Education and opportunities

Education opens eyes

Sir Ed knew that education, more than anything else, has the power to lift people out of poverty.

Yet too many young people in the Everest region face a lifetime of disadvantage because they can’t get anything more than the most basic education.

Thanks to you, the Himalayan Trust works to improve the quality education in the Everest region, keeping alive Sir Edmund’s vision of a brighter future for as many children and young people as possible.

Ed begins it all

It all began in the early 1960s when Sir Ed asked his Sherpa friend: “If there was anything I could do for the Sherpa people, what do you think that would be?” His friend said: “Our children have eyes but they cannot see. We would like you to open their eyes by building a school in our village.”

This touched Sir Ed’s heart. He replied: “Together we will build a school.”

With the help of his Sherpa friends, he immediately set about building the first school in Khumjung – the “school house in the clouds”. He then went on to build 28 schools in the area and supported many more.

New opportunities

Thanks to our supporters, the Himalayan Trust continues to open up new opportunities for young people in the Everest region through quality education.

Working with our partners Himalayan Trust Nepal, Action for Nepal and REED-Nepal, we support over 60 schools to help:

  • students achieve higher levels of success in literacy and core subjects
  • increase student retention through to higher grades and tertiary
  • increase local ownership of education outcomes

We supply resources and equipment – having the right tools to learn at schools in this region remains a huge challenge because of difficult and expensive transportation, and the cost of buying stationary for families that earn very little.

We also provide training for teachers, upgrade furniture and libraries, and provide scholarships to help young people from the mountain villages pursue higher studies. The scholarships are helping produce doctors, environmentalists, engineers, teachers, health workers, and community leaders, to help address skills shortages in the region.

Give the gift of education

Improving early literacy and learning

Getting a good start in reading and writing makes a huge difference to a child’s future learning.

We are working with our partner Action for Nepal to improve the way literacy skills are taught and learned in the early years. The programme involves head teachers, teachers, parents and the whole school community and focuses on improving talking, listening, reading and writing for children aged 5 to 8 years.

All the teachers involved in the programme will have regular coaching in the classroom on child-centred teaching methods and develop a greater understanding of how to inspire learning in their classrooms.

The literacy programme is based on these core principles:

  • teachers use child-centred, creative activities in the classroom to improve vital reading and writing skills;
  • teaching in age groups is more effective than subject teaching in the early years;
  • head teachers, teachers, school management councils and parents work together to improve literacy.

Pemba Diki Sherpa is a teacher at Shree Himalaya Basic School in Namche. She told us:

“I feel there has been a drastic change. Before we were limited to teaching from the textbook.  But now we teach children from lots of different story books. The children are doing creative writing and drama. They are writing about themselves and their families. The children are really growing in confidence to speak in front of others and to be creative.

“I would like to thank New Zealand from bottom of my heart for supporting the literacy programme and schools in the Everest region.”

Improving early literacy and learning

Dhan Maya Tamang 16, stands on the space which was once her classroom at Chaurikharkar High School.Building back better

The massive earthquakes that struck Nepal in 2015 caused significant damage to the school buildings and facilities in the Everest region. We worked to quickly establish temporary learning classrooms so that children could get back to school as soon as possible.

The Himalayan Trust went on to develop the biggest infrastructure project we have ever undertaken to build earthquake-strengthened classroom blocks to replace those damaged and destroyed in the earthquakes.

Within three years of the first devastating earthquake, we completed 150 earthquake-strengthened classrooms at 36 schools, as well as toilet blocks and a water supply.

Thanks to you, more than 7000 children are now able to study in safe, strong classrooms. And their families and communities will benefit from these facilities for decades to come.

Read more on the earthquake recovery

Breaking the cycle of poverty

Suni Baraili, 7, walks home after school from Sano Gumela School to her house in the hills above Thulo Gumela, Nepal on February 22, 2016.

Nepal currently ranks in 145th place on the Human Development Index (HDI) making it one of the least developed nations in the world. Over 7.5 million people can’t yet read and write, and 66% of these are female. Literacy levels are lowest in the most remote districts.

The Himalayan Trust works in the mountainous district of Solukhumbu in the watershed of Everest. As one of the most remote mountain districts of Nepal, transportation of supplies still depends on air, porters, donkeys and yaks. Though some communities living near the main trekking trails have achieved better economic opportunities from the development of tourism, the majority of people still live on traditional agriculture and experience economic hardship.

Many young people in Solukhumbu do not have access to a decent basic education in the early years of schooling, and this has a huge impact on their overall engagement and achievement in school.

With quality education, we can help break the cycle of poverty in Nepal, allowing young people to contribute to the local and national economy.  

Sangita Rai teaching at Chaurikharkar High School.

We support scholarships to help children complete their education. The scholarships are helping produce doctors, environmentalists, engineers, teachers, health workers, and community leaders, to help address skills shortages in the region.

When 16 porters were killed in an avalanche on Everest in 2014, the Himalayan Trust launched an appeal to help the families of the climbers who lost their lives. Since that tragic day, we have supported the families of those who were killed by providing scholarships for their school-age children.

Avalanche fund provides a safer future

Library learning

We our working at seven high schools with partner REED-Nepal to improve the management and use of libraries for reading and research.

Kumar Khadka, Principal at Singhakali high school, says: “We plan to manage ten thousand books in library and to extend the library to community level as a resource centre.”

Lucky enough to go to school

Lhakpa Sherpa’s walk to school takes him over an hour, and he has to watch his step across the steep and uneven mountain paths. But he knows he’s one of the lucky ones and is thankful for the opportunity to go to high school. 

“I know I’m very lucky to be able to go to school. Many children here don’t get to go to school, because their parents can’t afford to send them.”

Meet Lhakpa: Lucky enough to go to school



Children benefited from school support
Children are now learning in safe, earthquake-strengthened classrooms
secondary teachers from 42 schools attended training and received in school support last year
teachers from 12 schools attended training in teaching in English language
earthquake-strengthened classrooms built at 36 schools

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Thank you to New Zealand Aid Programme for their ongoing support for the education programme in Nepal.

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