Whenever possible, our treks use local guides and porters, community lodges, and pass through local village development and women’s projects. We try to make sure each dollar you spend gets spread and shared to as many people as possible. Each trek directly impacts many local people and their families by providing healthy jobs to porters, drivers, workers and owners at restaurants, lodges, and farms. This income allows families to stay together in Nepal rather than going abroad for work. When we stay at community lodges, buy locally made paper and bags, and eat local food- the money goes to the schools, clinics, plant nurseries, and to skills development programs rather than to just one private family.
We will give back at least 10 percent of what you spend on the trek to sustainable projects. Some of the past and ongoing projects we support are:
Waste Reduction and Disposal Program
Women’s Skills Development
Paper Making, Cheese Making, and Yak Farming Projects
Cultural Dance Youth Programs
Other programs led by Mahabir Pun and the Himanchal Foundation seen at Himanchal.org
Some of our ideas for future projects are:
A research study across all regions and castes of Nepal and follow-up program for pregnancy and birth care based on the interests of the women and children. This may involve, depending on the outcome of the research, having local and international midwives lead workshops to train local women to provide safe care for pregnant and laboring mothers in their own homes. Currently, the UN bribes pregnant women with a substantial amount of money to give birth in a clinic or hospital rather than their own home. These clinics are often hours or days walks away and this type of travel is unsafe for a woman in labor or post labor as well as exposes the mother and baby to sick people and unclean places. It also hands over control of the birth experience to someone else rather than empowering the woman to trust her own body, listen to the rhythms of the baby, and use the time-tested and non-invasive advice of the midwife. If babies are welcomed peacefully into the world and women can know the strength of their creative power, a new world will emerge.
Another project is starting an Indigenous University where people from all over the world can come to learn sustainable and artistic ways of life, including low-impact and local building construction, healing herbs and rituals, dance, music, art, organic agriculture, and much more. Ideally this would partner with communities across the globe. This is in response to the desire to ‘educate’ poor villagers by sending them to western-style schools in cities around the world.
A local nutrition program in villages where kids are taught from a young age the benefits of eating local vegetables, fruits, grains, and meat and less packaged, processed, and sugared food. This respect and care for one’s own body would hopefully also help reduce alcoholism and tobacco addiction.
We have lots of other ideas and would love yours too! I encourage you to really look at why you want to help someone and the whole situation around it.
We also happily accept donations for these projects or ideas for new projects.
We aim to be as holistic as possible with ‘solutions’ to any ‘problems.’ Many organizations and individuals try to help others and it ends up making things far worse. As a small example, instead of bringing toothbrushes to villagers (which would inevitably end up in the river after a few months), we encourage healthy eating habits with less sugar and packaged foods, discourage smoking /tobacco use, and educate the younger generations about native plants that can be used to clean the teeth. We refrain from judging these ancient cultures as good or bad or backward and see them for the perfect reality they are. When I see trash around me, instead of getting upset and judgmental, it is a reminder to me not to buy packaged food, and that there is no ‘away’ even when I ‘properly’ throw something away, and to be a walking example of sustainability myself. It is easy to look at a woman in her mud-floor hut, boiling potatoes over a fire on the ground, with wrinkles far beyond her years, and almost nothing in her home and feel sorry for this poor woman. It takes more observation and inner reflection to see her joy and the wonderful life she is blessed with and to learn from her. We are not anyone’s saviors no matter how much money and stuff we have accumulated and how little someone else has. We can learn from everyone and accept gifts from anyone. The best gifts are attention, love, gratitude, joy, and understanding. Whenever we give something to someone, we receive far more. Whenever we teach someone something, we learn far more.
We will happily give and support projects but not to boost our own ego and our own motives. Please contact us if you are interested in donating time or money and we will pick or create the right project so you can know your gift is an honest reflection of life’s beautiful abundance.