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Why I Am Biking for Altitude: Education is the Key to Transformation

When travelling to Ladakh in the Himalayas of North India for the first time some 15 years ago, I was astounded to find a workforce of thousands of Nepalese labourers there. It turned out that they had migrated from Nepal to India for reasons of massive economic hardship, and that many of them had in fact been sold into a situation of bonded labour. Exposed to the many dangers of working at high altitudes, they work incredibly hard and continue to live in extreme poverty.

Most of these migrant workers – who are really the slaves of the 21st century – are illiterate. They never had the chance to get an education, which is exactly what primed them for the situation they are in. 

While there is little that we can do to change their situation, there is in fact much we can do for their children, and it is simple enough: ensure that they can go to school.

Since 2007, Himalayan Life has been providing facilities for Nepalese children from disadvantaged backgrounds to receive an education. More than 300 children are enrolled at our homes and schools, and over a dozen have already graduated from high school and are now being supported for their higher education.

I firmly believe that education is the key to transformation. Through ALTITUDE, the ride in Ladakh, I want to highlight the need for education for the many families who still have no access to schooling for their children. It is an opportunity to experience in a very small way the perils of their plight: always exposed to high altitude, thin air, every step a step in the unknown, never inside your comfort zone

Daniel Burgi, CEO and Founder of Himalayan Life