Magar Women Film

January 12th, 2016 by Debra Stoner · No Comments

FuFilm, a group of filmmakers and authors, is making a movie about Magar women. Magar is one of the indigenous, ethnic groups populating Nepal.

The movie depicts the spirit of the women who support their remote communities with wisdom, strength, and courage. The raw footage was shot in 2013 in and around Nangi, Nepal. A teaser is available for viewing here.

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Petition to Nepal Government to End the Digital Divide

January 9th, 2016 by Debra Stoner · No Comments

Sudiksha Joshi, Ph.D. is a learning advocate who understands the difference that internet and access to information can have in changing lives. She supports the vision of Dr. Mahabir Pun that access to the internet can empower and change lives.

She has started a petition asking the Nepal government to release funds from the Rural Telecommunication Development Fund for connecting rural areas of Nepal to the internet. You can read about the petition and decide if you want to sign by clicking here.

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Hiking for Emails

December 30th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments

A look into Dr. Mahabir Pun’s past.

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HEF Winter Newsletter 2015

December 17th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments

Earthquake Funding 

More than 10,000 school buildings were fully or partially damaged by the earthquake. Dr. Mahabir Pun visited damaged schools in three districts to discuss HEF assistance in rebuilding, HEF’s present monetary commitment is for rebuilding one school. He has selected a middle school in Pokhari in the Gorakha district (see photos). Online donations have been received from Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, Korea, USA and China for rebuilding. The community leaders will submit plans to the government, build and manage the four-room school. With the implementation of new government building regulations for schools; a new school will cost nearly $30,000 USD. Below is Pokhari Village after the earthquake.

Temporatry shelters after earthquake

As a result of political turmoil in Nepal over a new constitution, there has been a trade blockade since September 20th. No supplies such as fuel, medicine, or food are being delivered across the borders. Schools, businesses and industries have closed and few vehicles are running. All reconstruction work has been postponed and rebuilding the school cannot begin until the blockade is lifted. Read how it affects Nepal here.

Dormitory Construction Completed

Boys and girls in grade 10, 11 and 12 were staying in small two-bed huts at the school in Nangi. As funds were available over the past 3 years, a new boys dormitory with 16 rooms was constructed. Three boys live in each room with two male supervising teachers residing there also. Renovation has begun in the old library and clinic building to make a 12-room girl’s dormitory with $4,000 donated by the John and Lois McNeill family. The building will be dedicated to late John McNeill who was a great mentor and supporter of Himanchal Education Foundation. Below is the boy’s dormatory.

Temporary classroomsl in Pokhari

Orphan Scholarship

Friends from Omaha and Texas donated $1,200 to provide a full scholarship for one student orphaned by the earthquake. Mahabir has received applications from the relatives of 8 students from different villages. He will select one student who has lost both parents in the earthquake after he visits the families.


As 2015 draws to a close we are thankful for all contributions you have made to HEF. Our priorities continue to be to promote economic development, educational initiatives and the health and well-being of the residents of the Nangi area. The earthquake and economic conditions in Nepal are a challenge but we look forward to a productive future with the resources we have been given.

Our best to you in 2016!

HEF Board of Directors

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Volunteer from California, USA Expresses Gratitude

November 5th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments

The following is an edited excerpt from a recent volunteer’s letter sent to the HEF team in Nepal. Crystal taught a way-finding and GPS class to the guides working for the Annapurna Dhaulagiri Community Trek Project

Volunteers, such as Crystal, make a difference. Think about bringing your skills to our school and community villages. Contact Dr. Debra Stoner:

Namaste Chitra,
I wanted to thank you and everyone in the Nangi village and HEF for the amazing experience I had at the Nangi village teaching the compass/ map/ GPS guides course, helping out in the school and going on the trek with Prem.  It was a very rich and rewarding experience.  You took such great care of me. I really felt part of your community.  Thank you!

I would love to stay involved with the guides and geocaching, as well as help promote the Community Village Trek in anyway that I can.  I really think you have a unique opportunity to share your culture and way of life with tourists while contributing to the local economy of the villages.  Based on my discussions with tourists I’ve met here in Nepal, many travelers are looking for this type of experience.  Let’s stay in touch about ideas to continue to work together.

Prem was an excellent guide.  He is very knowledgeable about the area and the Magar culture and communicates. I learned so much and took lots and lots of notes.  I would like to write a few articles for publish in local newspapers at home in California, maybe travel magazines and for your website or marketing describing my experience both in the village and on the trek.  I would also like to learn more about the history, traditions and culture of the Magar people in your area.

During the guides course, I was impressed by how quickly the guides learned the compass, map and GPS equipment.  I hope they can continue to use these skills in their work.
Prem became proficient with the GPS and geocaching concept while we were trekking and I think he can help teach new guides in your program.  We took GPS points in all the villages we visited and other points of interest along our 9 day trek and I helped him download the data on his computer.  .

When I get home, I plan to do a slide show presentation about my experience at Nangi and Community Trek for my local community and schools.
Overall I was very impressed by the Nangi village, your community programs, and your dedication to improve the welfare of all your community members. It is very inspiring.  I would like to continue to be involved from abroad and come back and contribute more to the village and community trek project in whatever capacity I can.

Please be in touch and thanks again for an unforgettable experience.

With gratitude,


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October 17th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments

Ajay Rai, a friend of Mahabir Pun and fellow UNK graduate, formed a non-profit organization called Tee For Nepal Help Foundation from his home in San Antonio, Texas. The goal of the foundation is to generate funds to support education in rural Nepal through the game of golf.
After learning of Dr. Leonard Skov’s persistent efforts to raise funds through Himanchal Education Foundation, Ajay decided to make a difference and organize a golf event in the Nepalese community. On August 8th, 2015 the inaugural golf tournament was held in Omaha, Nebraska. Families joined the golfers to socialize that evening with over 200 in attendance. Mahabir Pun and Dr Ron Konecny, HEF board president, presented awards to the golfers.

With the combined efforts from the Tee For Nepal Help Foundation, the Nebraska Nepalese Society, and the Omaha Nepalese community, over $6000 USD was raised for HEF. Plans are being made for the foundation to hold a yearly event in other locations throughout the USA to support HEF and other educational programs in rural Nepal.

A big thank you to all who volunteered or donated items especially Ajay Rai, Bhim Rai, Gyanendra BC, Ajit Adhikary, Ramesh Adhikari, Deva Raj Kandel, Surendra Achaya, Binaya Regmi, and PJ Basnyat. A special thank you to the Nepalese women who organized a ladies night out to raise funds and to the families who prepared momos and biryani to sell.


Nepal Open in Nebraska


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August 8th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments

Prepared by Chitra Pun, Field Manager for HEF.

I am very happy to get an opportunity to acknowledge about Community Managed Eco Trail and its progress in 2014.

We held a meeting of communities’ in Khibang village on the 25th December 2014 to distribute money that was earned during the last tourism season of 2014. In the fall season, there were more than 200 trekkers who trekked in our area. In the meeting, people participated from Banskharka, Dandakateri, Nangi, Aula, Tikot, and Khibang villages. In these villages, community dining halls with a home stay and community lodges for trekkers are run by the local communities.

The meeting was conducted under the chairmanship of Vice-chairman, Mr. Thakraj Pun, of The Annapurna Dhaulagiri Community Eco-Tourism Development and Promotion Organization.

Name list of members who attended the meeting

  1. Mr. Raman Pun
  2. Mr. Raman Pun
  3. Mr. Tek Khoraja
  4. Miss Pok Maya Purja
  5. Mrs Bina Paija
  6. Miss Milan Garbuja
  7. Mr Yam Garbuja
  8. Mr. Am Bahadur Purja
  9. Mr. Hari Pun
  10. Mr. Gem Pun
  11. Mr Chitra Pun

Villagers from different village

The trekkers were from different countries including but not limited to the USA, Australia, Germany, Israel, France, UK, Sweden, Switzerland, and China. Trekkers experienced making handmade lokta paper; cheese making; Pun Magar’s traditional cultural dance; school and village tours.

Through the local garden programs, we were able to feed the trekkers fresh and organic vegetables produced in the villages.

  ADCETDEPOmeetingYakhotel_2014 (1) IMG_8977 IMG_9484 IMG_9642

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Korean Students Donate for Earthquake Relief

July 18th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments

Students from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) raised and donated $6129 USD for earthquake relief. They are supporting the rebuilding of a school in one of the districts affected by the April 2015 earthquake. The KAIST student group, Engineers Without Borders (EWB), took the initiative and spearheaded the fund raising with the KAIST Undergraduate Council and International Scholar and Student Services.

KAIST is a prestigious Korean university and the most respected Professor Tae – Ho Song heads the team. Working with Dr. Mahabir Pun’s Nepal Wireless organization, Dr. Song brought teams of 15 undergraduate and graduate engineering students to Nepal in January 2014 and 2015 to conduct projects. These have included the installation of a solar water pump in Mohare, installation of solar power in Nangi school, building a solar and wood heated drying house, installing small hydro generators, and educational activities with the students.


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Articles Worth Reading

July 1st, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments

David Citrin, PhD, MPH wrote a well constructed article about disaster relief in Nepal for Humanosphere. Read it here.

Melody Schreiber, a program manager at International Reporting Project, wrote about the earthquake effects on the Nepal health system. Read it here.

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More Small Donations…

June 24th, 2015 by Debra Stoner · No Comments

In lieu of gifts for a 60th birthday party my husband requested family and friends make a donation to HEF’s Earthquake Relief Fund. A jar was placed on a table with reminders of the earthquake….in small donations of $20, $30 and $50 USD…over $1300 USD was raised. Small donations add up to make a difference.


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