Welcome to Himanchal Education Foundation. We are a non-profit corporation based in the US. Our goal is to support Himanchal High School in the remote village of Nangi, Nepal, a school that is a prototype for community-based educational development in rural areas.
With help from volunteers all across the world, today our school supports grades K through 12, including a computer lab with Internet connnection. We welcome you to hear the story of our journey and stay connected with it in the future.
We will greatly appreciate hearing from you. Please send an email to contact-at-himanchal-dot-org with your contact information including email. We will send you our quarterly newsletter with all the latest news and updates on all the projects. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed of this site.
Himanchal Education Foundation would like to introduce our newest Board of Directors member, Dr. Patrick Gray. Patrick joined HEF two months ago after graduating from Yale University last year with a Ph. D. in English and Renaissance Studies. He is a former HEF volunteer first going to Nangi twelve years ago, after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He taught English at Himanchal High School for an academic year, from the fall of 2000 to the spring of 2001. Patrick continued his studies but always coveted a desire to return to Nangi or find a way to serve the school. Please click on the right hand link under Meet Our Board to read more about Patrick.
Report of the Activities and Successes of Himanchal High School, Nangi – Nepal July, 2012
Students graduated from the school:
The eighth grade in Himanchal High School was started in 1993 after Mahabir Pun went to the village. The first batch of students, who sat for the national level examination of 10th grade, was in 1995.The national level examination is called School Leaving Certificate (SLC) and it is considered as the “Iron Gate” for the students in Nepal.Total number of students, who passed the SLC examination until now is 292 (169 girls and 123 boys) from 1995 to 2011. We had started 11th in 2003 and 12th grade class in 2004. The total number of students, who passed the final examination of 12th grade until 2011, is 178 (88 girls and 90 boys). The school has been trying its best to keep records of the students after they complete their education at Himanchal High School although it is difficult to keep track of them in Nepal. According to our records, 3 students have completed Master degree and six of them are studying Masters Degree. 7 of them have completed bachelor degree and 30 of them are either doing their bachelors degree or have completed part of their bachelor degree. 22 former students of Himanchal are now teaching in different schools as a teacher. Some of the students are working as trekking guide and cook in Nepal.
Handmade Paper Making Project:
Paper making has been a successful project of Himanchal High School. Every year we use more than 300 Kg of raw material to make paper. We make different products from paper such as note books, shopping bags and envelopes. Sarah from Australia, who was a volunteer in Nangi few years ago, helps to sell paper product in Australia. We are selling approximately 600 note books per year in Australia.
Women making paper in Nangi.
Paper notebooks made in Nangi.
The Schult family from Singapore is helping to sell wine bag and gift bag made from the paper in Singapore. In June 2012, they took 1,200 wine bags and gift bags. Some demands of the paper bags have also come from the US as well. Until now, we have sold paper products worth about $3,500.The paper making project has created seasonal job opportunity for 12 women and is generating some income for the school. Now we provided training for women to make beads from paper and sell in the market.
Yak farm and Crossbreeding farm:
Nangi village had started a Yak farm with another village called Paudwar in 1997. Now there are 160 Yaks in the farm. The two schools are sharing the income that comes by selling yak butter, yak meat and yak blood. The yearly net income from the yak farm is around $1,500. One Yak can be sold for about $250. Also we have started Yak and cow crossbreeding farm and there are 25 cross breeds now.
Yak farm in Khopra Ridge.
Cross breeds of yak and cow.
The crossbreed of Yak and cow are used as pack animals and they give more milk. We also sell the cross breeds for meat to the villagers. We are planning to start a small scale cheese making plant from the milk of the cross breed in future.
Community Managed Tourist Lodge Project:
As part of the community managed trekking program run in Nangi region, twocommunity lodges were built by Himanchal High School in two places. One lodge is in Nangi village and another is in Mohare Danda. It was built with the partial financial support of United Nations Development Program. The total cost was about $50,000 and the community had to share 40% of the construction cost. The lodges were completed in the spring of 2011 and trekkers have started to come through the new trekking trail. Most of the trekkers stay in Nangi for two nights and visit the school and different projects run by the school. The net income from the lodges goes to support the school and the health clinic in Nangi.
Lodge in Nangi.
Lodge in Mohare.
The Schult family from Singapore has supported to build hot showers in Nangi lodge and guest house. In June 2012, they also put rain water collection tanks and water treatment system in Mohare lodge. The trekkers will be able to use the treated water.
So far 110 trekkers in total have come through the new trekking route in 2011 and 2012. The net income from the lodges so far is about $2,500. The trail is getting more popular because it is not crowded with trekkers like other popular trails in Nepal. We are getting booking from the trekking companies based in Kathmandu and abroad for the coming September, October, November and December trek.
New Hostel Building for the students under construction:
Himanchal High School had small hut type hostels for the students until now. It has started to build a new hostel for boys. The capacity of the new hostel is for 48 students. It has 17 rooms. 16 rooms are for students and one is for the teacher. The estimated cost for building the hostel building is about $21,000.
Hostel huts for Nangi students.
New hostel building under construction.
The District Education Office and Village Development Committee have provided about $13,000 and Nangi community needs to bear the rest of the cost. The building will be completed by October.
Construction of New Health Clinic Building in Nangi
There is no government clinic in Nangi village. Therefore Himanchal High School has also been running a health clinic from 1999 to provide health services to the villagers. Dr. Debra Stoner has been helping for the training and improvement of the clinic. There are three health workers working in the clinic now . Two of them are nurses and one is a dentist. The nurses have 18 months’ basic health and midwife training and the dentist has 3 year dental training. The health workers work in the clinic and also teach nursery and health classes in the school as well. The clinic is also equipped with internet and video conferencing system for tele-medicine. When there is some serious health problem, the health workers can consult with the doctors in Kathmandu through video conferencing system to help the patients.
Old clinic building will be new science lab.
Healthcare Worker-Rupa Pun
Healthcare Worker-Lila Pun
Dental technician-Chitra Pun
New clinic building and health training center.
Distribution of scholarship:
Himanchal High School had received $266 for scholarship from HEF in April 2012. The scholarship was distributed as follows. The simple criteria set to receive the scholarship were;
A) Very poor family background.
B) Well-disciplined and laborious
C) Good grades in the school tests
D) Either currently studying at Himanchal High School or studying in other schools after completing 12th grade in Nangi.
The list of the students, who got the scholarship are as follows. The photos are given above.
Mr. Prushottam Paudel: 2nd year Bachelor degree student at Dhaulagiri Multiple Campus, Baglung. He is former students of Himanchal High School. Scholarship amount Rs. 7,500 ($94)
Plan to start a three year health training program in Nangi village:
We are working on to start a three year health training program in Nangi village. It is called “Health Assistant” program in Nepal, which is approximately equivalent to community nurse or medical assistant program in the US. Now we are in the process of getting approval from the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) of the government of Nepal. Most of the theoretical classes of the training program will be taught by doctors and experts from Kathmandu Model Hospital in Kathmandu through video conferencing system. The clinical and practical parts of the program will be taught in the rural clinics and in Nangi. It is going to take some time to start the program because it has to go through various bureaucratic processes. The new clinic building will also be used as classrooms for the health training programs. We are looking for support to build science labs for the health training program.
Plan to start a college in Nangi village:
We are planning to build a 4 year college in Nangi in 2015. However, it is not an easy task to get done. We are not much worried about finding resources for building physical infrastructure such as class rooms and computer labs etc. We are more concerned for finding money to pay for the teachers. We are very much sure that the new trekking route and community lodges will bring some cash income to pay for the teachers, however, it will not be enough. We need supports from outside to run the college.
We are continuously looking for more ideas to start some more income producing projects for the future college. We don’t need to hire many fulltime teachers for the college because we will be using information and communication technology heavily for teaching in the classrooms by teachers living far away from Nangi. Technical infrastructure for tele-teaching has been already set up in Nangi using wireless technology. The wireless networking project that was initiated from Himanchal High School has been expanded in 145 villages of 15 districts of Nepal now.
Himanchal High School family appreciates very much for your support for teachers’ salary and for other projects. Without your support, it would have been impossible possible for us to hire enough teachers and bring the school to the situation where it is now. Thank you.
Himanchal High School 2001. There was nothing in this areas before 1990.
Himanchal High School 2010. More infrastructure has been added since this photograph was taken such as new clinic building and lodge.
Reported by: Mahabir Pun and Chitra Pun, Nangi Village, Nepal
My name is Kim and, along with my husband and four children, I’m a returning volunteer with Himanchal Education Foundation. Each spring we travel from our home in Singapore to Nangi and work on an engineering project designed to meet the energy needs of the village. These projects include solar hot water heaters, solar energy collection systems and solar light bulbs. Last summer we trekked up to the Community Lodge at Mohare to assess the possibility of installing a solar hot water heater for a shower. What we discovered was a trekking destination of unsurpassed beauty and magnificence but with no way to collect water. We decided to tackle the water collection problem first before we worried about installing a shower.
So this past June, during our annual Nepal trip, we spent a week in Mohare. We installed 10,000 L of water storage capacity. To collect and store the water, we installed gutters along both edges of the roof of the dining hall. These gutters feed into ten 1,000 L tanks for water collection and storage. Our kids had a great time cutting the gutters and putting the pipes together. We designed the system so that it will be easy to add more tanks to increase capacity to meet the growing needs of the Community Trekking Project. While we were there, the monsoon rains started. In one night, we collected about 5,000 L of water!
There are few who brave the trek to these remote areas during the summer monsoon season, but it’s an ideal time to collect the water. We were nervous about keeping the water safe to drink because it is actually collected during monsoon but consumed months later during the trekking season. The MIOX Corporation, http://www.miox.com, makes a system that converts a saltwater solution into mixed oxidants, which can be used to disinfect water and make it safe for drinking. Their BPS unit is portable, powered by a solar panel or battery and was used to disinfect water for victims of Hurricane Katrina. MIOX donated the unit to us in large part, and it will be used in Mohare to disinfect the water and to prevent a slimy layer from building up in the storage tanks. Using the MIOX unit will mean that the drinking water does not have to be boiled. This reduces the amount of wood or propane required along with the associated costs and environmental impact needed to boil drinking water.
Here is a picture of the installed system. A valuable lesson we have learned over the years is the necessity of working as a team with all the stakeholders in any given project. This project was no different and we included a needs assessment before initiating the project, valuable terrain and environmental data collected by the on-site Nepali team, a clear and concise project plan including materials and costs, building expertise from villagers, advice from the MIOX Corporation and our own experience in all stages of planning and implementation.
Now everyone can raise their water bottles and give a toast to good health and energy efficient water consumption thanks to the efforts of all involved. Namaste.
How can I volunteer if I’m not an English, Math or Science teacher? If you’ve wanted to volunteer in Nangi and asked yourself that question then I would like to introduce Jason, a volunteer from Australia. Jason is not a math, computer or English teacher but he is a skilled electrician who traveled to Nangi in May 2012 and put his electrician skills to work. He worked on two projects including upgrades to existing lighting and wiring for the hostel buildings and renovations on the roundhouse kitchens.
New kitchen light in volunteer roundhouse.
More on the roundhouse renovations will come later but here is what he had to say about his electrical work:
“I brought my own hand tools to do electrical work which included pliers, screwdrivers, knife, gloves, a Multimeter for power testing, electrical tape, and zip/cable ties. We also borrowed tools from Ramon, the local carpenter and the lodge cook such as saws, hammers, measuring tape, jigsaw, chisels and a plane. For rewiring of huts/hostel area we sourced extra hand tools for the students to use for helping with rewiring, including screwdrivers & pliers.”
Materials were ordered from Beni such as electrical cable, connectors, junction boxes, light globes and holders, light covers/reflectors and batten holders, main switches, circuit breakers, circuit switches, cable clips and rolls of electrical tape. When ordering supplies from Beni or Pokhara he advises: “be clear on what exactly you need, how much of it and why, when ordering materials…as the jeep transporting the materials can be delayed (weather, mechanical issues, etc.) and work on projects could be held up for days.”
Jason not only worked as an electrician but also taught and engaged students in the work as seen in the following comments: “The boys got new posts from the surrounding forest to replace some of the unsafe posts in the hostel area used for suspending the aerial wires and the outside communal lighting. We also used small lengths of plastic water pipe to place around the cables to protect them from rubbing against the roof sheeting on the students huts in areas were there was risk of the copper conductor being exposed and making contact with the roof sheeting causing them to become live.”
“The rewiring of the hostel area was urgently needed, it is now much easier to use, a whole lot safer for the students and teachers, and the entire system will be more reliable. Previously there had been issues with electrical fires but I’m confident that this shouldn’t be an issue anymore, the installation can now be easily upgraded if required and should also be sufficiently weather proofed so shall now be longer lasting. A few of the boys also got a lot of experience in electrical work.
New switchboard in the teachers' hut.
After I showed them how to do a few things correctly and better techniques (i.e. – stripping cable, twisting wires together, joining cables in connectors, assembling lights, running circuits, placing joins in junction boxes) they were keen to get into it and did quite a good job for the most part. The switchboard now has 5 individual switches for designated areas – Main hostel/library area, library supply, boys’ huts, girls’ huts and outside lights. So overall the students got experience in electrical work, and the installation is safer, more reliable and easier to use.”
Jason has multiple ideas and suggestions for future volunteers who are skilled electricians and is willing to share them with interested potential volunteers. You can contact me; Dr. Debra Stoner email@example.com and I will put you in touch with Jason. On a final note he talked about his goals and had this to say: “I definitely intend to return at some point in the future and do more of the same if possible, when this will happen I’ve no idea!”
No matter what your skills click on over to the volunteer section and start thinking of how you can bring your expertise to Nangi…become a volunteer like Jason and light up the world.
Have you seen the newer videos about Nangi village projects on YouTube? If not click on over and take a look. Former volunteer Michael, a photographer and videographer, created shorts on papermaking, yak breeding and the new school library.
Paper making video:
Yak breeding video:
Nangi library video:
Janita, from Australia, just returned from Nangi with her husband and two children. A longtime supporter of Mahabir and HEF she created a book about Mahabir Pun’s earlier years as he set about creating the school in Nangi and followed his passion to connect remote Nepali villages to the world via a wireless Internet system. It is available for purchase as an eBook for Apple users or in hard copy.
Mahabir’s plane touched down on tarmac with a view of mountains similar to his native Nepal. The cold dry air mimicked Nepal’s dry season in the high mountains but Mahabir was thousands of miles from home during a visit to Denver, Colorado.
On February 22, 2012 he gave a presentation to the medical students of the University of Colorado (UC) School of Medicine’s Center for Global Health. The 90 minute talk titled “Bridging Medical and Educational Gap in Nepal’s Isolated Villages via Wireless Internet” introduced students to the challenges of providing health care in austere environments.
That same evening he presented a similar talk to UC’s student group Engineers Without Borders in Boulder, Colorado. Mahabir outlined to the engineering students how they can help develop appropriate technologies in the rural areas of Nepal.
His final meeting in the mile high city was with “Bridges Between” an organization that focuses on women’s’ education in rural Nepal. The financial and technical issues of building a wireless network in Solukhumbu district of Nepal were discussed.
Mustering his well known endless energy Mahabir then flew to Kearney, Nebraska spending six days lecturing, networking and visiting supporters and old friends at his alma mater.
In less then one week he lectured to six University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) classes ranging from commerce to technology; developed plans with Good Samaritan Hospital TeleHealth staff and UNK School of Nursing for future TeleMedicine projects; provided an interview and commentary for the local newspaper; appeared on “Talk of the Town”, a local radio station; was interviewed for a Central Nebraska TV broadcast about his wireless projects; reviewed the progress of present projects with Himanchal Education Foundation supporters; met with community clubs such as the Kearney Dawn Rotary Club to speak about the success of his Nepal projects; and finally, acted as the gracious guest of honor at a reception hosted by the Dean of College of Education and attended by local Nepalese students.
Long time friends and supporters made every minute count before seeing Mahabir off on his long journey back to Nepal…a journey that started twenty years ago and still marches on fueled by the dreams and dedication of one man.
I put down the phone after the BOD meeting in December and laid my head on the table. Three board members; Jane Sabin-Davis, Jiwan Giri and Sandeep Giri had just resigned…board members who brought clear insights, experienced guidance and passion to HEF . This was a large bitter pill to swallow along with the fear that we were partially crippled by the loss of these dedicated and talented individuals. Why did they resign? Each had their own reasons.
Change was on the horizon and HEF could either keep it’s head down or embrace new opportunity. All organizations go through change…it is important to remember criticism and change are opportunity for improvement. So this is a call to all our supporters and former volunteers…HEF is looking for individuals to serve on the board of directors. But before starting the process of reorganization I thought it would be helpful to hear from the resigning BOD members. I asked each resigning BOD member to tell me about their work for HEF and why they resigned. One, Jane Sabin-Davis who worked with Chitra Pun Field Officer on income earning projects, stepped forward and sent the following reply which I have edited for reasons of clarity and space with her approval:
“I have a long history of non profit work both in the US and in Nepal. From 2000 to 2004 I worked in the Khumbu region and beginning in 2005 I served on the Board of Directors of the Himanchal Educational Foundation. Serving on a non-profit board in the US that operates in Nepal is a challenging adventure. In both non-profits I struggled meshing western expectations, such as having clear guidelines, fiscal transparency, and person-to-person clear communication with Nepali expectations. What I discovered is that there are Nepali organizations that understand the benefit of typical western operations and are invested in these values and many individuals and organizations that operate using typical Nepali customs that have worked for centuries. It is important that you find what fits with your values.”
“While serving on the Board of Directors, I primarily worked with Chitra Pun to support the income producing projects in Nangi. Chitra was hired by the HEF board; his job responsibilities were to support long established projects like the paper making and to further new projects such as cross breeding…I was the designated supervisor of Chitra but the community of Nangi was also his supervisor. This resulted in Chitra getting multi messages from each side of the Pacific and ended up with a very confusing situation…“
“When you think about joining the HEF board or other international boards, make sure that you clearly understand the mission, vision and established expectations. I joined this board to help increase the quality of life in Nepal by helping the villagers become self-sufficient through the income producing projects. It was my belief that if we teach skill sets, the community members would have their own income sources and not be reliant on the influx of western donations.
I would encourage any potential board members to learn as much as possible; you will need to be willing to spend time in Nepal, to learn about their culture and community, and to find how your expertise fits with the needs of Nangi.
I left the HEF Board due to differences in vision and am putting my skills to work with three local non-profits in Bend. Oregon.”
If you are interested in joining HEF BOD please contact Dr. Debra Stoner firstname.lastname@example.org We are looking for individuals with accounting experience, computer technician skills such as web design and blogging and NGO income earning project experience. Even if you do not fit this profile but feel you have a skill set that would blend with our mission please email and we can discuss your ideas.
As I sat in the dark, damp room, I heard chattering voices and the shuffle of paper all around me. I looked up to watch as razor blades were exchanged for rulers and a tub of glue was being passed around with a toothbrush in it for putting the glue on the paper’s seams.
The five Nepalese women I was working with were busily creasing, gluing and cutting their lokta paper. In a few short hours they had quickly picked up the ability to make several sizes of paper bags. As I taught them where to measure, cut and glue the paper, they followed along with me. Although I was the one who showed them how to make the bags, my output was steadily falling behind the number of bags that they were creating with their dexterous fingers and sharp eyes.
My name is Jessica and I am a senior high school student living in Singapore. For the past two years my family and I have gone to Nangi, Nepal, for a few weeks over the summer. The first year we went, we installed two solar water heaters so that the village can raise money for their school by charging hikers for taking showers when they trek through and stay at the new campground. Then this past summer, we helped to install a solar electric panel and battery system for the village’s new medical clinic. The clinic has medical and dental equipment , as well as a computer that has been set up to video conference with larger medical facilities. Since electricity in Nangi is not always reliable, having this source of energy will ensure that the clinic has a steady supply of electricity. Now Lila, Rupa, and Chitra will have the electricity that they need to take care of any illness or injury, no matter the circumstances.
Also this past year, as a more personal project, I taught several of the women in Nangi to make paper bags out of the lokta paper that they produce in the village. During our first trip in 2010, we noticed that the women made lots of beautiful paper, but, other than small journal books, there did not seem to be any other finished products to sell. At our home in Singapore, my mother and I sat and brainstormed ways to make their craftwork more easily sellable. One of our first ideas was to make paper bags. I figured out how to put a paper bag together from a piece of paper we had bought while in Nangi the previous summer, and after looking at the finished product, we knew that we had found just what we were looking for.
Over the summer, the women from Nangi and I made over 500 bags, which my family and I are now selling. We are selling them at the Singapore American School, where my siblings and I go to school. We are also looking into selling them on ebay. If anyone is interested in buying these bags (they would be great for holiday and birthday gifts!), please email me at email@example.com. We intend to donate all of the money we raise to the school in Nangi.
After a week of travel and sight seeing in Pokhara and Kathmandu, while worrying about a banda (strike), we arrived in Nangi. We had been planning this trip for a year and a half, planning to arrive one year ago. Our trip was put off due to political unrest.
Our projects for the next three weeks were simple and straight forward. Steph, a teacher, had brought tools to help the local teachers to better teach English Language skills. Tim, a physician, also brought teaching tools to review basic anatomy, physiology, and physical diagnosis with the health care workers in the village. It was most enjoyable to interact with Lila and Rupa, Nangi’s Health Care Workers. Steph totally enjoyed her work and interactions with the teachers at the school. She fell in love with the children and came away with great admiration for the hard work and dedication demonstrated by the staff. From our perspective the projects went well. W certainly learned a great deal and hope that we were able to impart some knowledge as well.
Our spare time was spent exploring the area, especially the Sacred Forest, which was introduced to us by our guide and go to person Chitra. Day hikes, a weekend to Mohare, and attending local celebrations added to the fun we experienced in Nangi.
But most of all we enjoyed meeting and interacting with the people of Nangi. In addition to Lila and Rupa, we thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated all that Hectumari, Ganga, Krishna, Chitra, Kishan, the paper ladies, the mushroom ladies, Moti and the nursery, and so many more faces for whom we cannot attach names, did to help make this a truly extraordinary experience.
The beautiful smiles from the children and the countless greetings
of “Namaste” will stay with us forever. Nangi has done remarkable jobs with the mushroom house, the paper making project, the nursery, the fishery, the cross-breeding project and connecting so many of its people with the outside world through the internet project. The cleanliness and organization of the village was far superior to that of other villages we visited. This, in no small part, was aided by containing the domestic animals and having in place a system for collecting and disposing of trash.
Both of us left Nangi with much gratitude to Himanchal Education Foundation for affording us this amazing life experience. Only our active personal and professional lives in the US keep us from spending more time there. We look forward to the possibility of rekindling our acquaintances in the future.
For those people considering a volunteer project in Nangi, we heartily encourage you to do so. Your project should, as ours, be simple, straightforward and aligned with the goals and vision of the village. Prior experience in a resource poor environment would be of much help in understanding they rhythms of the village life.
Nangi, Nepal: September 7, 2011: Author: Chitra Pun
The Dhaulagiri Technical School in Lete is spending three months in Nangi training 20 unskilled workers to be the new chefs in lodges along the Parbat/Khopra trails. There are two chefs Mr. Khadka Subba and Mr. Prasanta Gauchan and Mr. Amar G.C. is an English teacher.
The credit for this training goes to Mr Raman Pun, Headteacher at the Himanchal Secondary School, because he
successfully brought it to Nangi village. We were very stressed because we had to conduct a training before this fall season but we are happy that we could do it in time.
Dhaulagiri Technical School (DTS) is conducted under Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training of Nepal Government. Financial support for this training is by Asian Development Bank (ADB) through Skill for Employment Project (SEP).
Students will be taught to make local dishes from local food, along with continental dishes; their training includes theory and practical training. The students will take their new skills back to their home villages: two from Banskharka and Dandakateri, four from Nangi, one each from Dandkharka, Tikot, Khibang, Dhankharka, Khopra Danda, Pauduwar, Ramche, and five from Kaphaldanda village.