Nepal Update: Solukhumbu trek report

As you’ll have seen from Val’s Nepal: May 2016 Report her Spring season included a 3 week trek through Solukhumbu checking/distributing solar lights.  Here’s an account of that trek and LED’s work in Solukhumbu, from Steffi Wood:

I was lucky enough to return to Nepal this spring after 5 years. On my previous trek I had become friends with fellow trekker Mary and encountered Val as our paths crossed in various lodges. Along with Charles we were embarking on a journey which would be very different to that of 2011. For a start this was going to be in tents and therefore more remote than the usual well trodden paths.

Solukhumbu Trek April/May 2016 - Charles, Mary and Steffi

Solukhumbu Trek April/May 2016 – Charles, Mary and Steffi

We acclimatised with a three day trek in from Dhab via Bhulbhule, the 4000m Pikey Peak, Jase Bhanjyang  and Taktor before joining the “main” route from Jiri near Junebesi where we went to visit the school hostel rebuilt by some of Val’s Canadian friends earlier this year.

Junbesi school hostel, rebuilt ("new wood" building with red roof on the left) – LED Solu Khumbu Trek, April/May 2016

Junbesi school hostel, rebuilt (“new wood” building with red roof on the left) – LED Solu Khumbu Trek, April/May 2016

From the first day it became apparent that Val and her team perform an immensely valuable service – we visited isolated homes with no electricity nor, in a lot of cases, running water and where the gift of a solar light was received with extreme gratitude.

Solukhumbu Trek April/May 2016 - Chhiring and Val, with an elderly monk receiving his LED light, Bhulbhule

Solukhumbu Trek April/May 2016 – Chhiring and Val, with an elderly monk receiving his LED light, Bhulbhule

The giving of each light was carefully recorded and in doing so a picture of the families living in each area has been built up to enable more targeted needs to be addressed, such as the health of the elderly population or the donation of much needed warm clothing.

LED solar light distribution, PK Dairy – LED Solu Khumbu Trek, April/May 2016

LED solar light distribution, PK Dairy – LED Solu Khumbu Trek, April/May 2016

We watched as Chirring carefully repaired old light units, many outliving their predicted 5 year life span.

LED solar light repairs, Jase Bhanjyang – LED Solu Khumbu Trek, April/May 2016

LED solar light repairs, Jase Bhanjyang – LED Solu Khumbu Trek, April/May 2016

The middle of our trek took us onto the well trodden path to Everest base camp and the luxury of coffee pastries and free Wifi in Namche Bazaar. Even here in the relative wealth we saw buildings still in a state of collapse after last year’s earthquake.

Earthquake damage - LED Solu Khumbu Trek, April/May 2016

Earthquake damage – LED Solu Khumbu Trek, April/May 2016

Then on again to more remote areas where our only encounters were with the Yak herders, many of them single women, young and old. Here we met elderly couples still living in tents too terrified to sleep indoors. They offered us tea and food although they have little else but potatoes to eat. Their need for the gift of light was self evident and LED’s lights and repairs were received with heartfelt gratitude.

Solukhumbu Trek April/May 2016 - Chhiring explains how to use an LED inflatable solar light

Solukhumbu Trek April/May 2016 – Chhiring explains how to use an LED inflatable solar light

LED solar light checks, Bhote Kosi valley - LED Solu Khumbu Trek, April/May 2016

LED solar light checks, Bhote Kosi valley – LED Solu Khumbu Trek, April/May 2016

We finished our trek with aching legs and aching hearts for these people who have nothing. Over our three weeks we had seen how a donation to LED reaches the people it is intended for. Thanks Val, Mary and Charles for a fantastic and rewarding time, and I hope in the future to see for myself how the charity works in Peru.

More photos from the trek:

Nepal: Health Post Plans

In Val’s Spring Update, you will have seen that we are going to be working with the Nepal Youth Foundation to build a LED health post in Gorkha or Sundalpulchok, funded by Faith Harckham and friends.

In April, Val went with the Nepal Youth Foundation to visit schools in the Sundalpulchok area and to see some of the buildings provided by the Nepal Youth Foundation.

The buildings have concrete fibre walls and then either brick or stone and a metal roof plus steel structures, all bolted to allow movement in tremors (unlike welded pieces). We’ll be using a similar design for the health post.

Big thanks to Lalit from NYF for his immense time and effort on the site visits, and to Riswor and Anjita at the NYF main office in Kathmandu for helping coordinate arrangements and for information on the building design and materials.

Val says “The local staff working with NYF are all so friendly and helpful and a true delight to see in action”.

Here are some photos from Val’s visit:

Nepal: May 2016 Report

Val’s just back from her Spring season in Nepal, which included a 3 week trek through Solukhumbu checking/distributing solar lights, and it’s been a busy time on all LED fronts, 12 months on from the earthquake(s).

Since the earthquake, we’ve:

  • Provided 2000 homes with solar lights
  • Delivered 120 tarps, and all tents sent out from UK are still in use in Gorkha and Sundalpulchok areas, along with all the sleeping bags and blankets sent out with the Believers group, other local organisations that we’ve worked with and Sirdar Chhiring
  • Contributed funds to help with Thame school and Thame health post (Khumbu district)
  • Sent money to help with rebuilding of homes in Dolakha, Nuwakot and Solu districts

Val says, “I need to pass on the massive number of thank you I get, constantly, from everyone in Nepal for all the help provided after the earthquakes.  With frequent tremors occurring, people are still sleeping outside, too frightened to spend the night in their houses.”

Light

  • 123 solar lights were distributed in the Solu / PK area and to yak herders in isolated Khumbu valleys.
  • 120 lights distributed in Dolpo – a sterling effort by Chhiring.
  • 65 lights distributed in Tsum.
  • Where possible existing lights in these areas were checked and repaired/replaced.

Education

School supplies have been sent for Manaslu area (Samdu and Samagaon schools)

With many thanks to Faith Harckham, Anthony, Donna and their friends in Canada, we are rebuilding a school in Gorkha district.

Still in the planning stages, we are hoping that we can do something with earthbag rebuilders for a school in Sundalpulchok – one of the hardest hit areas.

The temporary schools in Nuwakot are still running and were resupplied in April – with many thanks to Phillips Wilson and friends.

Thanks to Ersnt, Al, Sarah and Trevor (again) for their superb help with rebuilding the school hostel in Junbesi – we visited it on the April/May trek and it is looking superb.

Many thanks to Tenzing Lamo and Gelek Rapten for their help and advice and assistance with delivery of school supplies and building materials, and to Gelek for his help in organising the Junbesi hostel project and the on going work there.

Development / Health

Working with Nepal Youth Foundation, we are going to be building a health post in Gorkha. More to follow.

Thank you ….

… to everyone who has donated, helped out with relief and awareness raising and practical support for Val.

A few specific big thank yous go to:

  • Lakpa, Doma, Mingmi, Tenzi, Sonam and all at KK treks for their help this last year wth the distribution and organising of relief materials.
  • Emma Lock from Juniper and the friends and folks who helped with the packing of all the gear sent out via the Gurkha Regiment (York) and Turkish Airlines plus especially Ann Brooks and John Walton, Liam and Sue O’Hallaoran and Dave Greening.
  • Geoff Knight and all his friends and team at HSBC and nephew Codey for his school talks raising awareness about Nepal, the earthquakes and the relief needed.

Photos

Taken on the LED trek in SoluKhumbu in April/May 2016

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Easy Fundraising for LED

LED has registered with easyfundraising.org.uk, which provides an easy way for you to raise money for us as you shop online.

logowallYou don’t pay anything extra, and almost 3000 online retailers are signed up, including Amazon, eBay, Argos, John Lewis and many other familiar high street names and supermarket chains. You can read more about easyfundraising on their website.

When you use Google, you’ll notice that some retailers have the easyfundraising icon next to their listing. This means they are offering a donation when you shop online with them.

Here’s how you can use easyfundraising.org.uk  to raise money for LED

The first thing to do is register on easyfundraising.org.uk. Click on “create an account”, then “I want to support a good cause” and type “Light Education Development” in the box – or use this quicklink – and fill out the form to create your account.

If you are a UK taxpayer, once you’ve created your account please click “Yes” in the gift aid box.

You are now ready to raise money for LED whenever you shop online from one of the participating retailers. Here’s how that works:

1. Start at easyfundraising.org.uk: Let’s say you want to buy a pair of shoes from John Lewis. Instead of going to johnlewis.com, you go to easyfundraising.org.uk first – or you can add the easyfundraising Donation Reminder to your browser (read on for details).

2. Make a purchase: You click from the easyfundraising website through to the John Lewis website to make your purchase. That’s it! The price of the shoes is exactly the same as if you’d visited John Lewis directly.

3. We get a donation: After you have bought your shoes, John Lewis will make a donation to LED as a thank you for shopping with them. easyfundraising collect these donations for us, and it costs nothing.

You can skip steps 1 and 2 by adding the easyfundraising Donation Reminder into your browser. Then, when you go on a participating website to buy something you’ll be prompted to click on the easyfundraising “activate donation” button, and we’ll receive the donation from the purchases you make. (Note that this doesn’t work for Amazon and eBay – you need to go via the easyfundraising website.)

You can also download the easyfundraising app for iPhone, iPad and Android.

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