharmacy for the medication. We were careful to give both written and verbal instructions when necessary and the patients were all encouraged to ask questions.

At Help Self Dharma Group Centre

One the morning of the second day we walked up to Help Self Dharma Group Centre, a Buddhist retreat run by Meme Urgyen where we held an open clinic. Dr Mike was also allowed into the residential compound itself to see those individuals who were currently in isolation. This visit was particularly well received as several with ongoing conditions were able to access treatment they would otherwise have done without.

Gangkharka School

After a morning walk up to the foot of Ami Yangri, we stopped for a few hours at the mon astery and retreat

as the guests of Sangye Sherpa. We visited two retreat compounds and held impromptu clinics in the small entrance rooms to the buildings, treating several young students in each. The clinics also offered shelter from the early Monsoon downpours we’d been growing used to since our arrival!

After saying goodbye we descended down to Gangkharka village and Pasang Memorial Community school where we would hold clinics over the next two days. On the first day we did routine health checks on around 60 children who had arrived early for the new school term and focused on the wider adult community on day two. Since our last camp 18 months before, it was impressive to see that each child had their own medical folders which documented any ailments they had experienced and what, if any treatment had been given. It was also encouraging to see that the children were in better health and that various infections and skin conditions were under better control. We’d like to pass on our gratitude to the teachers and volunteers for their help in making this progress.

Yangri village

Another walk downhill to the village of Yangri where we set up the clinic shortly after arriving and held a busy clinic throughout the rest of the day and into the evening, seeing villagers and patients from the surrounding area.

We were also paid a visit from the pupils from the newly refurbished Yangri Community School, seeing around 90 people during our overnight stop.

Balgoan village

A brisk early morning walk uphill to the village of Balgoan where were held a bustling open air clinic in the centre of town.

In the hot summer sun we saw around 80 villagers including the pupils of Balgoan school who arrived en masse at midday. The central location offered little privacy at times but the villagers were unfazed and were more than happy to help each other out! Apart from some sunburn, our final clinic was as successful as the very first.

We left later in the day for a final stop at Baruwa before returning to Kathmandu.

As ever, the hospitality of the people we met was overwhelming and we’d like to thank the community for their kindness and support during our stay. None of this would be possible without Nima Sherpa, Helambu Project’s Field Coordinator in Nepal who organised and led the project. We’d also like to thank our translating team of Tsering, Norbu and Sangye, Pema for the fantastic cooking and the team of porters. Special thanks goes to Aga S?odownik, who raised money towards the medication costs.

As well us holding the clinics, the trek gave us renewed insight into the problems resulting from the lack of any health provision in the area. However, it also provided ideas on how improvements could be made, particularly with regard to developing a more permanent health service for the area. We held discussions with key community figures regarding these issues and plan to update you as things develop.

Donation from Banchory Primary Pupil Charity Committee

Banchory Primary Pupil Charity Committee is made up of children from each of the seven school years.

Supported by the teachers, their role is to help co-ordinate the fundra

ising within the school and make decisions on how it should be used.

Helambu Project have been very grateful for their support over the years.

Since 2008 the pupils have helped raise almost £2500 pounds ($4000 dollars).

Penpal letters from Nepal

M adeleine Leech

and Dr Mike paid a visit to the children of Banchory Primary School with a collection of colourful letters from

the pupils of the school in Gangkharka. Madeleine, an English teacher based in Devon, England returned home from Nepal in March after spending 3 months teaching at the school. Banchory Primary has enjoyed strong links with Pasang Memorial school having initially fundraised to help build the school.

Since that time they have contributed several hundred pounds each year towards the school upkeep.

The pupils in Banchory will be busy writing reply letters in the near future so that Dr Mike can take them with him when he heads back over to Helambu in May to undertake his health camp work.

The school also plans to send over warm jumpers and clothing from their lost property collection to help keep their Nepali counterparts

warm at night.

Dressing up for Helambu

The primary 1 children (age 5-6) from Galston primary school raised money for us at Halloween by getting dressed up!

Thanks to Deputy Head Lynsey Watt, the children were given the opportunity to come into school in their scary costumes.

Many thanks to all of the staff, children and parents of Galston Primary School for their brilliant fund raising over the last few years.


Also thanks to Ian Gebbie, a former employ of Diageo who applied to the company for a donation of £100.

Poland keeps rocking!

November 2009 Health Camp

Agnieszka, our volunteer who visited the school

back in 2009 and then organized a big fundraiser in Warsaw, didn’t forget Helambu!

Through the sales of posters donated by Polish Twozywo art group, she collected 600 PLN (about 150 EUR) which was recently transfered to Helambu Project.

The funds will go for the Health Camp that we will organize in May 2011.

The Health Camp will visit Gangkharka school and give checkups to all our students, and then will continue to other Helambu villages.

The money will pay for all of the medication and supplies we need for our health camp, with any leftovers being used to re-stock the clinic at the school.

Thank you Agnieszka for your continuing involvement, these funds will go a long way!

If you are interested in participating in the May 2011 Health Camp, please contact us at If you are interested in helping out by raising funds for the medical needs or the school, please also contact us!

Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible.

With th is Dalai Lama quote, our volunteer Rachel

is raising funds for the school.

Please support her here: We are so grateful for our awe

some volunteers.

We couldn’t do it w

ithout you!

German flea market sale!

After researching Helambu Project from surfing the internet, German couple Ina and Dave Booker traveled to Gangkarka with their young children in September 2009.

Whilst living in the community the family contributed to various health and educational activities during their several month stay.

On their return in May 2010 Ina and Dave decided to have a clear out of boxes they’d held in storage whilst abroad, which they then sold at a local flea market.

This sale, together with funds they raised by holding a slideshow evening, raised at total of 980 Euros. On behalf of all at Helambu Project we’d like to thank the Booker family for

their ongoing support.

A blog of their experience can be found at

Bright Lights through Santa’s Windows

New skylight

While the children at our school don’t celebrate Christmas, they still got a great surprise thanks to a wonderful Polish volunteer, Wojtek Szymczak. After volunteering at the school as a teacher, Wojtek wanted to improve our students’ experience by installing skylights in classrooms and dormitories. Classrooms can often get dark, which makes it difficult for students to do their homework in the evening.

Until there is enough funds for the hydro electrical project, students will not have to make do with darker classrooms and dormitories.

Wojtek raised 620 pounds in order to install new skylights and windows in the school.

Thanks to him, the tin roofing was removed and replaced with clear translucent sheeting that allows for much more natural light – he only had to run a marathon to do it!

Wojtek ran in the Athens Marathon in October and asked for sponsors to support him over his 42 km (26 miles) journey. The windows were installed last week just in time for the holiday season and the dark winter months.

Thank you Wojtek and to all those who sponsored his amazing accomplishment.

Merry Christmas to all from the roof of the world.

Secret Christmas raises UK funds

Banchory Primary School continue their support for the Helambu Project

The pupils at Banchory Primary School in North East Scotland raised a further £231 for the Helumbu project by doing some shopping at the school Secret Christmas room, organized by the PTA.

Each pupil was asked to donate £1.00 and a Christmas gift and subsequently buy a secret

gift for a friend or family member.

Banchory Primary Pupils are delighted that the funds raised from the Secret Christmas room will continue to assist the Helumbu Project which they enjoy strong links with and share learning experiences.

Banchory Primary has raised over £3000 ($4500) in the last couple of years with fundraising activities such as coffee mornings, raffles, calendar sales and special assemblies.

In November 2009 they presented their Nepalese counterparts with an embroidered banner and exchanged pen pal letters from the children.

Thanks to the support of their deputy headmistress Lynn Service, Banchory Primary aim to be committed to the Helambu Project for many years to come.

Marathon completed!

Wojtek at the marathon

Our volunteer Wojtek Szymczak just completed the Athens Marathon during which he was also raising funds for windows at Gangkharka school.

He planned to finish the race below 3:30. His time was 3:19:59 – bravo!

This is what he says: “During all 42km of the race I was looking forward to the finish line at the olympic stadium.

But more importantly, I was looking for the grand finale of my motivation for running

the marathon – raising funds for new windows in the school – which took me through the long weeks of training and looking for sponsors.

Now, having completed my part, I can’t wait to see the Windows 2011 project being completed – ahead of schedule!”.

The Windows 2011 project is on its way and we will make sure to post some photos after its completion.

Thank you Wojtek for all your hard work!

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