Himalayan Spirit Academy is under public educational trust charitable organization which was founded by a group of trekking guides who were committed to improve health and education standards and the development of the remote areas of Nepal.
Nepal is one of the world’s most underdeveloped nations and it is predominately made up of small villages. The geography is varied: flat land in the south and quickly rising to steep hill country, culminating in most of the world’s greatest and highest mountains – Himalayas. In the central part of Nepal – known as the Dolakha District – you can find Japhe, as one of these small villages.
Japhe suffers from various social problems: it is extremely hard to survive face to the small scale of industry, lack of opportunities, subsistence’s dependence and the fact that daily jobs are lowly paid. It is a village where the population doesn’t have the opportunity of improving themselves due a lack of formal education and chances to get one.
HSA believes that education is the foundation of a successful life. A child today that has the benefit of education can progress in adult life with the ability to engage in all sorts of vocations – teachers, doctors, scientists, engineers and the list goes on.
Educated children will become responsible citizens that will devote themselves for a better society.
HSA wants to awake the spirit of the people who live in the remote areas of Nepal by educating them.
The Himalayan Spirit Academy was registered in the Office of Company Register having a register office in Japhe, Dolakha District, on 20th December of 2010 (2067/09/05), company not distributing profit. It was registered by the tax office and, it is register and upgraded by the Ministry of Education every year. These are the regulating bodies that control all school’s activities in Nepal.
HSA head office is in Japhe-7, Dolakha District, in the Janakpur area – central Nepal – this is where our educational project is been conducted.
HSA also has an office in Kathmandu.
How we started.
As trekking guides, the HSA team is constantly traveling to various destinations in Nepal during the trekking season. Our team constantly, thinks and talks about people’s situations and their difficulties, developing our focus is on those who are living in the remote areas of the countryside.
Each of the trekking guides grew up in this village but, due to our daily work situation, we no longer live there.
However, each time we return to this area, we notice the little changes already made. Although, the villagers also feel the upgrading and, want us to continue to make a contribution which we are glad to do, to keep trying to improve, to give our best and make things happen.
It is very important step for the future happiness and development of our community which, we strongly believe that education plays a major and essential role.
The current situation in our schools requires the children to leave school before complete it, mostly because of their financial means: – truth is that the majority of the population here is living under the poverty line. Without the children of the village receiving a proper education, this cycle of poverty cannot be broken and, without sufficient financial support, the children of the village won’t be able to receive a proper education and break this cycle.
After long discussions, the HSA team has decided how to act and made a plan to do whatever is best to help society.
The Nepalese Government is doing their best but, there is lack of resources and is not capable to do everything that would like to or is necessary. Gladly, some funds have recently started to be collected and this way, a small program can begin and help students to stay at school.
Improvement of society – that is deficient in economically, politically and culturally resources – through education based approach.
The mission of Himalayan Spirit Academy is to develop a capable, potential, open and transparent organization for empowering disadvantaged communities.
- To ensure unable and excluded children’s access to school and influence in decision-making processes for their sustained and dignified lives.
- To ensure health awareness in various section of society through social activities – safe drinking water, environment protection, clean-up campaigns and others.
- To assist farmers to find a modern farming system.
- To improve a new tourist destination.
- To empower women activities.
- To guarantee human rights activities.
Improving Education System
Although the opening of Himalayan Spirit Academy improved, undoubtedly, the quality of the students education in this community, there is still a lot of work to be done for the educational standards progress.
The Nepali educational system currently focuses on the memorization of facts and phrases – this is a quite shocking fact for many foreigners who visit the country and spend time around the schools and students.
In english medium schools – like HSA – a student can spend 12 years studying in english and, what happens very often is that, it does not result in the ability of speaking and understanding the language – one of the problems of this cycle is that there is no interaction and, communication is mainly discouraged in classes ran by local teachers who aren’t themselves confident enough to speak it.
One of our aims is to change the current mentality by leading by example through preparing well the classes and making them interactive and fun instead of memorizing without much knowledge acquirement.
Very often the teachers here just turn up to class and read from the standardized book which from their perspective they are doing nothing wrong – after all, their teachers did the same to them! This is another vicious cycle that has to be broken for our community’s improvement – therefore from the beginning, we should and must help the local teachers with their practice of english language, so that they can encourage and input on, themselves and, their classes more dynamism.
Being a better english speaker, will actually help these students in two main ways:
– firstly (and obviously), they being able to speak a correct english and being comfortable with it, which opens a lot of doors made of possibilities – like to get a better job, being able to communicate globally, more information access which would be useful for their future and, to be able to become and be part of an overall, stronger and also, more helpful society.
– secondly (and more short term reason) is that they will actually understand the meaning of the sentences that they are repeating constantly and other school subjects – which means that there will be less pure memorization and bigger understanding and awareness.
Hereby we must try to work with the local teachers to give them the confidence and the passion to teach in a different way.
This isn’t an overnight process and requires hard work and a lot of patience. Often we need, accept and accommodate long term volunteers with us and encourage everyone to build meaningful relationships with the local teachers to help them, and also, to continue working on other subjects and on what previous volunteers started before them.
Although sometimes it might be hard, the only way to really improve the long term future of the project is to cooperate and work as a team with the nepali teachers.
Working In the Community
Another major problem in the rural areas of Nepal is that there is practically no chances or possibilities of having a comfortable, stable or assured paycheck or even (and sadly more realistic) to get one that you can actually survive without moving to another city or country. This leads to a huge drain on the local communities, having most people leaving the area that their families have lived for generations to look for better opportunities – the lack of anyone between 16 and 35 years old is noticeable and shocking and, without long term solutions, in the future, there won’t be much more villages like Japhe, instead of progressing and developing, they will disappear.
We hope to help solving this issue, whenever we can, by creating sustainable job opportunities in the region through things like tourism and manufacturing.
We would also love to further support the local community with other essential aspects of their village lives.
There is already a medical center nearby the school site but the overall level of education of these medical professionals isn’t the same as there is in other countries. Local people need to take the 9 hour daily bus ride to Kathmandu if they cannot be helped here.
If we can find long term volunteers with medical experience to work with the center then, hopefully, we can improve the quality of life of local people.
Another important point of local life, which is very delicate, is farming as it is the main source of income for the valley.
Unfortunately, due to growing economic pressures in Nepal, farmers are often giving up their traditional and cultural farming methods, for financial reason and in order to make faster cash. It would be a huge boost to local farmers to get new ideas in topics like irrigation, horticulture, cattle-breeding, poultry farming and so on. We realize that this is a very delicate topic but, new ideas in this field would be welcomed and very much appreciated.