Nepal’s cities are among the fastest growing cities in the world. Growing from 80,000 to over 300,000 inhabitants, the city of Pokhara, for example, has more than quadrupled in population over the past 15 years.
It is of little surprise, then, that the infrastructure in these cities is seriously lacking. Drinking water supply, electricity, garbage disposal, access to public health and schools – just about every single one of these and other services are lagging behind the ever increasing demand.
Likewise lacking is the availability of meaningful leisure activities for children. With schools focusing very narrowly on the intellectual development of the children, their social, communal, creative and emotional capabilities remain untapped and underdeveloped. Kids across the board – rich and poor, educated and uneducated, high and low caste alike – struggle to find formative programs which help them grow into responsible citizens who will make a meaningful contribution to the community.
In order to grow up and become independent, responsible citizens, children need to be protected, nurtured, and educated.
Protection of children from all sorts of harm is mainly the parents’ responsibility. Children do not yet have a clear understanding of the dangers that await them in life, dangers inherent in nature (drowning in water, being injured by fire, wildlife) or dangers resulting from modern society (traffic, machines). Additionally, children need to be protected from the ill-will of other human beings whose intentions might harm the children.
Education is understood to be the school’s responsibility. However, good education will go far beyond teaching the mind; it will also include educating the children socially, creatively, emotionally, spiritually, physically.
In addition to protection and education, children require nurture. Nurture is the loving care, the careful promotion of development and growth, and the encouragement and cultivation of good values in children. Parents, school, and community are joint stakeholders in nurturing the children.
Unfortunately, many families, schools and communities are dysfunctional and do not fulfil their mandate in the lives of the children. This results in further disfunctionality in young people, which in turn will be passed on to the next generation. The result is deterioration rather than development.
Himalayan life-Chitwan seeks to join hands with parents, schools, and communities in an effort to protect, nurture, and educate the children. We reach out to children with meaningful sports programs, arts programs, and adventure programs. The goal is to instill in the children a healthy level of self-understanding and self-confidence, teach them team integration, and help them develop sound values. All of this is to prepare them to take hold of their future role as responsible citizens with vision for their own lives, their families, their community, and their country.
With a background in scouting, Daniel and Karina Burgi started scouting programs in Nepal back in 1995. These programs have developed and morphed into a wide variety of day camp programs.
HimalayanLife staff, together with many volunteers, run the day camps at the HimalayanLife community center in Pokhara, in neighborhoods, as well as in the southern district of Chitwan. Thousands of kids participate in these programs on a weekly basis. Comradery, friendship, adventure, fun, games, sport, crafts, stories, laughter, learning life skills and being nurtured are the basic ingredients of these programs.
HimalayanLife introduced FLOOR-HOCKEY to Nepal in 2007. Material and coaching teams were brought in from Switzerland to train the Nepalese coaches. A hockey field was built on the HimalayanLife’s premises in Pokhara. This field has become the hub of the nes sport, which has grown like a virus. Thousands of kids are now playing, and dozens of teams are competing in the various leagues.
HimalayanLife teaches hockey in schools, neighbourhoods, and at the HimalayanLife community center. We have found hockey to be a wonderful and fun tool to reach out to the community.
Our fleet of 15 entry-level mountain bikes are perhaps the most extensively used bikes on the planet! Under the leadership of our staff, groups of kids go on rides every morning and evening. In this manner, some 200 kids can benefit from the bikes, working on skill and endurance. As they ride together, the enormous, and otherwise seemingly insurmountable socio-economic barriers between the kids break down. The low-caste street kid and the entrepreneur’s kid work together to reach that mountain top…
Moreover, the kids learn to service and repair the bikes. The program provides yet another avenue for street kids to learn transferable vocational skills.
Sport Programs & Day camps (Pokhara and Chitwan) – The project in a nutshell:
- Leisure programs for children of all walks of life.
- Scouting, sports, day camps, biking, hockey, and adventure programs.
- Re-integration of socially marginalized kids in society.
- Located in Pokhara and Chitwan, Nepal.
- Serving thousands of kids on a weekly basis.
- 11 competent and dedicated staff, supported by dozens of volunteers.
- Annual budget (2018): CAD 60,000.
- Incorporated under the Social Welfare Act with the Government of Nepal.
Project partner and supervision: HL-Switzerland.