TRAVEL WITH SOCIAL CAUSE

The Project

The core idea that brought into existence this project was to offer a traveller Nepal’s most attractive assets – unforgettable adventure in the gorgeous Himalayas, with the possibility of bringing a change by contributing to a social cause at the same time.

Be the change you would like to see in the world – those iconic words of great Mahatma Gandhi can be implemented in daily life by ordinary humble people like us. Combining it, in addition, with breathtaking mountain experience in one of the world’s most spectacular natural scenery of a stunning beauty. This is what this project is about.

As we learn from Muhammad Yunus, the money spent on charity doesn‘t recycle itself, being usually a one-time investment. And it is hard not to agree with him. Unless the donation supports a sustainable project that will last in time.

A proper and successful approach consists of supporting solid, consistent projects that provide opportunities rather than bread for today and hunger for tomorrow.

Apart from an adequate conceptual approach, it is also a matter of personal attitude. – Empathy and compassion but not pity and patronization would be the right driving force for everyone undertaking social projects – that is what so many exceptional and visionary Nepali women, social workers, have taught us.
A typical photograph of a dirty homeless child with tears filled puppy eyes to inspire guilt and pity in the haves for the have-nots is a tool too often used to compensate the lack of holistic, constructive and lasting projects by emotionally blackmailing the general public. If you dont feel like you should give something back to the society, you may simply give forward. There are two ways of spreading light… be the candle or the mirror that reflects it, as Edith Wharton wrote.

The projects we will support are going to be chosen very carefully. There are thousands of NGOs in Nepal, so the guidance on which of them are working in a transparent, honest and efficient way is a must. The reliability of our recommendations is assured by our expertise in the field of cooperation, gained by working for years in the aid sector and studying its nuances from a very close distance.

We decided to target Nepali women and children, being the most vulnerable in the society. We will therefore dedicate our efforts mainly to empower THEM.

Our social commitment consists not only of supporting people in need but also of taking a proper care of our staff – all our guides and porters are insured and we converted seasonal field staff into full-time paid employees, providing them with a regular source of income, which represents finantial safety and security for them and their families.
Another aspect of our social responsibility is being respectful with the natural and cultural environment by minimizing the negative impact on the ecosystems and within the tribal groups in the communities we work.

Our first social project and current initiatives are focused on providing assistance to the victims of an enormous calamity, the earthquake of April 25, 2015, the two huge aftershocks and over 350 further jolts of smaller magnitude, that devastated Nepal causing unprecedented human and material losses. Also in the village of Haku.

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PHOTO: Haku village
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Healing Haku

Haku is a village perched on a hillside, a 4-hour walk from Dhunche, district of Rasuwa. Its inhabitants belong to the ethnic group of Tamang.

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PHOTO: Tamang people from Haku village
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Almost all of Haku’s 718 families suffered immense damages due to dry landslides caused by the tremor. At least 58 people lost their lives, 95% of the houses were destroyed. The people, the majority being farmers, lost not only their properties and crops but also farmland – their only source of income.

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PHOTO: A man on the rubble of his house
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The village is no longer habitable and due to a very high risk of further landslides the people have been relocated temporarily to refugee camps in Dhunche, Noubise and Kirtipur. The forced change of environment (in terms of climate, ethnicity, spoken language) is hard to adapt to, especially for the elders.

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PHOTO: Dhunche. Temporary camp for displaced people from Haku
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The displaced people of Haku are yet to be appointed a suitable place for permanent settlement by the government. In the meantime, the villagers are in dire need of any kind of assistance as they are no longer self-reliant but depend on external help.

In the first few phases of this project rescue, relief and rehabilitation works have been conducted, such as: rescue of the injured ones and recovering bodies from the rubble, as well as the delivery of food supplies, hygiene items, water filters, tarpaulins, solar panels and clothes.

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PHOTO: Distribution of relief materials for the people of Haku
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Further assistance consisted of setting up schools for Haku children so that they could continue their interrupted education, providing them educational materials, stationery, bags, uniforms, etc.

The next phase of the Healing Haku Project requires, among other things, income generating programs for people in productive age.

Lack of income generating activities and opportunities to make their livelihood are the greatest challenges for the people of Haku. The farmers, before the earthquake self-reliant and hard-working, now depend entirely on external help and spend their days in the camps, jobless, desperate and depressed. This situation affects not only their economic condition but also their dignity. It is urgent to provide them with training, tools and raw materials, according to their skills (knitting, weaving, carpentry, welding, masonry, etc.), enabling them to engage in activities that would keep them busy and soon start generating income.
Among the children in the camps some have lost both their parents, others their mothers. Due to the lack of job opportunities, some fathers of half-orphans are planning to leave for employment abroad, leaving their children behind will increase their vulnerability to human trafficking, already strongly rooted in Nepal. The social cost of foreign employment will now become even higher than before the earthquake, while manpower is so much needed within the country, to rebuild it.

Other burning needs comprise of warm clothes for the children to protect them from cold as in the hill and mountain areas winter starts early, as well as gas cylinders and stoves for cooking – right now firewood is being used in the camps for this purpose but during the rainy season the wood is wet and hardly useable.

Every single initiative to be undertaken is very thoroughly discussed by our Team and consulted with the refugees, in order to respond to the people’s needs in the most wise and efficient way possible. We are in constant communication with the Haku villagers which helps us to understand better their challenging and complex situation and requirements. We are deeply involved and committed to bring them back their self-reliance. Last but not least, we act fast and implement every stage of the project without sluggishness.

For more information about the Healing Haku Project please visit:
https://www.facebook.com/healinghaku
http://trekkingexperts.com/our-csr
http://epaper.thehimalayantimes.com/epapermain.aspx?queryed=9&eddate=05/31/2015(Page8)

Travel With Social Cause