Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Australian Himalayan Foundation

From the initial stages of our trip organisation it was agreed that as a group we would like to give something back to the community that we would be visiting. There were many emails back and forwards discussing how we would do this. Some of them were suggestions of raising money and taking it to an identified community in Nepal, assisting with education of girls, teacher training or purchasing equipment for schools etc. Eventually, a consensus was reached that we should contribute something towards the future education of the Nepalese children.

One of our group attended a fund raising dinner for the Australian Himalayan Foundation in Melbourne and spoke to some of the organisers of this foundation. This was the turning point for our fundraising focus and we decided to work with The Australian Himalayan Foundation. The aims of this foundation appealed to all our group members.

The Foundation focuses on sustainability and empowerment for the people of the Himalaya. It is about ensuring, through assistance with administration, project management, training and monitoring, that the projects are set up and managed in such a way as to be viable and truly sustainable.Equally important is making sure that the local communities are empowered and equipped to manage and support the projects, sustainably and inclusively.

There were two projects that our group considered supporting (School for Schools, and Teacher Training in the Shadow of Everest). After a few more emails, it was decided that we felt the program that would be the most valuable for a sustainable future for the children of Nepal was the Teacher Training program. This program brings together teachers from all the Nepalese schools in their school holidays for a week long camp run by volunteer Australian Teachers. In this camp the teachers receive coaching and advice on quality teaching methods.

The program also selects the more promising of these teachers and puts them into another week of training to assist them gain the necessary skills and leadership qualities to assure that they can pass this information to other teachers and provide the best opportunity for quality education in Nepalese schools.
Decision made it was now time for each of us to decide how we were going to raise funds to contribute to this program.

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