Based in Montrose, Colorado
Member of the Colorado Non Profit Association
WESTERN COLORADO FRIENDS OF THE HIMALAYAS
We are active!
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 12 years in the remote village of Chhulemu. Since that time, we have helped them with clean water supply, 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 Phurwa 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.
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 Himalaya 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 a remote Sherpa village 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.
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 to 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 as part of our goal to improve learning environments.
Every time a board member or friend 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.