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Exodus has been operating tours in the Himalaya for well over 30 years and for many of us it is one of the most beautiful and welcoming regions on earth. However it is also one of the poorest and, over recent years, has suffered further from an ongoing political crisis that has stalled economic growth and delayed much needed improvements in infrastructure. It is only natural then that we have been keen to give something back, and have invested a great deal of time and effort in several Himalaya projects.
The projects included within this fund are those that have a positive social impact or aid the education infrastructure of the areas we visit. Our focus is on the fair distribution of our donations, which is the reason we have set up this fund. We believe that all of our projects within this fund are as important and necessary as each other, hence we believe they should all benefit from the fair distribution of our donations.
Nava Kiran Orphanage; This orphanage, known as Nava Kiran (or New Light) is situated in Patan, in the Katmandu Valley. It was founded by Savitri Pokrel who, with the help of her son and the local community, looks after between 40-50 orphaned children between the ages of 3 months and 16 years. The old orphanage was run entirely on donations and struggled to look after, clothe, feed and educate all the children.
In 2006 the children moved into the new home that Exodus built for them and we continue supporting the children by sponsoring their school education and vocational courses for the older children. In summer 2008 the whole house had a repaint and in 2009 we are hoping to take the children on an educational visit/holiday to Chitwan. If you are travelling to Nepal and would like to visit the orphanage please ask your leader.
School Sponsorship, Nepal and India: As well as sponsoring the education for the Nava Kiran children we are sponsoring several children in both Nepal and India who either come from very poor families or have lost one or both parents. These children are now all in school either in Kathmandu or in their village. We are updated on their progress regularly and check up at them if they are at school in Kathmandu.
Porter Clothing Bank: At our base in Kathmandu we have a porter clothing bank which offers clients visiting Nepal an opportunity to donate any old clothes, shoes, trekking boots etc, which are no longer wanted. These will be distributed amongst the porters who work for us in Nepal.
Kalika School: We visit this school on our Annapurna in Luxury Trek (Trip code: TNX). The village is situated above the Seti Khola and we have chance to visit the school on the free day at the raft camp. For the past few years groups have been visiting the school and we have bought some land for the school, built 2 toilet blocks and clients in the past have donated money for toilet pans, which one of our groups took up to the school. In 2008 we have helped the school purchase more land so they can build some more classrooms. If you are travelling to Nepal on our Annapurna in Luxury trek you may like to take some pens, books, games or children's clothes for the villagers.
Thulopatel School Project: We visit this school on our Gaurishankar Trek (Trip Code: TNF). In 2004, through donations from our trekkers, we raised money to put water pipes into the village. Sukman, one of our popular sirdars who comes from Thulopatel organised to transport the water pipes, cement and taps to his village and during the summer the villagers laid the pipes. Now all the people in the village have access to fresh water. In 2007 we provided the building materials for 2 new classrooms for the local school. The clients on the Christmas 2007 departure of the Gaurishankar trek had the chance to open the classrooms. In summer 2008 we have provided materials to repair some of the other classrooms and we are now sponsoring a teacher at the school. The objective of this project is to take a committed and effective role in the sustainable development of the village by helping to supply the children with a acceptable school and education.
Markha Valley Project: Ladakh is in the far north of India geographically on the Tibetan Plateau. In theory Ladakh is has minimal rainfall and a desert like climate. Unfortunately in summer 2006 heavy monsoon type rains reached Ladakh and caused devastation in many areas, particularly in the Markha Valley. The whole valley was flooded and many people lost houses, fields and livestock and therefore their whole source of income. A client who trekked with us in 2006 wanted to help in some way and together with Chospel, one of our Ladakh leaders we have identified two families who lost their homes.
In summer 2008 Valerie Parkinson, our Asia Base Manager, visited the Markha Valley and met the women of both families and saw the new homes. The Thinlespa family has built 3 new rooms, 2 of which they will live in and the third they will use for a home stay for tourists. The Pangchecnmo family lost everything in the floods and their new home was half finished. They are building a new home away from the river. We visit this project on the Markha Valley Trek (Trip Code: TGR). In 2009 we hope to help more families rebuild their homes and we will provide Hankar School with wire so they can build a flood barrier for the local school. We also have plans to help a home for the disabled build an all year green house enabling them to be able to grow their own vegetables even in the winter.