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The Himalayan Community Project

The Himalayan Community Project, Nepal & India

The Himalaya is a region very close to our hearts. After all, it’s where it all began for Exodus back in 1974. Our long-standing networks throughout these peaks and valleys means that we can support isolated mountain communities that large aid organisations often can’t reach.

O U R   S T O R Y

For Exodus, our Responsible Tourism grew from humble beginnings rooted in these mountains. It all started with a tiny pot of money and a pot of paint back in the 1980s when legendary Exodus leader, Valerie Parkinson, began visiting the homes and villages of the local folks who were accompanying her on treks in the Himalaya. Valerie’s trusted connections with these local communities led to our very first fundraiser to improve the living conditions of local Nepalese children. This blazed the trail for decades of responsibly led community-based projects, which still, to this day, make Exodus a market-leader in Responsible Tourism.

Our focus in the Himalaya has always been small-scale, practical projects that centre on provisions for basic resources, such as fresh water and sustainable wood supplies, supporting children's educational needs, empowering women, and helping communities preserve or improve their environment whilst giving the maximum possible long-term economic benefit.

O U R   P R O J E C T S   T H E N

Our work began in Braga, in the upper Annapurna region, where we established The Braga Tree Nursery Initiative in the 1980s. This went some way to tackle Nepal’s huge deforestation problem at the time, and to this day, the tree nursery sustains itself. In these simpler times before electricity, Exodus also distributed more than 50 solar cookers across teahouses, monasteries, and hospitals in the Everest region. On our on The Solar Initiative prevented further deforestation in the pursuit of wood used for cooking.

As the decades rolled by, we broadened our scope and began to instigate change in Ladakh in the Indian Himalaya, too. In Thulopatel, where many of our trekking staff live, we installed water pipes and taps, built two classrooms for the local school, provided 139 smokeless stoves, countless winter jackets for school children, and ran a medical camp in the village. In DandaKharka, we facilitated the villages connection to a local hydro power project, by supplying poles for the electric wires.

O U R   P R O J E C T S   N O W  

Thanks to the tremendous generosity of our clients, we continue to support a wide variety of causes in both the Nepalese and Indian Himalaya.

The Café Initiatives, Ladakh, Northern India - In 2014, The Exodus Foundation founded an Eco Cafes in Hankar in the Markha Valley – a popular trekking route in the Himalaya. By 2019, The Exodus Foundation established two more cafes in Pensi and Kaya. These cafes are ran by local women’s groups and were established with the principal aim to empower women in the local area. These cafes not only fuel trekkers in the summer months with locally sourced coffee, food, and safe drinking water, but also provide women in this Himalayan community with an essential means of income. During the heavy snowfall of the winter months in off-peak season, Exodus help local women to be trained in making felted handicrafts so they can then sell to tourists when the trekking season begins again.

The Kyanjin Gompa Initiative, Nepal - In the extremely remote village of Kyanjin gompa, sitting at an altitude of over 4,000m in the upper Langtang Valley, there is a small elderly person’s home. Currently, there are 5 elderly people living here, all of whom tragically lost their families in the devastating 2015 earthquake, leaving many without aid to collect the water and wood necessary to survive in such a hostile climate. Since April 2019, when Exodus established a Sponsor a Granny campaign, The Exodus Foundation has funded a cook and carer to sustain this crucial care within the community. Since then, exceptionally generous and devoted long-time Exodus clients have contributed to the survival of the home, and of the care which sustains it, often taking on incredible feats in their fundraising missions to do so! See our blog entry Unbelievable, Is Not It to find out more.

The HAMWWA Initiative, Nepal - Exodus provides an annual donation to HAMWWA (High Altitude Workers Welfare Association). This pays for the education of 5 children whose parents have died either on expeditions or whilst trekking.

The Study Initiative, Nepal - Since 2020, The Exodus Foundation has provided an annual scholarship for students in the village of Patan, Nepal for further studies.

The Toilet Initiative, Nepal - In Jitpur, Nepal, unsanitary unisex toilets in schools was causing truancy amongst young girls and disrupting their education. Exodus has established a girls-only facility in the school in the remote village of Jitpur to ensure girls can feel comfortable and safe in their environment.

The Ranbirpura Community Hall Initiative, Ladakh, Northern India - Ranbirpura is a small community of 26 families. There is no temple in the village which means the local community are without a space for gatherings and ceremonies. Exodus have funded the building of a new communal space which is nearing its completion.

The Donkey Sanctuary Initiative, Leh, Ladakh, Northern India - In the Himalaya, a working donkey is commonplace. Sadly though, when a mule is no longer able to work through age or injury, they are sometimes neglected. Exodus have sponsored this sanctuary in Leh for five years now. It ensures the animals have a happy and healthy retirement!

Himalayan Community Blogs

Last year, on 12th July 2019, as snow flurries swept over the mighty Taglang La Pass at a breath-taking 5,328m, a gro