A devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, 2015, killing more 8,000 people. A second earthquake (7.3 magnitude) struck the Mt. Everest region of Nepal on May 12th. Its epicenter was only a day’s walk from the village of Lukla.
This project will rebuild and expand the damaged structures of the Himalayan English Boarding School (HEBS), which was destroyed in the May earthquake. HEBS was built in a partnership inspired by Dawa Geljen Sherpa and local people. As soon as it opened, students from all over the Everest region of Nepal came to learn, some from villages over a 3-day walk away. The non-profit, private, English-language school had the highest levels of academic excellence, and was beginning to stem the tide of language and cultural extinction among the Sherpa (and the other Tibetan peoples) of the high-Himalayan region.
In rural Nepal, parents want their children to attend an English-language school so that they will have the option to continue on to higher education, which is always taught in English. HEBS provided that, along with a curriculum enabling the children to retain and practice their native languages and customs.
Before HEBS was built, these families would spend every penny they could raise to send their children away to expensive private boarding schools in Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu. As a result of being so far from their homes, the children (some as young as 4 years old) quickly lost their native language and customs, and became estranged from their parents and extended families.
HEBS was a new model for international development everywhere, until the earthquake destroyed it.
This school is in a region where without education, the only option for most children is to become subsistence farmers or high-altitude porters, carrying backbreaking loads at high altitude, and risking their lives on dangerous mountaineering expeditions. Rebuilding the school is of the utmost importance. This will give these students the futures they deserve.
While most of the HEBS students were traumatized and returned home after the earthquake, some had nowhere to go. Today, Dawa is feeding, housing, and educating 22 children in his mother’s home in Lukla.
Our project will rebuild the school with earthquake-resistant buildings, provide food and living accommodations for the children that remain in Dawa’s care, and be a model for the rest of Nepal (and all developing nations) on how to create a self-sustaining non-profit school that preserves local languages and customs.
Not only does education give the children hope, but it ensures children remain in the Everest region, immersed in their local cultures and traditions.
Since this institution is off the radar of the international aid organizations helping with Nepal earthquake relief, SherpaCares (along with the partners listed below) is taking on the challenge of rebuilding and expanding the school.
The rebuilt school will be earthquake-resistant and able to accommodate over 300 children.
Help us build and develop the classrooms damaged by the earthquake and expand the school to provide education for the Sherpa (as well as other ethnic groups) children in this region.
The new HEBS school will be dedicated to the memory of the late Scott Fischer.
Additional details can be found on the HEBS FAQ.
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