Nijita, is one of five siblings who live at the hostel in Batase, having been effectively abandoned by their parents.
Improving the lives of vulnerable women & children in Nepal.
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Help improve the lives of children & teachers, through sponsorship.
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Friends of Himalayan Children (FHC) is a humanitarian organisation, working in remote rural communities in the Sindhupalchok region of Nepal and in Kathmandu. Its 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.
The FHC was founded by Som Tamang in 2007. The mission is to provide improvement and opportunities for the vulnerable members of small communities, in the Sindhupalchok region of Nepal and in Kathmandu. The attainment of this mission is ongoing, with operations and programs continuing to expand with the ever-changing scope and capacity of the FHC, its passionate members, supporters and volunteers, and need in communities. Much has already been achieved. We continue to strive for ever more.More Info
The FHC is able to do its work because of the reliable and invaluable support of its members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. If you feel moved to help the FHC continue its life-changing work in Nepal, then there are many ways you can assist. From making a one-off or regular donation, becoming a member and/or assisting and contributing to our many fundraising events and efforts. If you are interested in our work and can help in any way, please consider joining us. You can make change happen.More Info
Sponsorship is one way to connect with community and make real change to the lives of individuals. For just $30 per month (to year 10) or $50 per month (beyond year 11), you can guarantee a child a place in school and the support needed to help that child succeed. Why is this help so essential? In rural communities such as Batase, most families are engaged in subsistence farming. They rely on their children’s help, which is sometimes at the expense of education. The FHC wants to help break this cycle. You can help.More Info
The FHC is pleased to keep its supporters up to date with all the latest news. From fundraising events and opportunities, being held in Cairns, around Australia and the world, to success and initiatives taking place in the communities we support in Nepal. When you engage with the FHC, you can be confident you are helping to make real change, to real people in need. They are truly thankful for your support, as are we. So stay up to date with our latest news and see what’s happening with the FHC.More Info
We were all impressed and moved by how we were accepted by the community. The school treated us like royalty throughout our time there. We were not only invited to any community event that was happening, but 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. Our welcome at the start was the same.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 provides a safe and caring environment for 46 disadvantaged children (January, 2019). 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.
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.
Another exciting development in Batase has been the growth of employment pathways for the youth of the area. By starting up the company Take On Nepal, which offers tour, trekking and volunteer services, Som and his wife Susan are able to offer young people training and employment opportunities in Nepal’s growing tourism industry. The charity benefits from its close relationship with the commercial venture, as staff paid by Take On Nepal fill important roles on the ground in Batase for FHC.
The FHC’s volunteer program continues to contribute to the English language development of the school community, the well-being of hostel residents and the progress of community development projects. Visits to Batase village can be arranged through Take On Nepal, who will arrange guides for the two-day walk from Kathmandu or a driver for the 5-hour road trip.
© Friends of Himalayan Children 2019