|Education is empowerment, education is nurturing in the face of neglect, education is an exploration and a yearning for knowledge and in this case sharing a common desire to preserve an ancient culture where students can engage in real life issues and learn to question, think critically and find solutions to enhance life in these mountain villages of the high Himalaya. At the same time emphasis is placed on creating an atmosphere where Sherpa heritage is known and valued, where the environment is honored and where teachers understand that each student has a vast and unique potential.|
Over the past 18 years, The Himalayan Project has helped to raise critical support for the expansion of the only school in the Everest region that can provide an education through grade 12. The school, founded by Sir Edmund Hillary after his successful ascent of Mt Everest in 1953, was originally intended to service about 30 local village children. Now, many decades later, 400 Sherpa children attend the school, some of whom trek up to 3 hours a day to attend classes. The Himalayan Project has focused on raising funds to construct a school hall that will shelter the entire school during the many months of the year when inclement weather reigns – monsoons in the summer and snow in the winter, built a school library replete with Nepali, Tibetan and English books, constructed classroom buildings for the addition of grades 11 and 12 so students could complete their education while staying with their families and communities in the mountains, renovated a school kitchen and cafeteria for boarding students, built a greenhouse for growing year round vegetables and perhaps most importantly THP has initiated a scholarship program for village children whose families cannot afford the $10-$20 per month that it costs to send a child to school. Education is not a birthright in Nepal and very often the cost of educating a child is beyond a families' means.
At the Mahendra Jyoti Secondary School in Chaurikharka, students learn everything from reading, writing, and arithmetic to science and geography. The mission of the school is to nurture self-motivated students – and teachers - who yearn for knowledge and share a common desire to preserve their ancient culture. The curriculum prepares students for the challenges of both traditional village life and the fast-changing world that surrounds Chaurikharka.
Sadly, the earthquakes of April 25th and May 12th 2015 turned the world upside down for the students and their families in Chaurikharka. All the homes and the school suffered irreparable damage and the rebuilding will be a process many years in the making. With the expertise of a Japanese engineer, a master plan is being created to ensure that reconstruction includes “earthquake proof” techniques.