Hi.....my name is Sally Hunsdorfer and I am the Director of The Himalayan Project, a non profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the indigenous people of the Himalayas through education, community development and social outreach. Fifteen years ago my husband and I left behind two businesses and pulled our two teenage boys out of school for a year and backpacked around the world. We wanted to “educate” them specifically about the beauty and diversity in our world without being afraid of it. Nepal's incredible physical beauty in the Himalayas is staggering, immediately dwarfing anything on the human scale and making one wonder how man could ever have blown his importance so out of proportion. There is a rhythmic, pulsating and sensual quality to this ancient landscape and culture that in spite of its incredible harshness can still present a sweet tenderness and vulnerability if only one takes the time to scratch the surface.
The Himalayan Project has been helping to raise critical support for the development and expansion of the only school in the Mt Everest region to go through Grade 12. The school, founded by Sir Edmund Hillary 60 years ago after his famous ascent of Mt Everest, was meant to originally service 30 village children. Now, decades later, about 400 children attend school daily, sometimes trekking up to 3-4 hours each way to class. So far, The Himalayan Project has raised funds to add Grades 11 and 12 to the school program, built extra classroom buildings and hired trained teachers from the Kathmandu Valley, built a school “auditorium” to house the student body under one roof during inclement weather in the winter snows and monsoon summer rains, built a library that is stocked with books in Nepali, Tibetan and English, renovated a “cafeteria” for boarding students who live more than a 5 hour walk away from the school, built a greenhouse to provide for fresh vegetables year round, and initiated a scholarship fund for village children whose families cannot afford the $10-$12 a month that it costs to send a child to school.
Now The Himalayan Project is initiating this campaign on Indiegogo to construct a Cultural Center at the school. Education is empowerment, education is nurturing in the face of neglect, education is an exploration and a yearning for knowledge and in this case sharing a common desire to preserve an ancient culture where students can engage in real life issues and learn to question, think critically and find solutions to enhance life in these mountain villages of the high Himalaya, while AT THE SAME TIME creating an atmosphere where Sherpa heritage is known and valued, where the environment is honored and where teachers understand that each student has a vast and unique potential.
The Sherpa community of Nepal has a very rich story to tell the world and is an important part of the individual fabric that makes up the wonderful diversity in the world. The Sherpa culture has the key to many jewels of Tibetan wisdom and ritual and ultimately you could be accepting the mantel of responsibility to help the survival of these traditions for generations to come. Ultimately, The Himalayan Project needs to raise $65,000 for this dream of a Sherpa Cultural Center, but the first $10,000 that we hope to raise through Indiegogo will go towards the purchase of building materials and also to cover the immense freight and transportation costs that will be incurred to fly these materials to a mountain airstrip where they will be met by porters who will carry everything to the building site an hour away. The Sherpa Cultural Center will be a two story building that will house classrooms, a performance hall, a kitchen and a small museum displaying artifacts of the Sherpa history. Specific classes will be taught highlighting Sherpa culture through dance, song, storytelling and language.
Thank you so much for your consideration and look to see if any of our perks appeal to you. I promise you that many generations of Sherpa children will enjoy the fruits of your generosity!!!!