House of Radon in Stockholm Sweden donated $4,200 USD to HEF for earthquake relief fund. A company employee came to Nepal one year ago to make a promotional video and visited Nangi. He encouraged his fellow employees to donate to HEF after seeing our work in rural areas of Nepal. HEF would like to thank the following: Tuan, Jesse, Peter, Elsa, Patrick, Jules, Miguel, Katherine, Sarah, Mathew, Mark, Philip, Jonni, Tad. Information about the company can be found here: http://www.houseofradon.com/about-us
May 5th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments
May 2nd, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments
April 30th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments
This article written by the editor of the Nepali Times, Kunda Dixit, found in the NY Times is a good read:
April 29th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments
This post by Dr. Rolina Dhital, an experienced Nepali doctor who is dedicated to rural Nepal healthcare, underscores the need for all agencies and volunteers to be prepared and have a working plan. This is why HEF is in the early planning stages for what we do best…see Mahabir’s message in previous post.
April 28th, 2015 by Ron Konecny · No Comments
Dear all supporters,
Our organization is raising funds to help the victims of the earth quake in Nepal. Right now there are many individuals and organizations from around the world coming to help the victims. It is good that they are providing immediate support. However, the communities and people need long term support as well. Our goal is to help rebuild school, libraries, computer labs that are badly or completely damaged. We are also going to provide support to the students, who lost their parents in the affected areas. Please donate online buy clicking the “Donate” button at himanchal.org. Thank you. Mahabir Pun
April 28th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments
Email from Dr. Mahabir Pun to HEF BOD.
April 26, 2015
Finally, the power and Internet is restored in the area where I am in Kathmandu. I was here just for a few days. I was in my room working in computer when the earthquake struck. Fortunately, the building did not collapsed. I spent two nights in open field with others. Right now the government is working to help people with the help of many individuals and organizations. Everything is okay in Nangi area because it was not as strong in Nangi area as it was in around Kathmandu. I talked to the school teachers and villagers as well. Thank you very much. Mahabir Pun
April 27th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments
HEF will be supporting recovery and rebuilding efforts in Nepal through a Nepal Earthquake Recovery Fund. Donations for HEF can be made through our standard financial management organization, the Kearney Area Community Foundation. Link is in the upper right hand corner of the page.
We do not know the extent of the damage and specific needs at this time, but we are gathering funds and allocation will be determined after appropriate appraisal of needs. This will be guided by the HEF BOD and the Nepal team lead by Dr. Mahabir Pun over the next several months. True to HEF’s mission we anticipate funds will be directed towards education. This may be in the form of helping to rebuild schools or reconnect wireless systems used for education.
April 27th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments
Many have called or emailed members of the BOD to inquire about the Himanchal Education Foundation team in Nepal and we thank you for your heartfelt concern.
We are relieved to report Dr. Mahabir Pun, Mr. Chitra Pun, their families and Nangi village suffered no personal losses that we are aware of at this time. According to an email from Chitra, Nangi and Pokhara area were not affected.
I will strive to post daily updates on the website. HEF will be participating in fund raising for the victims under the direction of the HEF BOD and Dr. Mahabir Pun. Return tomorrow for information on HEF’s Earthquake Recovery Fund.
April 24th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments
Hello and Namaste.
We are Bill and Linda from Australia. We trekked on the Community Trek Trail in 2013.
Prem, our guide, was very experienced and he gave us some great advice: “Walk slowly, take many rests” and so we were happy to move at a comfortable pace that we could sustain. The first leg of the trek is up, up and more up so we greatly appreciated a refreshing masala tea at our destination at the community center at Banskharka village.
I was impressed by the no-plastic policy that forms part of the ecologically sensitive nature of the trek. Water filters at the community centers meant travelers could safely refill their own reusable water bottles and cut down on plastic waste.
Our first night was a home stay. Our hosts were most welcoming and the room was very comfortable. Here we made a modest donation to the school. Chitra, director of the trekking project, had suggested that a world globe would be a useful item so that the children could locate the home country of trekking visitors. Prem had been able to buy one in Pokhara. The students were given writing materials, while the visitors received beautiful garlands of marigolds.
After lunch at the local hall we proceeded to Nangi village, an important center with a high school and a papermaking project. Nangi village is the home village of Prem. Chitra explained that at the end of the trekking season, a meeting is held where the trekking project profits are distributed directly to the local villages that participate in the trekking business.
At Nangi, we stayed in a fine lodge adjacent to a great dining hall built by locals with assistance from UNDP/MEDEP. Nangi village has free wireless Internet at the community centre and the school. The community is justifiably proud of their efforts to connect remote villages with modern technology.
The trek to Mahare Danada was quite challenging but breathtakingly beautiful, too. As we climbed in altitude, the open grasslands gave way to towering forests. Prem woke us the next day to greet the dawn. At 3300 metres, the stunning Annapurnas Mountains are best enjoyed early. The temperature was chilly so our thermals and fleeces were just right, but closer to winter, cold weather apparel would be needed.
The weather closed in and we were walking through misty clouds, which gave way to a sudden downpour. So the final hours of the walk were very damp. We were very glad to arrive at the Mohare Danda guesthouse where a roaring fire welcomed wet and weary trekkers. The guesthouse is a remarkable achievement, given the remoteness of the location. Dozens of people from Nangi village transported all the building materials to establish a facility that provides travelers with comfortable accommodations. There’s a weather station and wireless Internet relay tower all powered by solar electricity. We ate delicious fresh food sourced from the bountiful garden.
We had an easy and short downhill walk to Danda Kharka, where a trekking stop is becoming more established. The fire easily warmed the dining room. Prem produced a deck of cards and taught the visitors a fun new game. The cook did a great job in the kitchen but Linda identified a need for a wooden cooking spoon, which we were able to buy when we got back to Kathmandu. We posted it to Prem who deliver it for us.
After a hearty breakfast, we set off on our final day and passed through some very pretty countryside with hordes of wildflowers on our way to Tikot village. Our destination was unlike Nangi and the other settlements we had visited. Which makes this trek so unique. The village is quite compact, perched on a mountain spur and the farmland below the village is richly cultivated. The hospitality echoed that of the entire trek and we were sad to say farewell.
April 19th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments
Mahabir Pun, the community developer, is the most self-effacing, dynamic, humble, brilliant, charismatic, hard-working, nearsighted (optically), forward-thinking, paunchy, energetic person I have ever met. World travel has a way of connecting us with ordinary and sometimes amazing people. Mahabir’s the one who thought up and implemented the Eco-Community Development Trail.
When I first met him in Kathmandu in his social development restaurant — one of the many projects he has brought to fruition — I thought I must have the wrong person. Certainly this is not the iconic, internationally-renowned, award-winning Nepali I’d heard so much about. This guy looks like a rickshaw driver. That, though, he certainly is not. Raised in poverty and educated in his rustic village school, one day his father walked him to a boarding school, and he took to education the way a bird takes to the air. Through a series of fortuitous occurrences he told us about as we walked the trails interrupted repeatedly by the incessant ringing of his mobile phone (people he’s never met calling to ask him questions), he wound up at the University of Nebraska where he gained a masters degree in science and technology and then returned to Nepal to put it to use.
Mahabir is an idea implementation man. He’s never met a valuable innovation for his country that he didn’t consider if found worthy to implement. I’ve mentioned his social responsibility restaurant in Kathmandu and the Eco-Community Development Trail. The ten dining halls throughout the region cost millions of rupees he acquired in grants from all over the world. People just love to give him money because they know that it will be put to good use. In his home village of Nangi an impressed donor built a rustic round yurt complete with rooms and a central kitchen dining area. Then another one. Volunteers now come from all around the world to offer their services for a month or two and live in the yurts. Ann asked him what he has them do. His response was typical Mahabir: “I tell them to do whatever they think will be a contribution they’d like to make.” Some teach in the village school; some teach classes like yoga after school to students and adults; some built huts for boarding school students; some help with a paper-making enterprise the village women use to make books they sell; one group of Korean engineering students built a two-story tall drying room with double-pane windows, two-foot wide insulated wall, and a below-floor wood-fired heating system. The paper screens are stored there over night to dry before taking out into the sunlight the next day.
Mahabir made this possible through his web site (himanchal.org) but the core of the magnetism that draws people is our rather gosh, belly-scratching Mahabir. When the Maoist revolution at the turn of the century disrupted his new trekking route, he turned to something else he knew would be necessary: connectivity. Wanting to provide Internet service to the region he by-passed the government and defied the Maoists and had volunteers sneak electronic equipment into Nepal and set up a series of repeater stations from hilltop to hilltop connecting communities to the Internet, and through these connections he put regional health posts in contact by audio and video with medical specialists in Kathmandu. These repeater stations now blanket the entire area at no charge to the schools and medical clinics. Now he spends part of his time keeping the information flowing. Meantime back home more and more people were offering their services erecting solar panels and hot water heaters around the region. His work just goes on and on. This is just the tip of his development iceberg. You’d be reading for hours if I got into all of it.
Mahabir is now working with Dr. Saroj Dhital, a soon to retire surgeon at Model Hospital in Kathmandu who also wants to make a meaningful contribution to his country by organizing a cadre of trained doctors to travel through and live in the villages offering services to the people who cannot or cannot afford to come to Kathmandu for specialized medical services including surgery. We had the pleasure of traveling with Saroj and his fourth-year resident protégé, Kovid Nepal, on our trek through the hills with Mahabir. Saroj is a wiry comic of a man with a mischievous trail side manner but a serious medical demeanor. Twenty-seven year old Kovid could be a Nepaliwood cinema star if he weren’t so dedicated to medicine and the most at risk people of his country. These are the kinds of people who believe in what Mahabir is trying to accomplish and want to help him make it happen. These are the people who are drawn like iron to Mahabir’s magnetism and overpowering and sincere desire to make a difference in his world. They teach us all that there are those who have so little and need so much, and, when we look deep down into the third world, we can find ways to help and people who dedicate their lives to doing so.
I’ve told you about this because I love the fact that there are so many Americans who are generous and compassionate. I love that about Americans and try to remind people all over the world, every chance I get, that this is so. This makes me proud to be an American. Collectively our nation sometimes has problems being compassionate and at times our government certainly has problems being generous, but at the depths of our culture, these two beliefs in compassion and generosity, have found a home.