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Yakety Yak, April 2017

April 2017
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From the CEO...
Carolyn Hamer-Smith

Namaste Everyone!

It's been a busy start to the year here at AHF with plans underway for a new health program in Nepal, reporting on the first year of our vocational training programs in Bhutan and Nepal designed specifically to give women and girls employment opportunities and of course forging ahead with the reconstruction of schools across the Lower Solukhumbu.

Despite all the challenges and setbacks (of which there have been many!) of this rebuild program, getting children like these two back to school and most importantly back into a safe learning environment makes all the hard work worth it.  

Working in a post-earthquake economy has not been easy and we have seen costs spiral and the materials and the skilled workers we need are expensive and hard to find. For those of you thinking about end of year donations or just looking for a good cause, our rebuild program is urgently in need of funds to complete our construction targets and to get as many classrooms built as possible before the monsoon sets in.

A huge thank-you to you all for your support and we look forward to seeing you at one of our events this year or on one of our many adventures to the Himalaya. In this newsletter you can find out more about all these opportunities and of course I am always available to speak with you in person too. I welcome you to get in touch!

Carolyn

From the field...

Tshering Lama O’Gorman, Program Director

A big Namaste to all of our supporters! 

In this first newsletter for 2017, I wanted to write about our efforts in the remote mountain district of Solukhumbu in Nepal. As many of you will know, our major work there is in partnership with the Nepalese NGO REED Nepal to improve the quality of education for rural children.

In December, I was in Nepal with our long-time Education Advisor Jim Strang, to carry out a participatory planning workshop with REED staff on the Teacher Training Quality Education (TTQE) program. In the two-day workshop, we reviewed the program, discussed lessons learned and challenges, and prioritized the areas for strengthening. The workshop gave the REED field staff - who spend months away from their families, walking to remote schools and villages - the opportunity to bring their first-hand field knowledge into the planning for the program. We reviewed the Nepalese government’s School Sector Development Plan and how TTQE can support it better to bring real results on the ground. The planning workshop identified the following areas of focus for the program going forward: literacy improvement in early years, improving school governance, finding ways to engage parents and communities more in the children’s education and doing more to become disability inclusive.
Tshering with participants of TTQE participatory planning workshop
We have also been very busy rebuilding classrooms in damaged schools across the Lower Solukhumbu. As an NGO, working for change, we believe that it is essential to build the capacity of the local people to bring about sustainable development and we are using this principle in our construction projects. Through our partnership with REED Nepal, we are supporting the training of local school committees to manage their constructions in an accountable, effective and transparent manner. We are also supporting the training of local masons in improved techniques and seismic principles. In February, we successfully conducted the second training for 19 local masons on earthquake resistant light gauze steel frame construction.

We have been hugely fortunate to have leading engineering and architectural firms in Sydney continue to provide their pro bono expertise to rebuild efforts. Architectural partners Davenport Campbell sent 2 architects to Nepal last November to see the ground conditions and develop the master plan for the Garma Secondary School. Similarly, engineering partner TTW and architectural partner HASSELL have worked pro bono to develop an innovative modular school design using light gauze steel frames that are earthquake resilient. The first of this design construction went up in Garma Secondary School this February, and senior TTW engineer David Carolan, the lead designer of the TTW HASSELL school design (together with Ken McBryde of HASSELL) went to Garma in February to monitor this progress.
TTW & HASSELL designed steel frames going up at Garma Secondary School
For their incredible hard work and dedication to the people of Nepal, I would like to thank all the engineers and architects who have so generously given their time and expertise. I would also like to thank David Francis, another architect from Melbourne and long term AHF supporter, who joined the rebuild project last year and since then has generously shared his personal time, expert advice and industry knowledge with us. He will soon be going back to Nepal to help the Nepalese engineers in Solukhumbu.

So, with that I will say ‘dherai dhanyabaad’ - many many thanks…

Tshering

Spotlight on Ekraj Koirala
REED Nepal English Trainer

Ekraj Koirala, REED Nepal English Teacher Trainer
Ekraj is a Senior English Teacher Trainer at AHF’s in-country partner REED Nepal.  As part of AHF's Teacher Training & Quality Education (TTQE) program, Ekraj spends at least seven months of the year in the SoluKhumbu district.  During this time, he conducts four teacher training programs (ranging from three to ten days), as well as visiting a cluster of 17 schools in the Khumbu region at least three times each to monitor the implementation of the training and materials provided by REED Nepal. 

Upon his return to Kathmandu, reporting findings from the Solukhumbu visit and developing new and creative content for English teacher training for future programs absorbs much of Ekraj’s time. Last year, he devised a new program for REED Nepal, focusing on school-based training. This involves working with teachers in their school environment to develop a teaching plan for a subject from beginning to end, concluding with an evaluation on the effectiveness of the teaching strategies for the children’s learning. 

Ekraj is passionate about helping to improve Nepal's educational standards. Education, he believes, is the key to unlocking Nepal’s potential to become a developed nation. He is particularly passionate about ending corporal punishment, a practice that was outlawed in 1990, but is still known to continue in some parts of Nepal. 

He recalls, “I was beaten three times during my schooling. One of those times was in grade six. I was standing a little out of line in morning assembly, and the headmaster came and hit me in the face. To make matters worse, the headmaster was my family friend.”

Today, Ekraj is leading REED Nepal’s anti-corporal punishment programs, and he hopes today's children will be left with happier memories of their schooling. He believes that learning should be for life, not for the purpose of examinations. AHF and REED Nepal are proud to have Ekraj as part of our family.

What’s on? Get involved!

Join us for an opportunity to hear from some fascinating people doing fascinating things across the region!
NEVEREST

Neverest, the ‘Everesting’ challenge for Nepal, will take place this year in Canberra on 31st March and 1st April, at Mt. Ainslie and Sydney on Saturday 8th April in Mt Kembla to raise funds for the AHF Teacher Training & Quality Education Program.The fundraising goal is to raise $30,000 which will fund 150 school scholarships for children in Nepal. We would love to see more of our supporters come join us on this great challenge.

Neverest is a vertical ‘test of endurance’. Individuals or relay teams will be challenging themselves to run/walk up hills until they have completed a total of 8848 metres - the height of the summit of Mount Everest!

We would like to thank AHF Youth Ambassador, Jackson Bursill, for co-ordinating this fantastic event again this year! Further information on how you can take part can be found at:
http://projectneverest.com 
Save the Date: AHF Himalaya Day
Another great event to celebrate, share and catch up with our AHF family. Hear an inspirational account from Roger O'Meagher about his experience as an AHF volunteer teacher trainer in Nepal. Enjoy a three course dinner and BYO. 

Tuesday 30th May
Lal Qila, Darling Harbour
6:00 PM onwards


Details about how to purchase your tickets will be announced soon.

Save the Date: AHF Sydney Gala Dinner
Put this date in your diary and join us for our annual Gala Dinner. We promise you a great night with amazing entertainment, inspirational stories, rare auction prizes and of course delicious food.

Wednesday 13th September
Sofitel Sydney

6 pm for 6.30

We are working to bring a special guest out from Nepal for the dinner so if anyone has some frequent flyers they might be willing to share with us please contact Upala at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  

We will have more details to share on the line up for the dinner with you soon!

Travelling to the Himalaya?


Now, more than ever, the Himalayan region needs the support of tourism as it rebuilds following the devastating Nepal earthquakes in 2015.  If you are thinking of travelling to the Himalaya, please think about raising money for the AHF at this time.  We have an exciting line up of treks and trips to Nepal, Bhutan and India which include opportunities to visit our work. You can also speak to us about adding a fundraising component to your own trip of course.

Bhutan

AHF/Kathmandu Summit Club Trek to Bhutan
5th - 12th November 2017


Journey into the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ on a seven-day exploratory tour of Bhutan which will take you on a magical journey across the country from east to west from Paro to Thimpu, with two days in the beautiful Punakha valley, the ancient capital of Bhutan.  You will have the opportunity to meet with representatives of the AHF’s partner organisation in Bhutan, RENEW, a charitable organization dedicated to the development of women and girls.  For more information, click here.

Nepal

AHF/Kathmandu Summit Club Trek to Nepal
3rd - 15th October 2017


We start with sightseeing in Kathmandu before flying to Phaplu, the administrative centre of the Solu Khumbu district. Beginning our trek with visits to some of the educational schools supported by the AHF, we slowly ascend to the Everest region. We spend two nights in the renowned Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar before trekking to Tengboche with mountain views of Everest and Ama Dablam. Morning prayers at Tengboche Monastery before trekking down the valley to Khumjung & Khunde where the original Sir Edmund Hillary school and hospital were constructed.  For more information, click here.
AHF Classic Nepal with AHF Director Greg Mortimer
30th September - 14th October 2017

Accompanied by AHF director and world-class mountaineer Greg Mortimer, the journey starts with a flight to Phaplu, the administrative centre of the Solu Khumbu district. Beginning our trek with visits to some of the educational schools supported by the AHF, we slowly ascend to the Everest region. We spend two nights in the renowned Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar before trekking to Tengboche with mountain views of Everest and Ama Dablam. Morning prayers at Tengboche Monastery before trekking down the valley to Khumjung & Khunde where the original Sir Edmund Hillary school and hospital were constructed.  For more information, click here.

India

AHF/Kathmandu Summit Club Trek to Ladakh
10th - 17th June 2017


This introductory trip to the remote region of Ladakh in the Indian Himalaya provides an unrivalled insight into the rich cultural history of the area. The trip is based in the high-desert city of Leh, and gives participants the opportunity to appreciate the innovative AHF healthcare and snow leopard conservation programs. With 5 nights in hotels and two nights camping in the Rumbak Valley, the specially devised walks extend to India's largest national park, and remote settlements and villages that still reflect a deep seated Tibetan culture.  For more information, click here.
AHF Explore Ladakh Trek with AHF Director Cheryl Bart
11th - 25th September 2017 


Accompanied by Cheryl Bart, accomplished mountaineer, you will gain an unrivalled insight into the rich cultural history of the Indian Himalayas. This in-depth trek extends to remote settlements and villages that still reflect a deep-seated Tibetan culture, and where the turn of the prayer wheel is still in harmony with the seasons.  You will also have the opportunity to appreciate the innovative AHF healthcare and snow leopard conservation programs. For more information, click here.

Australia

If you would prefer a challenge closer to home, we are running another successful Ten Peak Challenge!

10 Summits, 4 days, 1 big challenge
17th-20th November, 2017


Climb the 10 highest peaks in Kosciuszko National Park (NSW) with experienced guides and a team of enthusiastic trekkers 17th-20th November this year. Raise money for AHF’s work in remote communities of the Himalaya and start preparing for your own Himalayan adventure at the same time! Price includes accommodation, meals, guides and ski lift passes.

Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to put your name on our Expression of Interest list.

 
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P: (02) 9438-1822
info@australianhimalayanfoundation.org.au
mail: PO Box 553, Crows Nest, NSW 1585