As a child working and living in Kathmandu, Som Tamang supported his family back in his home village of Batase. He wanted to know his siblings would receive the education that he was denied. After coming to Australia in 2003, Som continued to support his family. After three years he returned to Nepal and was shocked by the poverty he witnessed - not only on the streets of Kathmandu but also in Batase. Som was compelled to help beyond the support he had been giving his family. He realised that so many village children with potential were leaving Batase to work on the streets of Kathmandu.
In 2007 Som purchased a 17-bedroom hostel in a village called Talamarang. Talamarang is a two and a half hour hour downhill walk from Batase village and a four hour steep walk back. The closest high school to Batase village is in Talamarang and many students, like Som himself, were forced to undertake this gruelling walk to high school each day. Many students gave up school as they were too tired at the end of the day to complete their homework and so fell behind with their studies. Some students would live with local farmers in Talamarang and were forced to work long hours on the farm in exchange for accommodation.
After setting up the hostel and ensuring that all the children were looked after, Som returned to Cairns where he began a university access course. After talking to his peers at the university about his goals, some students started to assist Som to achieve his goal. Friends of Himalayan Children Inc. was founded by a small group of young students who shared Som’s belief in helping others. Som returned to Nepal in 2009 with his wife Susan and after three months in the village, they gained a deeper understanding of the educational needs within the village primary school.
After returning to Cairns, Som gave a presentation at the local library which resulted in a lot of community support. The community could see Som’s drive and passion to help others and the amount of support was overwhelming.
FHC members meet monthly to plan events and decide where money raised is best spent. Som works from a community-based perspective and receives regular feedback from the children and villagers about what support is needed. FHC has a large membership base and is growing very quickly. It hosts volunteers in the village and has significantly increased the number of students living in the orphan’s home. The children are thriving in a safe and caring environment where they are being educated and given choices about what direction their future will take. The FHC committee is dedicated to ensuring that Friends of Himalayan Children Inc. is a professional, accountable organisation that adheres to our mission and goals and works in an inclusive manner to bring about change for Batase village in Nepal.