HDFA Newsletter | May 2017

HDFA General - New board appointments
Ghunsa -  Hostel extension
Upper Indrawati - Project visit
Treks -  Mountains, Schools and Good People & Yangri Peak Trek Oct 2017
Donations - Congratulations April trekkers & End of Financial Year

We hope you enjoy reading about the exciting changes at HDFA, our April trekkers visiting Ghunsa and the great things happening in the Upper Indrawati. Don’t forget to check your diary to see if you can join our next trek in October.

HDFA | New board appointments

From little things, big things grow.

There have been some changes at HDFA and we are really excited! The board recently resolved to increase our fundraising activities to support our expanding activities in Nepal. We started only three years ago with a group of willing people, a desire to implement development projects in a sustainable way and a love for the Nepalese people. A lot has changed in that time and we have learnt an amazing amount, but this has only made us more determined to increase our impact in Nepal.

Throughout the whole journey, one thing has remained important to us and that is that we cannot make decisions for the people we are trying to support. Instead, we must help them to make decisions about their future direction, by walking alongside them and supporting them to learn and grow through development projects that they are engaged in and ultimately, will take ownership of. We have achieved a lot, but there is still plenty to be done.

For the organisation to become sustainable in Australia we must achieve critical mass and to reach that, we must grow in our fundraising activities. To enable this Duncan Chessell has stepped down from the board in the foreseeable future to work in a part-time role as the CEO of HDFA. This is a logical step for the foundation. Duncan is a founding member with a wealth of knowledge and over 20 years experience in Nepal. Duncan will use this to further our development plans and build on new and existing relationships both in Australia and Nepal. As a founding board member and educator in Australia with a passion for Nepal borne from working and travelling with the people of Nepal and I am honoured to take on the role of Chair of the board and look forward to an active participation. In other changes to the board, Dr Jo Arnold will take the role of Secretary, bringing a strong corporate background to the role, other roles remain unchanged.

From little things, big things will grow and we look forward to sharing this exciting undertaking with you.

Andrew Stace - Chair, HDFA

Ghunsa | Hostel extension

Further school closures at Gyabla, Yangma, Olongchangola in the upper Kanchenjunga region (Eastern Nepal) and lack of schools in other villages (Amjilassa, Lamitar) has seen further pressure on the Ghunsa hostel to accommodate more children. The current hostel of 20 beds will be extended with a second storey, reusing the same roof materials, to accommodate 45 children. The school at Ghunsa has made significant improvements in teaching quality, largely due to better oversight and governance by the new School Management Committee (SMC) over the last 12 months.

Construction has commenced for this extension and is due for completion by the end of July 2017.

Upper Indrawati | Project visit

After visiting the Upper Indrawati Valley in January, where we supported the establishment of two outreach health clinics and employed a development officer in partnership with PHASE Nepal, we have been amazed at the volume of work that the wonderful medical staff have already undertaken. In just the first 18 days they examined and counselled 384 patients! The average cost per consult including medication and treatment is ~A$4 (yes only four dollars!) Many of the patients would not have been able to seek assistance due to the remoteness of their homes from medical facilities without the establishment of the Outreach Clinics. In wonderful news, these numbers included the birth of two babies.

We will continue to update you on this exciting project as we spend more time listening and learning from the people living there about how best we can sustainably support them into the future. Board member Chris Miller, and HDFA donor and member Charlie Wood, visited the area last week (May 2017) with Duncan Chessell (CEO) and development officer Sourab Chand to get a better appreciation for the region, spatial distribution of facilities and difficulties faced. They met children herding goats instead of attending school, observed a widespread rebuilding of private homes in progress and experienced first hand how steep the hills are between locations! Many children were seen walking for up to 2 hours (each way) to school in groups from small villages dotted amongst the steep hillsides. Many homes still lie in ruins from the 2015 earthquake, and some villages have been abandoned completely in the upper (steeper) valleys. It is a long tough road for the people of this area, to fully recover from the affects of the earthquake.

View more photo's of this visit

Treks | Mountains, Schools and Good People

Our April heli-trekking group has returned to Australia full of great stories, having had an amazing time visiting Nepal. They trekked to Kanchenjunga Base Camp (5200m), visiting our projects in Ghunsa and learning more about what we are doing in the region to support the local people. As well as this they were treated to a once in a lifetime flight over the Everest (Khumbu) Valley, including passing right over a very busy basecamp on the way back to Kathmandu.

Valerie Harold was one of the trekkers, who also volunteered at the Ghunsa School in April. As an ex-deputy head of an Australian school, Valerie focused on aspects of school management with the headmaster and SMC as well as providing valuable feedback on overall school performance. Thanks Valerie for your valuable contribution and time.  

"I was so excited in Amjilasa, a village on the trek to Ghunsa, to meet Phulmaya Sherpa and Dorje Sherpa. Their children are living in the Hostel at Ghunsa, and attending the school.  They were so thrilled to meet all of us and say thankyou for the support that HDFA gives to their children.  I was then especially pleased to be able to get to know their children and work with them (see photo). I have also included a photo of Kim and me handing over a traditional Tibetan instrument which we purchased and donated to the school.  Nima, the Cultural teacher is holding it.  Others in the photo are (from left) Himali (Chairperson of the Council), Sangay (The English and Tibetan language teacher), and Duncan (HDFA CEO). Himali had travelled to Tibet last year, where he purchased the beautifully decorated instrument.  We were very fortunate to be able to buy it from him so that it could be used at the school. The school, through the guidance of Nima, has established a very strong Cultural program of songs and dances.  As a Drama and Performing Arts specialist myself, this is very dear to my heart, we were thrilled to be able to strengthen the program at the Ghunsa school.”  - Valerie Harrold

We look forward to sharing more stories of their adventures in our next newsletter.

Treks | Yangri Peak Trek October 2017

Visit Nepal and support HDFA

Our next trek to Nepal will be in October; book your spot now and get organised. This is a 12 day introductory level trekking holiday in the Nepal Himalaya, 8 days trekking, 2 days sightseeing/touring. Suitable for first-time trekkers and children over ten years old.

More info or to book

Donations | Congratulations April trekkers

Congratulations to the April 2017 Trekkers team, collectively they raised ~$8000 to support the Ghunsa School and Hostel.

This $8000 will provide support for 30 children at the hostel for one year who otherwise would not be able to attend school. Thanks for helping give these children a better start in life.

Donations | End of Financial Year

It is that time of the year again. Businesses and individuals are looking to donate to their favourite charities as an effective way to reduce their taxable income. 

WHY donate to the HDFA

With the equivalent of only one full time employee and a virtual office; we are small but our impact is huge. Our limited administrative expenses are usually covered by fundraising events which allows us to distribute ~90% of donations and proceeds to the projects in Nepal. Your money goes to development work in remote communities. We financially support health posts, education programs and help create economic opportunities, so you are creating a sustainable communities for the years to come. Many of our projects are 3 or 6 year commitments and ensuring funding security is something you can help us with. It will assist us greatly for planning and long term strategy to receive recurring donations on either a monthly or annual basis.

We appreciate your generosity and we do not want to be greedy but just ponder the below statement and consider how much of difference you are looking to make in the community.

"Whether you have a few dollars, hundreds or thousands to give away, end of financial year giving should not just be a one-hit wonder.  Sustainable giving is the key to societal change. The end of the financial year is a good time to think about how much money you’re going to give away, and where you want that money to go. Please think carefully about the organisations you support and why. These organisations should be able to make your money go as far as possible." - Perpetual

Donate now

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