About

The Himalayan Youth Foundation (HYF) supports education projects for underprivileged children from remote regions of the Himalayas – projects which shelter and educate the children while providing food, clothing, love and medical care. Our commitment is to provide children with the learning tools and job skills necessary to raise the quality of life for themselves and for their communities at large.

While providing the children with the best academic education, we also teach them about their historical traditions and crafts. All of which are current and in-demand skills and will allow the children to be self-supporting and in turn share their knowledge and skills with their families to help improve everyone’s quality of life.

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The HYF Story

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In 1997, Tashi Gurung and Dave Bidwell, with the help of the Greendale Foundation, established HCF as an NGO in Kathmandu. After meeting on a trek to Mustang in 1999, Micheline Kramer and David Bidwell decided to work together to expand the Himalayan Children’s Foundation (HCF) in Kathmandu. Their love of the country and the people of Nepal planted the seed that eventually would become the Kailash Home. What began with six needy children living in rented quarters, grew slowly to 30 children by 2002. That same year the Himalayan Youth Foundation, Inc (HYF) was created in the USA as a tax exempt non-profit corporation (501C3) in order to raise funds needed to further its impact. In addition, HYF established a partnership with the Choki Traditional Arts School in Bhutan.

Sadly, David passed away in 2015. David’s love for Nepal evolved from a nine month volunteer assignment with the International Executive Service Corps as Country Director for Nepal in 1993.. David was instrumental in the development of the Kailash Hostel in 1997 and was a personal friend of the Choki family in Bhutan for many years. Over the years, his tireless devotion to HYF and the children guided our continued growth. He had a vision,a dream. He was our inspiration to make it all happen.

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The founders first project started in Kathmandu, Nepal, with HCF and the Kailash Home. The Kailash Home is operated by Himalayan Children’s Foundation (H.C.F.), a Nepali NGO founded in 1997. This organization offers poor and illiterate children a chance for a formal education, along with food, clothing, shelter, psychological well-being and medical care. Through individual sponsorship and donations, children ranging from 6 to 20 year old, are welcomed at the Kailash Home where they will stay until graduation from high School. HYF provides these youngsters with the learning skills necessary to pursue self-sustaining livelihoods, thereby enhancing the quality of life for themselves, their families and the communities in which they live.

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In the Kingdom of Bhutan, HYF has made donations to support the Choki Traditional Arts School (CTAS). Founded in 1999 by the former head of the Painting Division of Bhutan’s National Painting school, CTAS offers free education and housing to poor mountain children. CTAS provides education in basic subjects along with modern subjects such as computers to help build a strong connection with the modern world all the while teaching the children about their historical traditions and crafts such as sculpture, painting, embroidery and carving, all of which are current and in-demand skills and will allow the children to be self-supporting and in turn share their knowledge and skills with their families to help improve everyone’s quality of life.

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In addition to training in the Bhutanese arts and crafts, CTAS students, who are between 12-19 years of age, receive lessons in such fundamentals as math, English and their native language, Dzonka.

Today, HYF cares for over 200 children in Nepal and Bhutan and has been able to finance the construction of new facilities at each location, with the help of its generous sponsors. HYF is a well-run foundation concentrating on providing a quality home and educational experience for the children. Our children’s home in Kathmandu is home to 100 children and our school in Bhutan currently has 150 children enrolled. At present, the current focus for HYF is to enrich our programs for the students by strengthening the quality of education and expanding our extracurricular activities.

By 2010 HYF had grown so much that the founders felt the need to partner with other foundations to guarantee the future of the foundation and the children.  Mountaineers for Himalayas (www.mount4him.org) and the Fontana Foundation (www.fontana-foundation.org) accepted the challenge and have helped strengthen both projects.  In the same year we created a new non-profit organization in England, HYF-UK, in response to increased interest from English donors.

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The board members of the Himalayan Youth Foundation are professionals committed to administering HYF carefully and efficiently without debt. They initiate new projects only as HYF is financially capable of honoring them and all prior commitments.

Each member of the board enjoys a prior history and dedication to the children of the Himalayas. Most members have traveled to the area and all provide their unparalleled support of HYF as it has grown through the years.

Micheline Kramer – Co-Founder – President

Micheline is a graduate of The Solvay Business School in Belgium. She is currently living in Florida after a career in Real Estate.  She has trekked extensively throughout the world. She fell in love with Nepal on her first of many trips to the country in 1993. During a trek through Mustang, David Bidwell and Micheline discovered their common love and passion for the children of the region and decided to devote their energies to help them.

Anselme Baud

Anselme is a certified Mountain Guide, Instructor at the National School of Alpinism of Chamonix, France. He has written several books and produced movies of extreme skiing. During his 18 visits to Nepal, Anselme has guided several treks and international expeditions. Anselme is the founder of a program offering training for Nepali guides. He also provides climbing instruction to our older students and has started to include some HYF children in his expeditions.

Brad Blum

Brad Blum is an influential visionary in the restaurant industry who has led significant turnarounds of various restaurant brands, focusing on serving artisan products that are exceptionally flavorful and better for our health.  Brad wants to instill his philosophy in our children to teach them the value of “good food for the planet”.

Wendy Henner

Wendy currently lives in Winter Park, Florida. She is involved with “Foundation for foster children”and other child oriented charities.

Monica Mackey

Monica has twenty-five years professional experience working with non-profit organizations as a manager, board member, and consultant. She is currently the Director of Principal Giving at Williams College. Monica is a graduate of Wellesley College and earned her MBA from Babson College. Her visits to Nepal and Bhutan have reinforced her dedication to HYF.

Kevin M. Miller, CPA,

Kevin earned a master’s degree in accountancy and a bachelor degree in business administration from Stetson University in DeLand, FL. For the past fifteen years, Kevin has served as treasurer for Sawmill Investments, LP, an investment management firm with over $20 million in assets.  Since 2006, Kevin has served as an adjunct instructor at Stetson University.  Currently, Kevin directs the finance and accounting functions of Atlantic Center for the Arts, as well as consulting with various start-up and early stage companies.

Frederick A. Raffa, Ph.D.

Dr. Raffa is a resident of Maitland, Florida.  He received an MBA in Finance and a Ph.D. in Economics from Florida State University.  He was a faculty member in the Department of Economics at the University of Central Florida for 29 years, retiring as a tenured full professor of economics in 1998.  He is currently the Senior Economist and President of Raffa Consulting Economists, Inc., an economic consulting firm located in Orlando, Florida.

Oriol Ribas

Oriol is President of Fundacio Muntanyencs per l’Himalaia, a Mountaineering Foundation in the Principality of Andorra.He is himself a high altitude climber and has
accomplished a number of major successful climbs in the Himalayas. Oriol is a lawyer and a senior banker in his country.  Oriol has been a strong supporter of HYF since 2002.

Hubert Secretan

Hubert has been a member of the Bar and practicing law in Geneva since 1966. He sits on the Board of Swiss and off-shore charitable Foundations, one of which has been supporting HYF for a number of years. He has trekked extensively in the Himalayas since 1986 in Nepal, Pakistan, India and Bhutan. He was introduced to HYF by David Bidwell whom he has known and worked with for over 40 years.”

Gerry Slater

Gerry is a chartered Civil Engineer, who carved a career in construction of Infrastructure and Industrial projects internationally. His love of Nepal stems from his family connection to Jim Edwards, the “father” of the tourist industry in Nepal. He has visited many times and, through trekking expeditions, has witnessed first-hand the hardships experienced by young children in the remote areas of the country. In 2005 he sponsored one of the children at the Home and in 2007 he co-founded the Himalayan Youth Foundation-UK.

Choki Traditional Art School (Kabessa, Bhutan):

Sonam Choki – Principal
Kuenzang D. Thinley – Project Manager

Himalayan Childrens Foundation (Kathmandu, Nepal):

Lobsang Choedar – General Manager
Phuntsok Rapten Hostel Manager