Sponsor: Sherpa Performance Guides
Project Cost: $100 per month for 5 years
Kul Bahadur Rai earned a paltry wage as a trekking and expedition porter, laboring with hundreds of pounds on his back through the harsh, high altitudes of the Himalayas. One particular expedition would prove to be his last. Poorly equipped by the company organizing the trek, Kul carried out his duties, but suffered frostbite so severe he had all 10 toes amputated. Hobbling through the streets of Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, Kul — an uneducated former porter far from his family — had hit bottom. He had no work. He could barely walk.
SherpaCares co-founder Mike Salomon heard about Kul after watching Carrying the Burden, a prize-winning documentary from the BBC. Kul was featured in the film, and despite the movie’s success at film festivals worldwide, the disabled porter was left abandoned, struggling to support his family.
Sherpa Performance Guides stepped in. The San Diego based executive performance management company offered a $100-per-month sponsorship to assist Kul. This allowed Kul to bring his family to be with him in Kathmandu; his daughters were able to enroll in school. Kul, as part of the sponsorship, also worked in the office of a local aid group in Kathmandu.
This partnership between the sponsor and Kul served as a noteworthy example. Five years later, Sherpa Performance Guides & Carl Heaton started the Disabled Porter Co-Op Project for Kul and future injured and disabled porters, providing equipment and training to establish sustainable ways of supporting themselves and their families.