See our latest News and Views and latest Newsletter. (Scroll down or access through menue at top)
Exciting contributions made for causes in Tibet and Afghanistan and our latest Nepal project (As at April 2022)
Our wonderful evening at the Montrose Ute Museum on April 26th 2022 raised over $1100. All of this is now on its way to Nepal to help the Handicapped Service Center and other educatinal and humanitarian projects
Making a difference by supporting local communities in Nepal with humanitarian aid, literacy, educational and medical supplies, plus earthquake relief and child trafficking mitigation
Board member Nima Sherpa selling hand-crafted good in aid of the Kathmandu Handicapped Service Center
Building toilet in remote area
It may not look much but recent funds sent to the Handicapped Service Center in Kathmandu have enabled them to repair part of their roof to help stop leaking and purchase a new water tank and pump
Halima Behroz from Afghanistan; the student we are assisting at Colorado Mesa College, Grand Junction
OOur Mission is to foster peace by supporting the people of the Himalayan region in beneficial ways, help preserve the culture and provide opportunities for education, basic living necessities and medical resources, plus send aid during times of natural disasters.
Our motto is: PEACE : (Peace, education, aid, compassion, and empowerment)
We are active!
Western Colorado Friends of the Himalayas evolved over a number of years after Montrose, Colorado resident, Bill Duckworth initiated the idea of supporting Tibetan refugees and assisting the Nepalese community with local help including medical assistance, local school education and documentation for US citizenship. Often, Tibetans and Sherpas lived at his and his wife Nora's home.
Later, the emphasis changed to support of Nepalese individuals and villages in the Solo Khumbu area of northeast Nepal. This work has expanded in the past few years to embrace regions of Nepal that were devastated by the 2015 earthquake and also "adopting" remote villages and doing much to assist the Sherpa villages in Namche Bazar, Khumjung, Khunde, Phortse and Pangboche, with scholarships, clothing, medical aid and development of cultural programs.
We remain a very small charity with no paid employees.
All that we do is dependent on donations and proceeds from memberships, local fundraisers and cultural programs.
Bill and Nora Duckworth
Founding board Members of our organization
After Nepal's devastating earthquake in 2015 we became one of the very first organizations to send funds and provide aid to a number of hard-hit communities. We are not an NGO and therefore have the ability to bypass governmental bureaucracy. With the advent of the internet and the fact that our local Sherpa and Nepalese board member community and friends are trustworthy and capable, we are able to get funds directly to the right places very quickly. We demand full accountability for what we support and expect images of progress plus receipts and bank transactions. This ongoing commitment has involved partnering with local Rotary and Altrusa clubs and the Nobel Prize nominated Shelter Box organization. For this terrible tragedy we have seen our funds at work throughout the country, including the village of Barpak in West Nepal where nearly 900 homes out of a total of 1200 were destroyed, along with hundreds of schools in the region. One of our close associates, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita (the first woman in Nepal to become a certified mountaineering instructor and who has also summited Everest and K2 plus numerous other formidable peaks all over the world and was elected National Geographical Society's Adventurer of the Year,) represented us in several effective relief efforts and with her own foundation to assist women's education in Nepal.
We have been active for over 15 years in the remote village of Chhulemu. Since that time, we have helped them get clean water supply to needed facilities, children's school supplies and uniforms, toilets, a stove for every household,(which has greatly assisted the horror of TB caused by using old cooking methods where smoke could not exit the kitchen and living areas), hygiene programs and recently completed solar shower facilities (men and women), housed in permanent, earthquake-safe, stone buildings. Now that they have electricity, we have also supplied two lap-top computers and a multi-function copier. Several visits to this village have been made by WCFH board members. Nearly all of this has been managed by Furba Sherpa, a fine friend who has worked for several years with the Colorado Outward Bound program and is a much respected village leader (also a member of our Advisory Council).
In Upper Mustang we have worked with the American Himalayan Foundation to help provide childcare facilities which enable families to have infants and small children safely cared for while adults toil in the fields, rather than having to keep older children out of school as caregivers.
Through personal contact with Major Karnasher Gurung who is the director of Child Rescue in Nepal, we continue to provide funds to help eradicate rampant child trafficking. In 2021, we sent another contribution to help with this terrible situation.
Much of our general support has been directed towards the Sherpa communities. Once again, through personal contact with trustworthy people on the ground, we have provided many scholarships for schooling for the poorest people, funds to repair local gompas, medical equipment for Himalayan Medics (Dr.Nima Namgyal), funds for an anthropological program (Beyul Information and Cultural Center), created to teach traditional song and dance, complete with provision of authentic traditional costumes and musical instruments, plus other humanitarian aid where needed. Recently we have sent two heavy duty Rototillers and provide training to two remote Sherpa villages close to Everest which has enabled villagers to maximize productivity. Other funds have been sent to help cover funeral expenses for poor people,(especially for Sherpa wives and families whose menfolk are killed in mountaineering expeditions), simulation kits for use in training search and rescue techniques, first responders and first-aid stabilization.
We have given several scholarships to worthy recipients who wished to further their education at a higher level. - both in Nepal and in the US. These have included two for completion of nursing degrees, one for Krishna Bista who has now graduated with a PHD in education and multi-cultural teaching, one for local Montrose-based Tibetan, Jigchen Tso for completion of her education to become a lab tech at our local hospital.
We regularly provide school supplies and clothing for children of local, Colorado-based Nepalese families.
We have given emphasis to helping girls and young women, who often suffer from discrimination regarding educational and other opportunities.
Funds and support for the Himalayan Stove project.
We have provided ongoing financial and moral support for Danika Gilbert's remarkable work in Afghanistan- promoting leadership training in mountain environments for Muslim girls, while working with the Ascend program. More recently, we have helped out with scholarship money for Halima Behroz from Afghanistan who was one of Danika's students and is now attending Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Nearly every monsoon in Nepal produces flooding. We have helped with aid and funds where most needed.
We also, when possible, support other non-profits and local foundations (such as the dZi Foundation) as a gesture of our encouragement for the works they are doing.
Part of our philosophy is promoting worldwide peace. We play a part with a program of Peace Poles. In addition to installing a number of them in Montrose, Telluride and Ridgway, we have paid for Peace Poles in Taksindu Gompa, Khumjung and the village of Chhulemu. We also celebrate the birthday of the Dalai Lama, annually, with a special program at a Nepalese restaurant.
Another well-received program that we have done for years is our annual Peace Dinner where we award Peace Medals and other recognitions to area residents who have made a difference to communities in Western Colorado by selflessly contributing time and talents with voluntary work.
We remain active in our local community with efforts in support of awareness for what we are and do. This has included participation in the annual Montrose Main-in-Motion downtown events during the summer months, hosting of a buffet dinner for the Wounded Warrior program, regular informational and cultural programs open to the public, sponsorship and funding for the annual "Week of Unity and Peace" and provision of educational supplies for local schools.
We have provided backpacks, warm outer clothing, sports equipment and other necessities for cold classrooms in Nepal as part of our goal to improve learning environments.
Every time a board member or supporter of WCFH visits Nepal, we make sure that they take useful things like spectacles, hygiene items, footwear and clothing, for distribution in the more inaccessible villages.
Every monthly board meeting produces many requests for help. Nearly all are valid and we strive to assist to the best of our ability. But, of course, we also have to spend a lot of time and energy in raising funds to be able to do so. Over the last 5 years, we have given out nearly $100,000 in funds in addition to aid in kind. $45,000 has gone directly towards earthquake relief. We continue to be most impressed with the results, on the ground and in the improvement of people's lives.
A recent endeavor has been to assist Halima Behroz, a young female from Afghanistan secure funding to attend Colorado State University in Grand Junction, Colorado, to study political science. WCFH (with the help of one of our benefactors and a grant from us), has received $1250 plus individual donations via Halima's Go Fund Me site. Halima is an exceptional and highly intelligent young woman who wants to go back to her Taliban controlled village area in Ghazni province and make a positive difference for women there. In May of 2021 we gave more scholarship money for Halima to continue her second year of study.
In 2021 we undertook a new challenge after finding out about the Disabled Service Center in Kathmandu which looks after 22 disabled people from very poor backgrounds and was/is desperately in need of supporting funds because their only means of support was selling craft wares but they were prohibited from
doing so because of Covid restrictions. (see Gallery).
For Covid help we have sent money to the British Nepal Medical Trust who have sent out new medical teams and equipment to assist in their rural clinics in East Nepal.
"I have known Val Burnell (and her climbing husband Terry) and Kelvin Kent, board members of WCFH, for over 50 years and am hugely impressed with all that they have done for their local community and particularly of what they and their colleagues, whom I have also met, do to improve the lives of people in Nepal and elsewhere and I know that the difference they make benefits many, many needy people in underserved areas with funds and provision of material items. They have my full and enthusiastic support."
Sir Chris Bonington- world famous mountaineer
For a look at images of our work, and descriptions, please go to Gallery and News and Views
Partners and Membership
WCFH has worked with several partners over the past few years and continues to work with like-minded organizations where cooperation and partnering prove to be beneficial to all concerned.
All below are individuals or organizations that we have either given funds for or collaborated on worthwhile projects.
Here they are:
Rotary Club of Montrose, CO
Altrusa Club of Montrose, CO
American Himalayan Foundation (work in upper Mustang)
Child Rescue Nepal
Britain Nepal Medical Trust
Disable Sercice Center, Kathmandu
Community leaders in Chhulemo, Namche Bazaar and the Khumbu region
The dZi Foundation
Danika Gilbert and the Ascent Leadership Program in Afghanistan
Guru's and Pun Hill restaurants in Montrose, CO
The Ute Indian Museum of Montrose, CO
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita
Please consider becoming a member. All that you give goes towards the work we are doing
Western Colorado Friends of the Himalayas,
P.O. Box 2022 Montrose, CO 81402 970-275-3671
You are invited to become a member of the Western Colorado Friends of the Himalayas to help promote cultural awareness of the Himalayan region and promote world peace through educational and cultural programs. WCFH’s educational programs include supporting elementary age children of the Himalayas with school supplies, uniforms and modern technology, sponsoring secondary education students in Nepal and awarding scholarships to qualifying applicants. Cultural programs foster communication and understanding of the Himalayan people. WCFH also supports relief work in the region and funds construction of solar showers and school toilets to promote health and hygiene. The education and well-being of children(especially girls and young women) is a major focus of the organization, including support for rescue and rehabilitation from the horrors of child trafficking.
Fed Tax I.D. # 30-0117036
Send membership form and check or money order to WCFH, P.O. Box 2022, Montrose CO 81402-2022. Receipts will be sent in a timely manner.
Your membership and other contributions help to foster compassion and understanding by sharing our resources with others, providing educational opportunities for children , disaster relief, child trafficking mitigation and expanding awareness of other cultures.
Thank you! Your contribution will make a difference!
Meet our Board
We are a small but dedicated board, comprised of Nepalese Sherpas and several individuals who have lived in or spent a good bit of time in Nepal and other Himalayan countries (like Pakistan, Northern India, Sikkim and Afghanistan)
Picture taken May 27th 2021.
From left to right:
Wayne Quade, Kelvin Kent, Val Burnell, Nima Sherpa, Ang Danu Sherpa, Arlyn Macdonald, Carol Parker
Val Burnell migrated to Colorado in 1968, with her husband Terry, from England, where she enjoyed a career in education. They both worked with the Colorado Outward Bound School in Marble and Lake City for 8 years before setting up a business in Montrose and becoming involved with several local non-profit organizations. Inspired by Terry's 1964 experience with a British mountaineering expedition to the Himalayas, Val ventured to Nepal with him in 1998 and since then they have both undertaken numerous treks and assisted with humanitarian projects in the region. Val has served as president of WCFH since 2006.
Ang Danu Sherpa hails from the Sherpa village of Khumjung in northeast Nepal. Prior to coming to the US in in 2005 he served as manager fot the Khumbu Bijuli Company, which was the first hydro electric plant to supply electricity in the Mount Everest region. He attended Mesa State College and became a registered nurse. He has worked at Montrose Memorial Hospital in the Acute Rehabilitation Unit since 2009. Together with his wife, Nima, they help coordinate many of our projects in the Solo Khumbu area.
Nima Sherpa's family home is in Khumjung village, Solo Khumbu. She is the grand daughter of famed artist Kappa Kalden Sherpa and is, herself, a Thanka artist; a skill that she learned from her father. She moved to the US in 2002 and attended Mesa State College where she obtained a bachelor's degree in nursing science. She now works at Montrose Memorial Hospital as Nurse Manager of the Acute Rehabilitation Unit. She returns to Nepal regularly and helps oversees some of our projects in that area.
Arlyn Macdonald has been a supporter of WCFH for the past 15 years and is a past president. She has a BA in Community Arts Non-Profit Management and a Ph. D in Spiritual Education Management . She is the senior minister of the Montrose Spiritual Awareness Center and Dean of the Spiritual Development Institute. She is also the founder of the Week of Unity and Peace and originated the WCFH annual Peace dinner in Montrose.
Kelvin Kent came to the US in 1976 after a career in the British army, serving mainly with the Gurkhas from Nepal. He has been to Nepal 17 times and participated in two major Himalayan climbing expeditions. In the US, he owned small businesses and has always been active in his community and with non-profits
Carol Parker, MEd., has served for many years on this board. She has trekked in the Himalayan region of Nepal and visited some of our projects on the ground. She is also on the Altrusa Club of Montrose's International Committee and has partnered with WCFH on many different community endeavors. She remains active in numerous local organizations and has recieved the WCFH International Peace Award.
Wayne Quade had a distinguished career with the US Forest Service and has served with distinction for many years in Scouting, where he continues to be active in many roles. He has been to Nepal and visited some of the WCFH projects on the ground.
Advisory Board Members
Terry Burnell was trained in England as a tool and dye maker but became very active in the early 60s climbing scene. He climbed with the best British climbers and was part of the 1964 British expedition to scale Gauri Shanker. Later he emigrated to the US with his wife Val and worked with Outward Bound for 8 years before his family moved to Montrose, where he established a successful construction company, specializing in foundations and micro-pile technology. He has been to Nepal numerous times and has strongly supported his wife with all aspects of WCFH.
Danika Gilbert s a multi-talented outdoor enthusiast,
mountaineer and teacher who has served on many boards and has recently led expeditions to remote areas of Afghanistan to help teach local Muslim girls from villages in Taliban controlled areas.
Furba Sherpa omes from the Sherpa village of Chhulemu, southwest of Namche Bazaar. He worked for five years with the Colorado Outward Bound School and, later, in the US for many years in the construction industry and is now back in Nepal where he serves as our "man on the ground" for our many ongoing projects in his and other local villages.
JigchenTso is originally from Eastern Tibet but came to the US as a refugee, where she had to receive major medical attention and was helped by our founder Bill Duckworth, to obtain medical aid, schooling and college education. She initially worked at Montrose Memorial Hospital as a phlebotomist. but is now, after more studies, a laboratory technician. She is married to another Tibetan (both now US citizens) and has two young children.
News and Views
We are alive and well in 2022!
Because of our continued hard work with local fundraising, putting on events and generosity of people who value what we are accomplishing, we are currently still supporting the handicapped people's shelter in Kathmandu, child trafficking mitigation and assistance (via Danika Gilbert) with her program to bring young
Afghan girls to the US.
More recently (April 2022), we are very pleased to announce that a
combined program with Altrusa International has been completed. This consists of a water project and stone built double-stall community toilet in the remote village of Riku in the Rowaling region of East Nepal, high up towards the Himalayas. Through the valuable contacts of board member Ang Danu Sherpa and his local on-the-ground contacts Tsering Kitar Sherpa and his father Pasang Sherpa, we have managed to facilitate the transportation of all equipment, cement, plumbing, roofing and ceramic toilets, via yak, to this off the beaten track village. This is a first for them as they have no proper infrastructure and no internet. The water spigot provides accessible clean water (whereas before, villagers had to carry water in pots from far away) and clean, hygienic toilet facilities to separate men's and women's rooms. See up-to-date images below:
At the end of August 2021 our board decided to go ahead with three more contributions to very worthy causes and needs. With input from advisory board member Jigchen Tso (originally from Tibet) and who contributed $500 personally, we matched this amount to send $1000 to the family of young 6 year-old Tibetan boy, Tenzin Kunga, to help pay for hospital costs in New Delhi, for medical treatment to remedy life threatening kidney problems.
At the same time, with another personal contribution of $500 from board member Ang Danu Sherpa and a further $500 from his friend, Stefan Kozak plus another $500 from our own funds, we sent $1500 to Kathmandu to assist a facility for the disabled (many from the lower castes) who were about to lose their lease.
We also helped Halima Behroz from Afghanistan with another $500 to continue her degree studies in political science and journalism at Mesa State University in Colorado.
And through the incredible work of another advisory board member, Danika Gilbert, we are continuing to support her brave efforts to help some of her previous students of the Ascend leadership program in Afghanistan with assistance in trying to get them out of the country and control of the Taliban. This involves help with visa applications and a huge amount of moral support.
Our fundraiser at the end of May was an outstanding success!
We were able to bring climbing and mountaineering icon Sir Chris Bonington to Ridgway (close to Montrose). His presentation focused on the epic Annapurna South Face Expedition in 1970.
We had a packed house with many famous world-class climbers inwe attendance.
We netted $2,000 after expenses -- ALL of which will go immediately to our ongoing projects.
This is an aerial view of the village of Riku.
No roads, no tourists routes, no proper infrastructure.
Tenzin Kunga: Now getting medical treatment with our help
In partnership with the Montrose Ute Indian museum, we donated a Peace Pole, which was dedicated in July. Picture shows Val Burnell and Kelvin Kent with Arlyn Macdonald officiating
As at mid summer 2021
Breaking News. Our board has just approved proposals to send another $1000 to our Nepal partner "Child Rescue Nepal"- to be used specifically for rescue operations in India and Kathmandu, where young abducted children are forced to work for nothing in appalling conditions. Another $1050 is on its way to the Sherpa village of Khumjung to help pay for three 10th grade girls to be able to complete their school education. We have traditionally sent $2,500 annually for this program.
We have sent $1000 to help the Kathmandu Disabled Service program and additional funds to help with the horrible Covid situation which is very adversely affecting so many Nepalis.
These are examples of our policy to utilize all incoming donations from individuals and fundraisers to immediately go back to areas of need in Nepal and elsewhere!
To round out our 2020/2021 year, we presented three Peace and Humanitarian Awards to local women who met our criteria for selfless service to our community:
Dr Mary Vader: Mary has served the medical profession, as a pediatric physician for 33 years with a significant amount of her time doing mission work as part of the Rotary Rotoplast program, around the world and especially in South America. Her speciality was on cleft palate surgery.
Eva Vietch: For decades of providing essential services to the elderly.
Joyce Loss: For forming and running our local Neighborhood Watch program for over 30 years.
In early 2021, we recognized Furba Sherpa of Chhulemo in Nepal for his long-standing work on our behalf in the Sherpa communities in that area. His Peace and Humanitarian award is being sent to him, together with a Certificate of Appreciation, via a friend who will meet him in Kathmandu
Our very recent grants for assistance in Nepal have helped a Sherpa community in Nepal to record many of their soon-to-be-lost traditional songs and costumes. A professional grade video will document this part of their culture for posterity. In addition to this (and solidifying our very successful program to supply Rototillers to the upper Solo Khumbu region), we are sending another machine to the remote village of Chhulemo, which is far away from the normal trekking routes.
Enabling us to do these things, we are most grateful for donors to this organization and, especially to one benefactor, Jossi Nebenzahl, who has been a loyal supporter and appreciator of our work. Sadly, her husband Ken passed away in 2019. All who knew Ken will miss him.
In March 2021 a sudden gale severely damaged or destroyed several teepees at our sister organization, the Montrose Ute Indian Museum. Our board responded immediately with a monetary grant for restoration of their wonderful site.
Furba Sherpa after receiving His Peace Award in Nepal in March 2021
Distinguished nonagenarian members from Chicago, Jossy and Ken Nebenzahl, wearing their WCFH Peace Medals; awarded this year for services to the Himalayan Region and long-time support for our organization. (Picture taken October 8th 2019)
Sadly Ken died in 2020 but his wife Jossy is still actively supporting us
Board Member Kelvin Kent was presented with an award in October for his many contributions to WCFH
More recently, and extending into 2021 we have been partnering with TPN (The Partners of Nepal) via well respected and trusted Ang Rita Sherpa and the Altrusa Club of Montrose, Colorado, to help build an Elderly Care Center in the village of Bung which is situated about 35 miles south of Mt Everest in the Solo Khumbu District.
Images showing some of our work in Nepal
Nepal: A magic kingdom until we look at the plight of so many people.
Thousands left homeless and parentless after the earthquake
Scenes from the 2015 earthquake. Our associate, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita(upper left) in the field, distributing food, blankets and tarpaulins.
Within 2 days there were 9,000 killed, 22,000 injured, 900,000 homes, 9,000 schools and 30,000 classrooms destroyed. Image shows Shelter Boxes that we paid for, being deployed.
The village of Langtang, north of Kathmandu, before the earthquake
One of our heavy duty Rototillers being readied for action. This program was so successful that the government has taken it over for many more villages
The village of Langtang, north of Kathmandu, after the earthquake
Rototiller in action - replacing the work of oxen or water buffalo teams and saving hundreds of hours of time
Mother and child in Kathmandu after losing home in the country
And the new
Smokey kitchen; causing major health problems
Our partnership with Child Action Nepal has helped rescue hundreds of trafficked children
As part of our 100 Peace Pole project, we have provided many Poles. This one is at the Dennis Weaver Park in Ridgway, CO. Jigchen Tso (one of our members) reads out the Peace message in Tibetan
New stoves being assembled and delivered to the nearest roadhead and then carried to the village
Helping to provide a happy and safe environment for schools makes for much better attendance and performance
After rescues, children have to be re-habilitated and schooled before going back to their villages
The Buddhist monastery in Khumjung was severely damaged in the earthquake. We provided funds towards its repair
One of our Peace Poles in Nepal. This one is at Khumjung village. Another is at Taksindu Monastery
We collaborate with and have given funds to the Montrose Ute Indian Museum
Long-time supporters, Ken and Jossi Nebenzahl at WCFH annual Peace Medal social function in Montrose (with board members Kelvin Kent, Val Burnell, Nima Sherpa and Ang Danu Sherpa)
We have supplied all the
necessary for the
Program to instruct and
of trekkers, climbers and locals
Our name is proudly shown
on the list of donors
Scenes from our multi-year project to help improve conditions in our "adopted" village of Chhulemu - situated well off of trekking routes southwest of the Everest region.
In addition to his great help with toilets and assistance with clothing and school supplies, we have recently completed solar showers (his and hers) with changing rooms . Our "man-on-the-ground" is Furba Sherpa, the village patriarch and advisory board member.
In 2021 Furba was presented with our coveted Peace Award for his many contributions to our organization over several years.
His and Hers toilets
It makes a lot of sense to use solar in Nepal
Secondary School children demonstrating traditional Sherpa male and female dress costumes with dance and song routine. This is part of a program funded by WCFH to help assist the preservation of their culture
Recently supplied all purpose printer
Young woman getting ready to teach school
Thank you from scholarship recipients
and earthquake victims
Since the onset of Covid 19, WCFH has given out a number of small grants to both Nepal and the US. Recently, in June of 2020 we partnered with a local, Colorado sister organization, DZI.org to assist their own ongoing work with Corona Virus work in Eastern Nepal. Here, board member Kelvin Kent (right) presents DZI founding chairman Jim Nowak (left) with a check for $1000.
These are recent pictures (end of May 2021) of the Disabled Service Center people in Kathmandu that we sent urgent funds for to save their organization from shutting down
On May 29th 2021, WCFH played a significant role in the re-dedication of a new Peace Pole at the Montrose Ute Indian Museum. At left is the Museum Director, C.J. Brafford with Arlyn Macdonald who is on the board of the Friends of the Museum and WCFH. On the right are Val Burnell and Kelvin Kent from our board who were asked to place the wreath over the pole.
For Getting in touch or donating to our causes.
Western Colorado Friends of the Himalayas
PO BOX 2022, Montrose, CO 81402-2022
Val Burnell: 970 275 3671
Kelvin Kent: 970 209 1395
This woman is a Nun. She is carrying a 160 pound load to her monastery
We have assisted Child Rescue Nepal on several occasions