KATHMANDU: Most of the children who lost their fathers in the deadliest avalanche on Mt Everest in 2014 are now receiving support for their education from different organisations.
At least 16 high-altitude climbers, the sole breadwinners of their respective families were killed when an avalanche struck them while carrying loads above base camp near the icefall section of the world highest peak on 18 April 2014.
“More than 40 school-age children were affected after they lost their fathers,” recounted Mingma Sherpa of Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality, Namche.
Sherpa, along with his friends, founded the Everest Sherpa Foundation immediately with the objective of helping the children of deceased climbers of Nepal. “At least 39 children have been able to attend school through the help extended by Sherpa Nepalhilfe in coordination with Everest Sherpa Foundation till date,” Sherpa, who has twenty years of experience in mountaineering expeditions and trekking in the Himalaya, said.
A social worker and medical practitioner Mathias Baumann from Germany offered help to the needy kids, the founding vice-president of ESF said. Each child has been getting 300 Euro annually to get better education, Sherpa who has been leading Climbalaya Everest North Ridge Expedition since 2015, said.
According to him, some of the children are currently studying in Thame lower secondary school in Namche. All 39 children will get financial support till 16 years of age. “We aim to help them complete school level education offering 300 Euro to each annually,” Sherpa who guided renowned climbers including Tamae Watanabe, 73, from Japan, Bill Burke and Charlie Linville from the US to summit Mt Everest, said.
The bereaved families were able to send their kids to schools after getting support from Sherpa Nepalhilfe along with Everest Sherpa Foundation, said Ang Pasi Sherpa. Her son Urgen Tshering is getting financial support for his education from ESF. Besides, the foundation also offers support to needy families in the Khumbu by region running different health camps and rebuilding campaigns. Sherpa said that the ESF also led an immediate relief campaign in the remote areas of the mountainous district during the time of earthquake.
“Being a professional climber, it’s my responsibility to give back to our society,” Sherpa said. According to climbing records, he climbed Mt Everest 10 times, Mt Cho Oyu 12 times as well as other mountains including Mt Manaslu and Mt Shishapangma, among others. US-based Juniper Fund and a few other organisations have also supported the children, Sherpa, 39, added. “Our small help can also inspire other climbers to be part of the noble campaign.”