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."

URGENT FUNDS REQUIRED

The riverside village of Melamchi near Batase was recently devastated by floods. Please help.

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Nearly 95% of all money donated goes directly to supporting disadvantaged children in Batase Village & surrounds.

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

URGENT funds needed for flooded Melamchi

“It is a heartbreaking time as villages and towns close to my village in Nepal have been devastated by flooding, with loss of lives and thousands of people homeless we urgently need funding to purchase tarps, corrugated iron, rice and medical supplies. All money raised will be going directly towards the cause and we will update you on progress made. FHC really needs your support at this time and appreciate any contribution you are able to make to help the people affected. This disaster requires an immediate and urgent response, there is no safety net for the people affected. Thank you so much for supporting our work in Nepal.”
Som Tamang

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Hostel students, morning run

With Nepal still in lock down and the schools closed, our Hostel children continue their lessons and routines with the help of FHC and Take on Nepal staff. Part of Hostel life is keeping fit and healthy and that means running. Running in Batase means hills and spectacular views. Enjoy this stunning video of the children doing their morning run. The video was produced by Dinesh Tamang.

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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.

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Your rubbish for charity?

Within the last financial year, over $6000 was raised for FHC through recycling. Some of our members worked hard to collect recyclables and cash them in (10c each) through Queensland’s ‘Containers for Change‘ scheme. You can too. Our code at the deposit depots is C10010512.

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.

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Recent News

Rotary grant of $10,000

With the help of a good friend of FHC, Kirsty Nancarrow, the school in Batase has just won a generous grant from Rotary International and Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise to the value of AUD$10,000. The money will go to purchasing computers, improving internet facilities and provide one year of ...read more

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children washing hands

School has reopened in Batase

The school in Batase Village has reopened after a period of shut down because of COVID. Because of COVID there has been an added emphasis on the importance of personal hygiene in keeping healthy and safe. Our hostel students are making the best of it, washing their hands before and ...read more

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heavy machinery clearing land

Work has begun on new school facilities

Recently we talked about Sujan’s (FHC’s manager in Nepal) amazing effort to acquire a grant to the equivalent of $50,000 Australian dollars from the Nepalese Government to add four more classrooms to the school in Batase Village. Then we needed your help to develop the land FHC had set aside ...read more

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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

Batase School used to only offer 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 was another priority, so that children from other remote villages could also go to school, without the long walk at each end of their day. More on 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. Now funds were 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. The Nepalese government and Caratas are jointly funding the re-construction of the school on the same site.

Meanwhile temporary classrooms were erected for the school children. Two long, low buildings made of corrugated iron, with dirt floors, divided into learning spaces. Volunteers 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.

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. 100% of donations received by the 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 2021

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