Over £6,000 raised at this year’s LED Fundraising Weekend

Our Dufton Pike and High Cup Nick fundraising weekend raised well over £6,000, which will be a huge help to LED’s projects in Nepal and Peru, purchasing and distributing new solar lights as well as helping our health centres and local schools.

Thank you to all who supported and/ or came along for a great weekend on 12/13 May and an amazing fundraising effort. We were blessed with great weather and a brilliant time was had by all on the hike over Dufton Pike and High Cup Nick, and at the evening festivities.

Special thanks go to Liam and Sue at www.fellsidecottages.uk in Dufton for hosting the event and all of their organisational support, and wonderful puddings after dinner!

Also a huge shout out for the food and drink in the evening, provided by Helen and Mark Hunt, Denise Brown and the trustees of LED. Jan at the Wakemans House Cafe in Ripon made some excellent scones which we all enjoyed after the walk, and Reunion Ales from Twickenham, West London provided some exceptional ale for the evening.

Thanks again from Val and the LED team for the support through sponsorship, buying raffle tickets, lending organisational help, coming along and making the event so special.

For updates on our projects, fundraising, treks and other activities, follow LED on Facebook/LEDCharity and Twitter/LEDCharity.

Donations always welcome via our LED JustGiving page.

 

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LED Nepal 2018 Report by Ross Gillespie

Leeds University medical student Ross Gillespie has recently returned from spending a month in Nepal, during which he distributed over 40 of LED’s solar powered lights, carried out eye tests and prescribed more than 50 pairs of reading glasses (kindly donated by Dave and Pat Booth) and conducted research interviews with healthcare workers about the primary healthcare system in the rural areas.

Here’s what he has to say about the experience….

Having worked with LED before in the Cordillera Blanca mountains of Peru, I was fortunate to have a second opportunity to work with the organisation, this time heading to the Himalayan foothills of Nepal in April. A combined project (alongside some research with University of Leeds) was the perfect chance to explore some of the more remote villages of the Dolakha region, north east of Kathmandu, as well as trekking through the stunning Gaurishankar Conservation Area.

Myself, Jenny (friend at University), Nima (guide) and Budi (porter) headed to the mountains on a 10 hour bus journey – public buses only for this route which is an experience worth having – and arrived in Singati, raring to go. After storing some extra kit with Nima’s family, we began our trek in the afternoon at Chyotchyot, with a solid two hours of uphill steps, to lead us to Simigaun. From here (approx. 2000masl), we ascended through Dongang, Beding, and Na, along the ‘Classic Rolwaling Valley’ trek through forests, fields and surrounded by brightly coloured flora. Accommodation consisted of small but comfortable guest houses, all hosted by the welcoming locals. The highlight of this first trek would have to be the day-visit to Tsho-rolpa lake and beyond (to approx. 5000masl) and after a little more exploring for another day we headed back down the trail. (In October season there is a pass that can be reached to complete a circuit but this is snowed over in April/May).

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With some extra time on our hands before Jenny moved on to her next destination, we explore more of the spectacular region – and although mostly dry, the heat (up to 30 degrees Celsius) made uphill stretches particularly challenging at times. Another highlight was visiting the women’s monastery in Bigu (great place to stop for your first hot shower in a fortnight) followed by the Hindu temple in Kallnchowk – both with far reaching views of snow peaks and rolling mountain valleys.

After two weeks of dedicated trekking, the real work began. Jenny left for Burma and Nima and I touched base at his parent’s house to draw up a plan. We spent 4-5 days distributing over 40 solar powered lights and prescribing more than 50 pairs of reading glasses (kindly donated by Dave and Pat Booth), in and around the Khare region. I also took the opportunity to teach some English in the local school. Following this, Nima and I took to the trails, walking from village to village to conduct interviews with healthcare workers about the primary healthcare system in the rural areas. Locals were very receptive to our work and appreciated the contribution made by our efforts. Whilst mobile, we did further eye tests though eventually ran out of glasses as we could only carry a limited supply. Whilst unfortunate, it means there is still much to be done.

Another two weeks passed in total before Nima and I headed back to Kathmandu. In addition to the trekking I managed to visit Pokhara, a fantastic tourist town with great food, some western comforts and a great mix of locals and travellers (especially at Busy Bee on a Friday/Saturday night). I also spent three days in Chitwan in and around the national park. At a muggy 38 degrees Celsius it’s a very different climate to the crisp mountain air, but there is lots to see and do. In particular I would recommend staying near Sauraha, and in low-season you can get great deals on Jungle safari tours, motorbike hire, and more.

All in all this was a fantastic trip with a great balance of charitable work, difficult trekking and touristy bits in between. As my first time in Nepal, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent here and will look forward to my next trip to the region. I would like to thank Val Pitkethly for organising and coordinating the trip, to Pat and Dave booth for their advice with prescribing reading glasses, to Nima for his hospitality and commitment as a guide, as well as Jenny, Samay and all the other travellers who made this a memorable experience. Finally, thanks to the kind people of Nepal – their kind, easy-going and positive attitude makes you feel very much included and welcome in this incredible country.

Namaste.

Ross Gillespie
Medical Student at University of Leeds

Photos from Ross of the two weeks he spent in Khare are available in this LED Facebook album.

Interested in volunteering with us in Peru or Nepal? Use the Contact LED form on the website (www.lighteducationdevelopment.org), or message us on facebook.com/LEDCharity, to find out about opportunities this year and next.

Fundraising for LED: The LED & NYF Yorkshire 3 Peaks (& 1 Peak!) Challenge

Looking for a challenge in 2017?

Together with Nepal Youth Foundation UK we are organising a Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge to climb Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingelborough, covering 24.5 miles in under 12 hours.

For those who would prefer to take it a bit easier, we are also running a Yorkshire 1 Peak Challenge, which is around 7.5 miles.

The Challenges will take place on Saturday 20 May 2017, starting and finishing at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire (Google map).

If you want to take part in one of the Challenges to raise money for LED, visit our NYF & LED Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge page. You’ll need to register there, and you’ll also find more information about timings, essential kit and more.

We are asking participants to fundraise at least £100 and we’ve set up a dedicated LED Yorkshire 3 Peaks (and 1 Peak!) Challenge campaign on our JustGiving page for this. Ask your supporters to donate here in advance of the Challenge or to settle up sponsorship after the event – and remember to tell them to mention your name!

NYF-LED Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

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: