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Update from the Himalayas

Dear Friends of Himalayan Life,

For those of you I have not had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Nicole Claassen. I have been working for Himalayan Life for the past two and a bit years, supporting with communication, administration and program liaison work. One aspect of my work is to collect and summarize data from each project and compile Quarterly Reports across the organization. My favourite part of this is reading the stories of transformation from each project. Even though I am currently working from my home office, this allows me to feel the pulse on the ground. Today I would like to share a story of transformation.

Jevan*, is a Class 1 student at the Yangri Academic Centre. During my first visit to Yangri in 2018, Jevan stood out because of his infectious joy and how he was always found laughing and playing with friends. However, developmentally, Jevan was struggling with his speech. He could make many sounds with much intention, but it was obvious that he was struggling with forming words. The teachers and YAC leadership team shared concerns about his delayed speech and how they could best support his learning.

As you have likely experienced, COVID has shut down and restricted many things. Yet Zoom and other online platforms of communicating have grown immensely, enhancing our ability to connect with those far away. The Yangri Valley is no exception for this growth!

Because of the adoption of Zoom, the YAC leadership team was able to set up a meeting with two Speech Therapists from the Green Pastures Hospital in Pokhara to evaluate Jevan. Through this assessment, it was revealed that he had a Cleft Palate, which was why he had such difficulty communicating! The Speech Therapists connected him with an NGO in Kathmandu that conducts Cleft Palate surgeries for free. Within two weeks of the initial assessment, Jevan was in surgery!

Last week, Jevan returned to YAC and is recovering well. He has received funding to have continued virtual speech therapy sessions with the two clinicians in Pokhara, which he started last Tuesday. I am eagerly anticipating the day when I can make it back to Yangri to be able to hear Jevan’s joyful spirit come alive when he can sing and chat with his friends for the first time.

Although this season has brought so much hardship for people around the world, I am thankful for stories like Jevan’s, hidden gems in the darkness that remind us to hope and seek out the light!

As always, we are thankful for your continued support for the work of Himalayan Life. It is so great that as a HL Family we can rejoice in these stories of transformation together!



Communications Manager and Program Liaison | Himalayan Life

*name changed for privacy