Give Something Back
Many people who visit Nepal fall in love with both the country and her people. However, the level of poverty and tragic circumstances that some of the locals are suffering from often results in a desire to help. There are many ‘pro-poor’ or poverty alleviation programs throughout the country as well as community development schemes from providing and distributing emergency stretchers to installing toilets and water pipes.
The GHT was created and is designed to help local communities by encouraging trekkers to visit areas ‘off the beaten track’ in the belief that any help is better than no help. Nearly all the programs and initiatives currently operating in Nepal rely on donations and volunteer assistance, so if you want to get involved and make a positive difference there is always a cause to suit.
If you are providing support to someone attempting a long section of the GHT you might, in your spare time, want to offer your services to a local organisation. The notice board at Kathmandu Guest House in Thamel is a good place to begin searching for an organisation that matches your interest. There are also some websites, www.ngofederation.org, www.ain.org.np and www.nepalngo.org that list registered organisations.
On a final note, this website and the promotion of the GHT by trekkers is all entirely voluntary. The sale of maps and books goes to pay for hosting, plugins and internet services (email, etc) and the cost of production by Himalayan Map House in Kathmandu. If you would like to donate, help, research trekking areas, or anything else that you think will help promote the GHT, please contact us!
Who to Help?
The financial benefits to a community are obvious in the main trekking regions of Everest, Annapurna and Langtang. But when you visit the remoter regions of the GHT it becomes apparent that even US$10 can make a difference to some villages. By spreading tourist dollars the GHT helps to alleviate poverty and address the enormous wealth disparity in Nepal.
For anyone wanting to make a difference for the better, the GHT offers many opportunities to support almost countless causes along the trail either through direct contributions or sponsorship of your trek. If you choose to help a local NGO you should carefully check its credentials, but here is a list to help point you towards some interesting organisations that the author can personally vouch for:
Local NGOs in Nepal:
- Kathmandu Environment Education Project (KEEP: www.keepnepal.org) works to ensure the future ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal and its people by maximizing the benefits and reducing the negative impacts associated with tourism.
- Maiti Nepal (www.maitinepal.org) prevent human trafficking by reaching out to the community, particularly children and women, by raising the awareness level of communities and extending life skills so that children and women are not trafficked into different forms of abuse including exploitation.
- Phase Nepal (www.phasenepal.org) operate throughout Nepal to improve the livelihoods of rural people by providing immediate support through health care and education services, and to create opportunities in communities for self-empowerment.
- Radha Paudel Foundation (www.radhapaudelfoundation.org) created by an inspiring social activitist, the RPF works tirelessly for emancipation of girls and women from poverty, injustice and discrimination across Nepal.
- Right4Children (R4C: www.right4children.org) is based in Pokhara and dedicated to improving the lives and living standards of disadvantaged children, youth and their families through programs and services that they feel are right for them, in making their hopes and dreams come true.
- Shakti Samuhar (www.shaktisamuhar.org.np) is the world’s first organization which has been established and run by the survivors of human trafficking and works to ensure social justice for victims and those who are at high risk of such trafficking by empowering, informing and organizing the women and girls from the community level.
INGOs working in Nepal:
- Australian Himalayan Foundation (www.australianhimalayanfoundation.org.au) runs a number of projects in education, health & medical services and the environment, mainly in the lower Solu-Khumbu area. It aims to ensure, where possible, the long-term viability of schools, to provide health, education and medical services and to support environmental projects for remote communities.
- The Hillary Himalayan Trust (www.himalayantrust.co.uk) founded by Sir Edmund Hillary is perhaps the most famous of the INGOs operating in Nepal. Its successes in the Sherpa region of the Solu-Khumbu have been outstanding and are considered to be a role model for best practice by many.
- International Porter Protection Group (IPPG; www.ippg.net) works to improve the conditions of mountain porters in the tourism industry worldwide and is very active in Nepal. With representatives throughout the world, it is possible to assist this organisation both at home and overseas.
- The Mountain Institute (TMI; www.mountain.org) empowers communities in the Himalayas (and elsewhere around the world) through education, conservation and sustainable development. Since its founding more than 38 years ago, TMI has worked closely with the people who know mountains best – those who actually live there – to help identify and implement solutions to challenges that threaten their livelihoods and the health of their local environments.
- Ten Friends (www.tenfriends.org) is a group of people who work in the Sankhuwasabha (between Kanchenjunga and Makalu), who first started donating emergency stretchers to remote villages. They are now involved with orphanage and school programs, water filtration, sanitation and female empowerment projects in both East Nepal and Kathmandu.