Click on the milestone markers to find out about our journey over the last 20 years

  1. Meeting of the Founding Directors at the Bundanoon Hotel to form the AHF.
    December 20, 2001 – Bundanoon Hotel, NSW: After Peter Hillary talking to his father, we are honoured to have Sir Edmund support the formation of the AHF, representing and building on the work and legacy of his Himalayan Trust. At the inaugural meeting, experienced Himalayan hands Simon Balderstone, Garry Weare, Christine Gee, Peter Hillary, Lincoln Hall, Michael Dillon and Mark O’Toole (the AHF Founding Directors) underline their commitment to help support the people of the Himalaya achieve their goals.
  2. Registration of AHF as a company with ASIC, and AHF’s first major project.
    On 8 February 2002, the AHF is registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) as “”Australian Himalayan Foundation Ltd”” (a public company) . The “Hillside” Project: After Johanna Fluhrer, an 18-year-old from Manly visited Nepal she committed to raise funds to rebuild a collapsed school she had seen in the remote village of Kakani. Johanna raised $50,000 to begin the “Hillside project”, and the AHF provides the funds necessary to complete the restoration and begin the phase of sustainable maintenance and operations of the school, and also provides strategic advice and practical on-ground assistance. We appoint Johanna an AHF “International Youth Ambassador”
  3. AHF’s first major event: fundraiser celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the First ascent of Everest.
    May 29, 2003 AHF holds its first major event: a fundraiser celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first ascent of Everest, by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Held at the “Everest Theatre”, in the Seymour Centre, Sydney, the “Night out on Everest” event featured public announcements regarding the formation and work of the AHF; an international live cross to Peter Hillary (at official celebrations in the UK); and readings by George Hillary (Sir Ed’s grandson) and Pasang Tenzing (Tenzing Norgay’s great grandson) from Sir Ed’s and Tenzing’s diaries/writings of the 1953 Expedition.
  4. Commenced flagship TTQE program in Upper Solukhumbu (Nepal)
    2005 – Upper Solu Khumbu: AHF, in the footsteps of the giant efforts of Sir Edmund, , begins a teacher training program in the Upper Solu Khumbu (the Everest region of Nepal). In partnership with Nepalese NGO, Rural Education and Environment Development Centre (REED). Sixteen years on the program has been regularly selected by the Nepal Government as an outstanding example of quality education helping to improve the skills of 2,000 teachers in over 300 schools and schooling of over 50,000 students.
  5. Commenced snow leopard conservation program with SLC (india)
    A meeting with Dr Rodney Jackson, the world’s leading authority on snow leopards offers AHF a remarkable opportunity to help protect this iconic, elusive Himalayan animal: Working with the local Snow Leopard Conservancy in Ladakh, AHF begins a project supporting the building of leopard-proof corrals to protect the communities’ valuable flocks of sheep, goats and cattle. In doing so AHF helps save the lives of the stock and the leopards, and the livelihoods of farmers. (We have now financed the building of more than 50 of these corrals).
    1. Established Schools for the Himalaya program
      2008: Barbara and Lincoln Hall (AHF Founding Director) are the driving forces behind the formation of The AHF ‘Schools for the Himalaya’ program. Under this program, schools and their students in Australia (and other countries) have the opportunity to raise funds for specifically selected, vitally needed basic facilities and education resources for schools in remote Nepal, and also to enjoy rewarding cultural exchange and education connections with the Nepalese schools and their communities.
    2. Amchi program (Zanskar, India) featured by Foreign Correspondent (ABC)
      2008 – AHF’s innovative program to support traditional medical practices is selected by ABC ‘Foreign Correspondent’ as an outstanding example of how a small Australian INGO could make a difference in Zanskar, the remotest outpost in the Himalayan region of Ladakh. Accompanied by AHF director, Garry Weare ‘Foreign Correspondent’ highlights the tragically high level of infant mortality in the region and how the local Amchi attend a week-long workshop to help revive their traditional medical practices.
    3. Major initiative TTQE to Lower Solukhumbu (Nepal) supporting Over 300 schools, 1700 teacher and 42,000 children
      2008 – AHF’s TTQE (Teacher Training, Quality Education) program is extended from the Solu Khumbu to the impoverished communities of the Lower Solu Khumbu. The delivery of the TTQE project contributes to increased primary school attendance; an increase in the rate of girls enrolling in school as well as higher retention rates of students through to secondary school and a myriad of life-changing educational opportunities. (From 2012, TTQE is supported by the Australian Government through their Australian NGO Cooperation Program ).
    1. Commenced RENEW girls’ education program (Bhutan)
      2009 – Bhutan: The AHF commences its girls’ education project in Bhutan, in partnership with the RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women) NGO, founded by Her Majesty, Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan. The project’s focus is on education assistance (helping girls access a better education, for longer); support for young women and girls who have experienced violence, abuse, or neglect; and counselling support services. (Today the project reaches more than 175 vulnerable children each year).
    2. Commenced Tibet Performing Arts program (Kalimpong, India)
      2009 – Kalimpong, India: AHF’s commitment to preserving Tibetan cultural traditions leads to a collaborative partnership between the Australian Tibetan Society and Gangjong Doeghar, a local NGO based in Kalimpong in northern India. Under the program, over the next thirteen years the AHF has supported traditional Tibetan performing arts as well as encouraging students and adults to undertake dance, music and language to preserve their Tibetan heritage as well as furthering career opportunities.
    3. Launched Himalayan Art Award Kathmandu (Nepal)
      April 2009: Kathmandu: The works of the two inaugural recipients of the Himalayan Art Award, Sushma Shakya and Kailash K. Shrestha, are shown at the first Exhibition and launch, at Siddartha Art Gallery, attended by H.E. Susan Grace, the Australian Ambassador to Nepal. Under the self-funding program, established by AHF supporter Margie Thomas, the artists are required to commit to completing one major and one minor work to be donated to the AHF who auction the art works to fund future artists from Nepal and Bhutan.
  6. Book celebrating 50th Anniversary Diplomatic relations Australia and Nepal features AHF.
    When the Australian Ambassador to Nepal Susan Grace commissions a book: “Celebrating 50 years of Australian Mountaineering Feats and Friendship in Nepal”, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Australia-Nepal diplomatic relations, AHF plays an integral role: Garry Weare (Founding Director) writes the introduction, highlighting AHF work in Nepal, and Peter Hillary and Lincoln Hall (also Founding Directors), AHF Ambassador Andrew Lock and supporters Brigitte Muir, Sue Fear, Robin Boustead and Jim Duff all contribute, reflecting AHF’s close and abiding relationship with the people of Nepal.
    1. 1st Chairman’s Trek led by Simon Balderstone and Peter Hillary, with major media coverage in ‘Good Weekend’ Magazine.
      May 2011 – The inaugural AHF fundraising “Chairman’s Trek”, takes place, with Peter Hillary, Simon Balderstone and REED CEO Bhim Bogati taking nine AHF supporters to the Lower Solu Khumbu and Solu Khumbu. It is the Sydney Morning Herald “Good Weekend” magazine cover story, “In the footsteps of Hillary”, with journalist Amanda Hooton writing the trekkers are there to see “how the AHF is transforming the education of children in Nepal…All have donated $10,000 towards the AHF’s programs and are clearly keen to see them in action”. There have been three more “Chairman’s Treks” since, and more to come.
    2. ABC ‘Foreign Correspondent ‘ covers AHF attendance at celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Khumjung School, and AHF’s education program.
      In July 2011, “Shadows of Everest”, an episode of the ABC “Foreign Correspondent” reports on the visit in May by Peter Hillary and the members of the inaugural AHF “Chairman’s trek” to the 50th anniversary celebrations of the building of the Khumjung school, Sir Edmund Hillary’s original “schoolhouse in the clouds”. “Foreign Correspondent” also reports on the AHF succeeding the New Zealand Himalayan Trust in provision of the teacher training and education assistance program in the Solu Khumbu.
  7. AHF one of two NGOs outlined in the “Australia in the Asian Century“ White Paper.
    February 2012: The AHF is one of only two NGOs to have their work outlined in the Federal Government’s “Australia in the Asian Century“ White Paper: “The Australian Himalayan Foundation is an Australian non-government organisation established by a group of mountaineers who wanted to give something back to Nepal after climbing in the Himalayas. The foundation raises funds to support education and health programs. It is one of many Australian non-government organisations built on enduring people-to-people links”.
  8. AHF achieves AusAID Base Accreditation
    June 2012: The AHF achieves “Base Accreditation” with AusAid. This enables AHF – the smallest agency (in terms of staffing) to gain accreditation – to receive a level of Australian government funding providing stability, and to make long term plans for programs. The accreditation application required AHF to ensure our policies and practices and those of our overseas project partners were of the highest quality and accountability, and that we achieved tangible outcomes with our donors’ dollars.
  9. AHF hosts Bhutan Queen Mother of Bhutan visit to Australia
    October 2014: The AHF finances and hosts a visit to Australia by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan, the founder and Patron of RENEW, AHF’s program partner in Bhutan, to raise awareness and funds for the RENEW/AHF work on the health and education of young Bhutanese women. Her Majesty visits schools, meets with AHF supporters at events in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne and also with government officials and the Federal Education Minister.
  10. Nepal Earthquake – AHF provides emergency relief, and begins Major Appeal for rebuilding schools.
    April-May, 2015 – Nepal: Two major earthquakes hit Nepal, killing nearly 9000 people and destroying or badly damaging more than 200 AHF-supported schools. The AHF responds quickly by providing – from Kathmandu and Australia – critical supplies (incl. shelter, water and medical items) for communities in the Lower Solu Khumbu and commencing a major “Build Nepal back better” Appeal. We also build a series of “Temporary Learning Centres” to enable children to quickly resume their education, while we plan the resurrection of damaged classrooms. The Appeal ends up raising $1.3 million.
  11. Completed Rebuild program in Lower Solukhumbu (Nepal) 87 classrooms, 26 schools
    2018 – The AHF post-2015 Earthquakes “Building Nepal back better” project is completed, with 87 classrooms in 26 schools rebuilt or repaired. The AHF pioneers a new earthquake-resistant design, using lightweight, pre-fabricated materials able to be transported and carried into extremely remote areas. And we incorporate a training program for local workers in construction trades and skills, and coordinate a joint AHF – Himalayan Trust UK – Himalayan Trust New Zealand rebuilding project, working with REED Nepal. The new design, produced pro bono by Australian engineering and architectural firms – Taylor Thomson Whitting, HASSELL and Davenport Campbell wins multiple ’Good Design Australia’ awards for Social Impact, Engineering and Architecture.
  12. AHF provides major COVID relief support in Nepal and pioneers with REED a ‘distance learning’ radio education program.
    2020-2021 – Nepal: Responding to the COVID pandemic which forced major lockdowns of schools and communities, AHF, with our Nepal education partner REED, pioneers a brilliant ‘distance learning’ program of radio lessons – reaching more than 1.2 million primary school students, and involving nearly 14,000 students and 1,000 teachers from our TTQE program. Importantly, we also assist health program partner ‘Action for Nepal’ by financing the purchase of PPE materials and other medical equipment to a hospital and five health centres and the training of 30 health staff. Then in May 2021, we respond to the ‘second wave” by getting critical medical equipment, including protection kits and oxygen concentrators, to remote health posts.
  13. Application submitted for full accreditation with Australian Government Aid program.
    AHF prepares and submits an application for Full Accreditation with the Australian Government’s Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
  14. Flagship TTQE/ TTQIE program (18th year) support to commence in Western Nepal
    2021/22: The AHF’s flagship education program , in its 18th year of operation and its first since being re-titled “the Teacher Training and Quality Inclusive Education Program (TTQIE)” , is enhanced to further improve education support and training; promote and improve gender equality and equity and child safeguarding; and prevent gender-based violence (GBV) and youth suicide. This major new phase is part of AHF’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, which also includes an expansion of TTQIE expansion into Western Nepal.
  15. Be part of the climb
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