FRIENDS OF HIMALAYAN CHILDREN

Empowerment through education

"Our volunteer administration ensures nearly 95% of funds raised go directly to supporting disadvantaged children in regional Nepal."

Empowering young women

Sandra's trek to empower the most vulnerable members of regional communities.

TANIA WON

Tania Verbeeck's film about an all-women's trek to Everest Base Camp has won the Sony Film Festival for best documentary.

FRIENDS OF HIMALAYAN CHILDREN

Improving the lives of vulnerable women & children in Nepal.

LENDING A HAND

You can help. Become a member, donor, sponsor or volunteer.

SPONSOR FOR A BETTER FUTURE

Help improve the lives of children through sponsorships.

EMPOWERMENT THROUGH EDUCATION

better access to quality education and training and through community development projects.

FRIENDS OF HIMALAYAN CHILDREN

Friends of Himalayan Children (FHC) is a volunteer-run, humanitarian organisation, working in remote rural communities in the Sindhupalchok region of Nepal and in Kathmandu. Our aim is to improve the lives of vulnerable women and children in Nepal, through better access to quality education and training and through community development projects. We strive to provide empowerment through education.

Upcoming events and news

DONATE THROUGH YOUR WILL

FHC’s motto is ‘Empowerment through education’ and we have ambitious plans to grow the school in Batase and support those who have the aptitude and desire to go onto tertiary education and into professional careers.

With further funding we will be able to provide more support for more children and young adults, especially young girls. More opportunities. More life choices. Stronger, healthier communities.

Leaving a gift in your Will to FHC will help advance our plans to fight child slavery and empower children through education. Whole communities will benifit.

How to donate

FHC now offers tax deductibility

Great news! FHC is now registered with the Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS).

RAWCS is part of Rotary Australia and operates as a bank for entities it considers worthy. We are proud to have been accepted and registered with this service because we can now fund-raise for our big projects and offer donors tax deductible status.

Our immediate plans are to advance the Batase school to accommodate Year 11 and 12 students. Our signature project is a large building to provide teacher accommodation, student facilities, and possible additional classrooms, to be constructed on land donated to the school by FHC Nepal – budget estimates are in the range of $400,000.

Donate now

COMMUNITY SUPPORT – COLLECTION TINS

Thank you to our business friends.

In the last 12 months, FHC collected over $3,200 in valuable donations from business patrons through our collection tins. Our collection tins can be found on counters in many participating businesses throughout Cairns but we are always on the lookout for more.

If you know of a business venue with high pedestrian traffic that may be interested in hosting one of our collection tins, let us know.

Contact us

Your rubbish for charity – QLD

Within the last financial year, over $21,500 was raised for FHC through recycling. Our members work hard to collect recyclables from neighbours and businesses, and cash them in (10c each) through Queensland’s ‘Containers for Change‘ scheme. You can too.

FHC’s code at the deposit depots is C10010512.

By using this code, the money goes straight to FHC.

OR you could encourage your neighbours to contribute by promoting the cause through a letter drop. We can design a flyer customised for you. Contact us for further information.

Contact us

Recent News

Image of the front cover of Himalayan Dreams

Himalayan dreams come true

Kirsty writes “Even as a youngster, Som always needed to find a way to occupy himself. He was not one to sit around idly passing the hours. It was as though he knew there was always work to do to make a situation better.” Som Tamang, founder of the Friends ...read more

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photo of Gyalmu Tamang and Malinda Trehearn

Heart-felt visit to Batase Village – Malindi Trehearn

In 2023 Malindi Trehearn and her friend Sarah traveled to Nepal and visited Batase village, where they spent time with the FHC Hostel children. Malindi shares her story. “The time spent in Batase village is something that I am sure Sarah and I will always hold very close to the ...read more

Read More
image of land moving

FHC can now offer tax deductibility through RAWCS

Great news! FHC is now registered with the Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS). RAWCS is part of Rotary Australia and operates as a bank for entities it considers worthy. We are proud to have been accepted and registered with this service because we can now fund-raise for our big ...read more

Read More

Thoughts from our Volunteers

We were all impressed and moved by how we were accepted by the Batase community. The school treated us like royalty throughout our time there. Not only were we invited to any community event that was happening, we were also given special status. At the end of our time at the school we were given a moving and respectful sendoff. We felt that the school really appreciated our efforts and it's easy to see how much the community values the education of their children. It was a pleasure to be part of, even for just a while.

Angus McColl

Volunteering in Batase village has been a highlight for each of us. Being able to work so closely with the villagers to provide positive learning and living experiences for the young children, particularly after the devastating 2015 earthquake, has been invaluable. Take on Nepal also gave us an opportunity to hike to Everest Base Camp. Our tour guides, Mane and Bir were absolutely incredible, providing us with support throughout the 2 week trek. We cannot fault their continued support, hospitality and flexibility during this time. Their willingness to share with us the local culture and language is a testament to the pride they both have for Nepal. They were definitely our Himalayan Heroes.

Nicole & Troy

This program is authentic and real. I experienced Nepalese life on different levels than I would have with any other volunteer organisation or tourist group. The village is really special and though the trek is hard at times it is worth the journey and a must if you want to gain an understanding into village life. The children have stayed in my mind long after I have left and I am already making plans to go back.

Jaz Anderson

As a university student completing a Bachelor of Primary Education, I found the opportunity to teach at a local school in rural Nepal to be extremely rewarding, valuable and eye-opening. It presented me with diverse challenges and experiences to what I have experienced previously in classroom settings. I feel that this experience has pushed me to become not only a better teacher, but a better person by finding ways to connect to the students in my classes in spite of the language barrier. ... I highly recommend it – it is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime!

Brielle Spicer

Take on Nepal along with Friends of Himalayan children are incredible organisations and I could not have enjoyed my experience enough. My time in Batase was some thing I’ll never forget. I enjoyed everyday whether it was trying to get warm in the sun to playing with the hostel children and teaching at the Village school. We got a view into Nepali life watching and getting involved with the hostel children’s chores and eating the best food that Norbu cooked for us. From the beginning to the end of the 21 day program we had a wonderful guide named Sandip. He was informative, confident and always happy to help. Sandip taught me and my group a lot about Nepal’s rich culture, the different religions and all the different fauna and flora of Nepal. It was also a privilege to meet such strong, smart young women who worked as our porters and training guides.

Savannah Norton

It was such a joy to teach the children of the school, as they were always eager to learn. The community of Batase was so welcoming to me and all of my fellow volunteers, and it really felt like a family from day one. I would highly recommend this program as it is truly empowering and all around a wonderful experience.

Megan Jagolinzer

BATASE SCHOOL

The Batase School opened in 1985 offering classes to Grade 3. To study further, children would need to make a 6-hour round trip, on foot, down to Talamarang. One of the earliest priorities of the FHC was to expand the capabilities of the local school in Batase, so children could live with their families while getting an education. Land was purchased, classrooms built, teachers employed and soon Batase school was offering classes to Grade 8. A local hostel so that children from other remote villages could also go to Batase’s school without the long walk at each end of their day (more on the Batase Hostel below). FHC scholarships are offered to children whose families can not pay school fees and hostel costs.

When Som (the founder of FHC) had demonstrated to the government that the school was indeed viable, FHC was able to pull back from the level of support it provided. Funds were then directed to further expanding the school to offer classes to Grade 10. The school had just welcomed its first Grade 10 students when the earthquake of April 2015 demolished the school and the hostel.

To get the school up and running quickly, temporary classrooms were erected from timber and corrugated iron. The floors were bare dirt. Volunteers were (an still are) encouraged and welcome to spend time at the school, interacting with the children and taking classes where appropriate, to provide valuable native-speaker English-language practice and a link with the world beyond Nepal.

A new school has been constructed through a joint effort between the Nepalese government and Caratas (a global, christian-based charity) on the same site as the old. Further improvements have been added since. The school is now self-reliant on electricity through the generous donation and installation of solar panels, thanks to Dr Morgan Kiani. Computers are now part of the curriculum thanks to Rotary Club of Cairns Sunshine and Rotary International. And there is more to come.

The FHC’s capacity to offer educational scholarships and provide for the needs of hostel children relies on the generous support of donors and sponsors, as well as the positive involvement of families and community. Ninety-five per cent of donations received by this volunteer-run charity are spent directly on these core priorities. Thank you for helping us create a better future for our children.

BATASE HOSTEL

Batase Hostel provides a safe and caring environment for 46 disadvantaged children (March, 2020). Its mission is to ensure the children are educated and given choices about what direction their future will take. In many cases, the children come from remote villages and being able to stay at the hostel makes going to school possible. Others lost one or both parents in the 2015 earthquake and home circumstances are so difficult, that education is not a priority. In some cases, FHC has been alerted to the discovery of siblings effectively abandoned and fending for themselves in the family home. Some children have been rescued from dysfunctional families, when their safety was in question. Where possible, children maintain strong connections with their families. For the children from remote villages there is always the opportunity for home visits, especially during school holidays. Some others have their siblings with them.

Visitors to the hostel are always impressed by its happy, family-style environment. The children are accustomed to hostel visitors and, in turn, welcome them, include them in activities and enjoy attention from them. Interaction with native speakers of English – through help with their homework or participation in activities – is of great value to the children; and interaction with the children enhances the cultural awareness of the visitors. A hostel manager oversees the running of the hostel and a carer stays overnight with the children and supervises their schedule. A team of local women cook for the children.

When the original hostel was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake, the children were housed in crisis accommodation in Batase; a tin shed offering minimal protection from the elements. The current hostel was built, as a priority, thanks to the generous response of donors. It opened its doors in July 2017. The children and the villagers of Batase, gratefully acknowledge the reliable support of FHC in helping them move forward.

BATASE LIBRARY

A recent coup for the villages of the region was the construction of a 21st century library in Batase, which opened on 25 December 2018. This was the culmination of a major fundraising project, which was initiated in early 2018 by Christina Lee, who trained with Libraries Without Borders, in Paris. Christina had previously visited Batase Village and volunteered. After her training in Paris, she was inspired to introduce their Koombook digital library system to Batase.

The Koombook tool allows access to information and learning, in even the most remote locations without Internet. Compact and portable, it can be solar powered and provides a WIFI hotspot. Around 500 donors from 14 countries raised over $20,000 for the completion of a library facility, to house the Koombook and provide a learning and training space for Batase and surrounding villages.

When it opened, Batase Library had over 1,000 physical books and provided access to 45,000 Ebooks. Its furniture was made in Melamchi and Kathmandu. The library has comfortable sofas, study tables, reading cushions, bookcases plus secure cabinets that store the KoomBook and tablets. While the challenge was huge, Christina Lee would do it again. “When this project became too difficult for me, I always would imagine the day I walk in to the library and see the children reading books. When I finally saw their eyes twinkling with books in their arms, I knew every challenging day was worth it, and I’d do it all over again,” she said. The FHC is keen to sponsor a librarian, to ensure the library operates optimally moving forward.

© Friends of Himalayan Children 2024

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