We first encountered Diraj and Biraj when they were just toddlers. Every morning, their mom would leave them at the Bus Park so she could go to work. Each day, they’d roam around Pokhara, sometimes showing up outside our Drop-In-Centre—often filthy and barely clothed. Though shy at first, they eventually came inside to play.
After years of living on the streets, these brothers started coming to the shelter where our staff could provide increased care. Their mom was so glad that Himalayan Life (HL) was taking care of the boys. She herself was working to overcome multiple barriers and didn’t have the capacity to look after her sons.
When HL opened the Street to School (S2S) home, Diraj and Biraj were some of the first children to move in. Here they have been loved and cared for while tasting the power of formal education for the first time.
Just as the program name suggests, Diraj and Biraj have moved from street to school. They’ve traded in their lives of glue sniffing, hurt and darkness for pencils, healing and life! They have moved from not life to life.
This is the story of dozens of children whose lives are changed because of your partnership with Himalayan Life. Thank you! We couldn’t bring new life without your compassion and support. Please enjoy this update and report. I invite you to stay in touch by contacting me directly at [email protected].
Daniel Burgi, CEO
New Life In Pokhara
Himalayan Life offers comprehensive programs that meet the diverse needs of children in Pokhara, Nepal. Whether kids are searching the streets for scraps to sell for their survival, trapped in the cyclical poverty of Pokhara’s slums, or pursuing their first official education experience, our mission is always to protect, nurture, and educate these children—no matter their circumstance.
30 kids received care and a hot meal from our Street Children’s Drop-In Centre every day.
20 boys got a hot meal and safe place to sleep in our Street Children’s Shelter each night.
45 children left the street for a new life of love, education, and hope with S2S.
5 teenage boys learned to live independent adult lives at our Halfway House.
400 kids received food, fun programs, and love each week in our Community Programs.
650 kids attended Uni-hockey weekly, gaining skills, holistic health, and new opportunities.
120 kids thrived in our Mountain Biking Program.
A place to call Home in ulleri
In some parts of rural Nepal, it’s not uncommon for couples to drift together and apart with seeming ease. When parents begin a new relationship, children from previous marriages are often left behind, forced to fend for themselves. Himalayan Life’s Children’s Home in the rural village of Ulleri is a safe and caring place for these abandoned children.
Housing was provided for 23 children at the Ulleri Children’s Home. In addition, we’re currently in the process of welcoming five new children! And we are thrilled that the five teenagers who graduated from the home are now pursuing careers and post-secondary education.
Building Young Minds in Yangri
In 2015, an earthquake ravaged the Yangri Valley, claiming hundreds of lives and destroying every home in the village.
Afterwards, Himalayan Life helped rebuild the community by building a brand new school and hostel. This new school provides a stimulating environment for learning, meeting the holistic need of each student. Here, teachers are excited about education! In each classroom, teachers help both academically-gifted students and those who struggle, coming alongside each student to help every child reach their brightest potential.
An excited group of 102 children were enrolled at Yangri Academic Centre (YAC) in April 2018. For all of them, this was their first taste of consistent, formal education! In addition, 65 of the students were housed in our YAC Hostel, where they received care and support.
In April 2019, we added four new classrooms, a dormitory, dining facilities and a kitchen to YAC, helping educate, house and feed 40 new students.
A group of 20 women from Yangri Village are learning to read and write Nepali through our informal education classes. The age-range of our students—spanning from the early 20s to mid 60s!—makes for a vibrant learning space.
I was sponsored by someone so that I could do my education. When I was thinking about what to do as a career, I realized that although I could not financially support someone like me to go through school, I wanted to use my education and work to help give education for others. That is why I like my job as a teacher with Himalayan Life.”
SHANTI AND ANITA’S BRIGHT FUTURE
When the earthquake hit Yangri three years ago, Shanti and Anita’s school was completely destroyed. With nowhere else to attend, these sisters spent three full years without formal education. But after our Yangri Academic Centre (YAC) was built last year, their mom enrolled them in our Himalayan Life school, where they’ve been learning ever since.
Ten years ago, Shanti and Anita’s dad was unfairly taken from the family’s home. He’d been falsely accused of a crime he did not commit. After witnessing a brawl in their rural village, their father had attempted to help a badly injured man. Walking nearly seven hours, Shanti and Anita’s dad carried this wounded man to the closest health post. But by the time they arrived, the man had lost consciousness. Despite the doctors’ attempts to save his life, he died.
When the police came, they asked Shanti and Anita’s dad to sign a piece of paper. That’s when Shanti and Anita’s dad was arrested for murder. Although completely innocent, being illiterate, Shanti and Anita’s dad had unknowingly signed a confession. He was powerless in this unjust situation, and remains in jail to this day.
Because of this, Shanti and Anita’s mom is desperate for her girls to have a different future. “What happened to my husband must never happen to my children,” she told us. She understands the critical importance of education and sees our school as a step towards a brighter future for her family.
At the Year End Assembly, Shanti received the Student of the Year award. What an incredible joyful and proud moment for her family! Thanks to you, Shanti is thriving at YAC, living into a brighter tomorrow.
FINDING HOME IN LADAKH
Far away from their homes and communities, thousands of Nepalese migrant workers have been forced into bonded labour in India’s mountain district of Ladakh. Even though it’s freezing in this harsh climate, workers often live in nothing but a labour camp tent. At times, whole families live within these thin, fabric walls. Thanks to your support, Himalayan Life is giving these children a warm home and an education, thus breaking the cycle of bondage into which they were born.
A lively 73 children (32 girls, 41 boys) are being educated and housed in our children’s home in Ladakh, India.
“I love the friend circle we have in this hostel. Each friend is really supportive and they are all very caring so I love that the most.”
– Nyima, 15
Enhancing Life in Chitwan
Children from poor families in Nepal do not have many extra-curricular opportunities. One of the ways Himalayan Life seeks to give life to children is by offering hockey, art, and adventure programs. Himalayan Life Chitwan, in southern Nepal, touches the lives of hundreds of kids on a weekly basis through these programs.
Over 300 boys and girls participated in weekly day camps and over 240 kids joined the hockey programs each week.
FINANCIAL OVERVIEW (2018/19)
HIMALAYAN LIFE INTERNATIONAL REVENUE
HIMALAYAN LIFE INTERNATIONAL EXPENSES
BUSINESS FOR GOOD
HIMALAYAN LIFE PLASTICS
Himalayan Life Plastics is a vibrant social enterprise in Pokhara, alleviating poverty while also stewarding the environment. Every year, we recycle 60 million bottles and provide employment for over 70 staff and dozens of families. Any additional profit raised by HL Plastics is invested back into protecting, nurturing and educating disadvantaged children in the Himalayas. This initiative’s story is one of transformation and hope—truly a business for good! Additionally, we run a Vocational Training Program out of the facilities for 12 former street boys who are being trained in electrical, plumbing, carpentry and other trades.
We are a Christian charity that exists to enhance the lives of children in the Himalayas. Through protecting, nurturing and educating children, we aim to move them from a place of not life to life.
The stories in these pages wouldn’t be possible without your faithful support, which brings hope and transformation every day. We’re grateful for your encouragement and generosity last year! Your big-hearted partnership brought disadvantaged children in the Himalayas from a place of not life to life. So thank you for the part that you play in making these programs flourish.
This past year, you helped serve 2,085 children through all of our programs. Of these, 231 children were provided homes! In addition, through these programs, you helped provide over 300,000 meals. Thank you for supporting and encouraging the 141 amazing Nepalese staff who love these children daily.