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Message from the CEO

When Karina and I first arrived in Nepal 25 years ago, we settled in a small industrial town where I got busy very quickly. I was working in the field of design and implementation of small-scale hydro plants in rural areas.

Meanwhile, Karina scouted the neighbourhood. Not far from our house, she discovered a large shantytown where poverty, lethargy, and social dysfunction were overwhelming. As a teacher, Karina couldn’t help but notice the sheer neglect of the children and the fact that there were no schooling opportunities for them.

So we started a school in the slum. We named it ‘The Vineyard School’ with high hopes of a rich crop of fruit in terms of transformation within. We burned much midnight oil developing the curriculum and preparing lessons. Day after day Karina spent at the school in the slum, in the blistering heat of Nepal’s southern plain, investing herself in the lives of the children.

The school wasn’t successful. Poverty, with its ensuing material and social needs got in the way of education. The kids were too hungry to learn. They were simply too needy and too insecure because of broken family situations. We learned that education needs to go hand in hand with protecting and nurturing the children.

This is why Himalayan Life’s mandate is to protect, nurture, and educate children in the Himalayas. Aided by God’s grace, this is the path to transformation. Twenty-five years down the road, that’s who we are and what we do. Be it at our school in Yangri or the shelter for street children in Pokhara – we always strive for the children’s holistic development and, wherever possible, reach out to their entire families.

Within these pages, you will find stories of children being protected, nurtured and educated in the framework of our Himalayan Life projects. I wish to thank you for your support and friendship, which makes it possible for us to help children in need on their journey from not-life to life.

I invite you to stay in touch by contacting me directly at [email protected].

With gratitude,

Daniel Burgi, CEO


Himalayan Life’s Vocational Training Program for recovering street youth works within the framework of the Himalayan Life Plastics recycling plant. Some 50 million bottles get recycled here annually, and dozens of young people like Anil receive vocational skill training.

Who Even Cares?

By Daniel Burgi

Twelve years ago, after the civil war ended, homeless children began roaming the streets of Pokhara. Nobody liked those wild, filthy,  ill-smelling kids, searching for something to eat. They sought anything they could sell on the scrap market, often sniffing glue to numb the pain. Soon, those kids were publicly branded Kathe or filth.

As I befriended the children, they taught me one of their songs, about the reality of life on the street.  At nightfall, hiding from the public eye and the police, they would sing this song to the beat of the drum.

Who even cares – who knows the hunger we feel – who has tasted the darkness and loneliness of the night in the streets who has tried the ditch as their bed? Who will even hear the cry of us children in the streets – who even cares?


Countless times I listened, my heart overflowing through my eyes. Through words and actions we assured the kids that we at Himalayan Life did care, that they are NOT filth. That we would help and protect them.

First, we opened the Street Kitchen, where kids drop in for a warm meal and a break from street life. Then, the Shelter, where kids can spend the night in safety with our loving staff. The Vocational Training program was added for older kids who couldn’t go to school, and after, the Street-2-School homes for those kids who can. These programs have served to rescue and protect hundreds of street children, transforming their lives.

Today, I repeat the message from 12 years ago: I care. We care. We continue to stand with you. Our vision has not changed.  We dream of LIFE-TO-THE-FULL for street kids: A Life with purpose, hope, peace, faith, forgiveness, and love.

Nurturing Love

By Aksha Shreemal

Rikita BK’s first four years of life were ones marked with extreme hardship and pain.

Growing up in a tiny shack on the banks of the Seti River with her three siblings and her mother, Rikita and her family faced unbearable hunger. So unbearable that the older siblings, Subash and Prakash left home. Prakash found work as a domestic labourer while Subash ended up on the street. To provide for the family, Rikita’s mother left the two youngest children at home alone, for 3-4 days at a time while she worked.

Rikita, only four, begged for food with her younger brother Ridum, just a year and a half. They lay together alone at night in their shack; no lights, door, or adults to protect them.

Subash struggled with life in the streets, becoming highly addicted to sniffing glue. Fortunately, he found the Himalayan Life Street Kitchen and once he trusted staff enough, he transitioned to the Shelter. There, he shared information about the younger sister and brother he left behind. He was worried they had died of hunger.

HL staff searched for the shack and found the two children, both extremely weak and unable to walk due to severe starvation.

They bought them food, water and clean clothes. Both kids believed their mother was at work, but HL staff found out that she had left her children, for good. In the following days Rikita and Ridum were brought to the Shelter.

Rikita and Ridum have been at the Street-2-School home for five years now. They received shelter, food, water and clothing, but also emotional care. This nurturing love has allowed Rikita and Ridum to heal from childhood traumas and flourish in their new environments.

“At the shelter everybody loves and takes care of us,” Rikita said, “now we are going to school and have so many friends”

Education for Life

By Lila Sherpa

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela


When Himalayan Life began offering adult literacy classes in Yangri, 45-year-old Jyoti Tamang signed up immediately. Jyoti never had the chance to go to school yet always understood the power of education. That’s why, despite the indifference of her husband, all three of her children went to school.

Jyoti, knows what it means to be illiterate; always at a disadvantage as if blindfolded. Finally, this was HER chance to enter the world of education! However, this time, her husband was not just indifferent, but furious. What had bewitched his wife so much that she wanted to attend an hour-long class every day when there was work to be done?

Meanwhile, Jyoti learned to read and write, and do simple math. She learned about hygiene, health and nutrition, and because of her newly acquired education, positive changes entered the Tamang household.

Jyoti is no longer taken advantage of when shopping and can support her children better as they go through school. Her husband, having experienced the change in his family, now supports Jyoti as she continues her education.

Their youngest daughter, Kushi, is attending grade 5 at Himalayan Life’s Yangri Academic Center where she is motivated to work hard. The school’s values are not lost on Khushi either: she is inspired to integrate quality, integrity, hope and care in her own life, and aspires to be an agent of change.

Actually, she is an agent of change. Kushi and Jyoti’s continued education have been changing the trajectory of her family from a path marked by alcoholism, violence and despair, to a future filled with hope.

Total Impact of Himalayan Life Through the SDGs

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals recognize that ending poverty and injustice must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while caring for the planet.

Financial Overview

Financial Overview for Himalayan Life Internationally 2019/20

All funds are in Canadian dollars. Detailed audited statements are available upon request.

Mountain Plastic

Himalayan Life’s reach and impact are strengthened through partnerships. This year we launched Mountain Plastic with Everest climber and Seven Summiter, Joyce Azzam as our Himalayan Life ambassador. Mountain Plastic is Himalayan Life Plastic’s endeavour to sell recycled plastic to the shoe and activewear industry.

Mountain Plastic also allows us to help people and organizations go carbon neutral by offsetting. This past year we helped the Vancouver Mountain Film Festival and the Mission Central Conference go carbon neutral.


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 single day. We’re grateful for your encouragement and generosity!