It was 64 years ago today that the beekeeper from Tuakau made headlines around the world when he reached the summit of Mount Everest with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.
For Sir Edmund Hillary, a lifetime of adventure and achievement was just beginning, as was a lifelong friendship with the people of Nepal.
On the anniversary of the summit of Everest, we want to share some of the greatest achievements of Sir Ed’s Himalayan Trust in the Everest region of Nepal.
It all begins with Sir Ed wanting to do something to improve life for the Sherpa people who helped make his Himalayan expeditions possible.
Ed begins it all
1961 Sir Ed builds the very first school in the village of Khumjung, in response to a request from his Sherpa friends.
1963 Sir Ed and his friends build a water supply in Khumjung, which is such an immediate and dramatic help to the community, it causes tears of joy as the first water gushes out of the pipe.
1964 Sir Ed constructs the airstrip at Lukla to transport in building materials for a hospital. Now, the Lukla airstrip is the gateway to the Everest region for trekkers and mountaineers and the second busiest airport in Nepal.
1966 Kunde Hospital, the first hospital in the region, is completed. For many years it is staffed by volunteer doctors from New Zealand and Canada. The results are remarkable: the near eradication of TB, the elimination of goitre and cretinism through iodine injections, as well as major improvements in maternal care.
1979 The Sagarmatha National Park Forestry Project is established to promote the sustainable management of the forests in the region and to minimise damage to the forests from an increase in the local population and tourist visitors.
1993 The Himalayan Trust helps rebuild Tengboche Monastery after it is destroyed in a fire. Most Everest expeditions, including the 1953 expedition, stop at Tengboche Monastery to be blessed on their way to the mountain.
1997 The Himalayan Trust launches its teacher training programme to up-skill primary and secondary teachers.
2002 Dr Kami Temba, who began his education at the school built by Sir Ed in Thame, becomes the first Nepali doctor-in-charge at Kunde Hospital. The hospital is now staffed entirely by Nepali medics.
2014 The Lukla Drinking Water Project is completed, piping clean safe water underground to homes and businesses and benefiting 3,000 people.
2015 The Himalayan Trust responds immediately following the devastating Nepal earthquakes, providing emergency supplies to affected families. A programme is launched to rebuild and repair over 150 seismic-resistant classrooms at 33 schools.
The Himalayan Trust today
2017 Today, the Himalayan Trust is working with our partners in Nepal:
- to complete the rebuild of the earthquake-damaged classrooms,
- to help the people of Musey build a new drinking water system,
- to improve early literacy in Solukhumbu schools; and
- to improve access to medical care in remote communities.
This life-changing work has been made possible through the generosity of supporters like you.
What you can do
You can help continue Sir Ed’s legacy in Nepal. Every contribution, large or small will make a real difference to the communities we work with in the Everest region.
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