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KailashCampus

The Kailash Home is operated by the Himalayan Children’s Foundation (HCF) a charitable organization registered with the Nepali Government. Each unique child is nurtured in this caring environment. It not only houses them but also fosters stability through quality education and a focus on their health care. Additionally, through the generosity of all our supporters and the hard work of our staff in Kathmandu, hundreds of children pass through Kailash and are privileged to call it home.

The children at Kailash Home come from the most remote and poorest mountain villages in Nepal, where the nearest school is often three to four hour walk from their home. They come to Kailash when they are five to seven years old and are cared for until they graduate from high school.

Education

Continuing this vital thread and stressing the importance of the whole child, our staff cares for each child as if they were their own. Subsequently, children attend one of several age-appropriate schools. Important academic skills are encouraged by the Kailash Staff and each student progress is closely monitored. While the majority perform well independently, relishing an opportunity to acquire knowledge, if necessary tutoring is provided for skill mastery.

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Health care

Appropriate medical care is essential for a child’s optimal well-being. To ensure this, a physician visits the Kailash Home and provides regular check-ups. Additionally, all children are vaccinated upon arrival at Kailash and they are brought to a nutritionally sound state. It is only when their health is ensured that they are permitted to begin their studies.

Program extensions

A variety of extra curricular options are provided which present a glimpse of potential pathways for future careers possibilities

Happy children can be found tending their vegetable gardens and busily baking bread in the kitchen. Teaching life skills such as these plant seeds which ensure independent sustainability. Not only can they live off the land, but they come to understand the importance of balanced meals.

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Our music program presents a creative outlet for all children. Through instruction in instrumental training, choral singing and modern and traditional dance the Nepalese way of life is joyfully brought forth. It has been a resounding success as confident budding musicians have performed at the Hyatt Hotel and Tsering Elder Hostel in Kathmandu.

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Various outdoor activities including swimming, water rafting, and rock climbing teach essential life skills. These skills are further developed through ongoing lectures and presentations.

Many young Kailash athletes are inspired to train and participate in local marathons, demonstrating an innate talent as future mountain guides. Often they segue this ability into summer jobs or careers upon graduation.

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Home visits: Recognizing the importance of maintaining family/village life connections, HYF has initiated a bi-yearly home visit program. Children are safely escorted back to their villages and spend holidays with their extended families. In instances where it is not feasible for a child to travel home, arrangements are made for a sponsor or family members to visit them in Kathmandu. The visits are important and enable families to understand what children are learning in order to help support their future goals. Children likewise have the opportunity to share their newly acquired knowledge and are eager to do so!

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Kabessa, Bhutan

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The Choki Traditional Art School (CTAS) was established in April 1999 as Bhutan’s only private traditional arts school. It provides skills-related education in the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan at no charge to poor Bhutanese students who are unable to attend or complete a formal education or attend the National Art School. The school was set up to support the less fortunate youth and to assist the Government to meet its goals of preserving the country’s culture and tradition and to provide opportunities for gainful employment to youth.

Today, the school is well run by the seven-member Choki family and a faculty of eight. Until 2000, its operations were financed by the family and the school’s Handicraft Shop, where students sell their arts and crafts. In addition, in 2003, third-year students bid on and won a Government contract to paint and decorate a new government building in Bumthang with the proceeds returning to the school. By the end of 2005, the students of CTAS had painted 13 buildings, 3 of which were government jobs won by competitive bidding.

From 2006 until 2010, as the school grew, responsibility for all the operating costs, over and above that provided by outside student work and sale of handicrafts, was taken over by HYF. Then, in February 2010, responsibility for the financing of the CTAS school was handed over to the Fontana Foundation of Switzerland.

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Significance of Art

Bhutan offers up a unique, highly imaginative artistry that has survived unchanged through the centuries. Until recently, this artistic heritage has passed smoothly from one generation to the next, from father to son, from mother to daughter. Modern technology, however, and other foreign influences threaten these millennia-old traditions. Young people no longer learn the skills from their parents.

By Bhutanese law, art is essential to the kingdom’s national identity as well as to its economy. Artists and craftsmen find ready employment, providing not only the elaborate ornamentation required on all public buildings but also in restoring religious murals and other iconography of Bhutan’s monasteries, temples, fortresses and other ancient landmarks.

The study of Bhutan’s music and dance culture is a very important part of the Bhutanese tradition. The students’ knowledge is enjoyed entertaining visitors with elaborate shows.

CTAS Campus

HYF first started working with CTAS in 2002 to help build a 100-bed boy’s dorm, a sanitary building as well as a prayer hall for their students. In 2006, thanks to a very generous donation, HYF was able to guarantee construction of a 50-bed girl’s dormitory completed in October 2008. The Leila Foulon Girls Hostel is now home to the first 15 girls to study at CTAS. HYF’s newest project will complete the campus with a beautiful new kitchen and summons building.

The Students

CTAS allows students who are not able to pursue their studies in the traditional sense to learn a trade that is central to the Bhutanese lifestyle. They enter the school when they are 13-15 and attend the school for six years. One of the best aspects of the school is that the students have all been employed at the time they graduate and receive their diploma. There is a high demand for those trained in sculpting, carving, drawing, etc. in order to preserve the traditional crafts and the school has built a strong national reputation over the years.

Classes

The school curriculum is run over a period of six years and is diversified to cater to the overall development of the student. As such, elementary math, English, geography and Dzonka (the national language, along with co-curricular activities such as games and cultural programs are incorporated into the art curriculum.

Carving
Traditional Bhutanese designs carved on materials such as stone, wood and slate create the most wonderful pieces of artwork. Carvings can be seen in much of the Bhutanese culture: Carved wooden masks of various shapes and sizes are used in religious dances; decorations are found engraved on house, palaces, temples and monasteries. Students are able to enter into carving contests and learn that their skill is very important for their country.

Sculpture & Embroidery
Clay sculpture is one of the ancient crafts in Bhutan. The other clay work found in Bhutan is the art of pottery. Clay sculpting is used to preserve the art of making statues found in many religious temples. Since adding the girls classes we have also added pottery, weaving and embroidery which were traditionally considered more of a women’s art form, but have risen in importance as part of the effort to preserve Bhutanese traditional art.

Scroll Painting
The art of Painting is as old as the people themselves and it has been passed down from generation to generation, from a master painter, lharip to novice students. This profession, like most others, is considered an act of reverence and devotion and painters are believed to accumulate merit and influence their karma.

Painters work on a wide range including painting simple motifs and the eight lucky signs to undertaking painting huge scrolls of Thangka and Thongdroel (paintings of images of Buddhist deities often painted on the wall or in simple cloth). Thongdroels are bigger in size and a mere sight of these huge scrolls is believed to deliver us to nirvana.

Visit the Choki Traditional Art School website.

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On April 25, 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal at 11:56 am. Half a million homes across the country were leveled and more than 8.500 people were killed. While the images of the devastation in Kathmandu were broadcast around the world little was heard from people in the Langtang Valley, which lies roughly 40 miles northeast of the capital, Kathmandu. The Langtang Valley is comprised of 20,000 ft. Himalayan peaks that tower 8,000-10,000 feet over several small villages. The mountains and the hiking, biking, climbing opportunities on such terrain have long made the area a popular adventure destination. By late April, with tourism in full swing, there were approximately 600 people spread throughout the valley. Langtang Village was full of locals. The night before the earthquake many had traveled to gather at a monastery for a traditional Ghewa ceremony marking the reincarnation of a recently deceased valley resident.

When the earthquake struck a combination of factors such as snow covered peaks, the height and steepness of the mountains looming over settlements, and the full occupancy of many teahouses, was disastrous. In an instant the tremors dislodged portions of hanging glaciers on two of the area’s highest peaks. As the glaciers hurtled down, they shattered and then picked up more snow and debris. What the earthquake didn’t destroy, the avalanche did. It buried 116 houses and generated pressure waves with winds up to 93 miles per hour, strong enough to flatten forests in the opposite direction of the valley. It’s estimated 308 people died, including 176 Langtang residents, 80 foreigners and 10 army personnel. More than 100 bodies have never been recovered. Approximately 300 people were evacuated after four days of being cut off by numerous landslides and avalanches. Of all the badly hit areas in Nepal, nowhere was the destruction so complete as in the Langtang Valley.

Langtang Village after the earthquake and avalanche
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With the help and guidance of board member and mountain climber, Anselme Baud, Micheline Kramer, President of the Himalayan Youth Foundation, and her friend, Diane Boswell, visited Langtang Valley after the earthquake. They were accompanied by two children from Kailash Home (Himlayan Children’s Foundation), Kathmandu, Nepal. Witnessing the tremendous scale of the devastation their hearts were broken, they had never seen anything like it.

After long and numerous talks, they decided the best way to help the survivors was to help them rebuild their homes and they identified several families in dire need of help.

Gyurmae Tamang is the father of Sonam Gyatso, presently grade V at Kailash Home. Gyurmae lost his wife, daughter and youngest son in the earthquake. He used to have a teahouse which was completely destroyed. He had lived his whole life in Langtang and wants to live there again. He rebuilt his house so that his only son and he would have a shelter in the future and a place to call “home”.
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Phurbu Chyamo Tamang lost everything in the earthquake except her two grandsons who are now at Kailash Home. She needed a home to welcome her grandchildren back home.
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Nima Lama was running a teahouse at the entrance to the valley. Everything was destroyed. He immediately started to gather wood to rebuild on a small piece of land he owned. With a little help from us the teahouse in in business again!
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Norbu owned a lodge in Kyanchin Gompa. His wife died in the earthquake. He needed help fixing his lodge to the new earthquake standards.
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Passang’s wife lost the use of one arm in the earthquake and their teahouse was destroyed. Their child lives at Kailash Home currently.
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Lhakpa’s husband died in the earthquake and her house was completely destroyed by the earthquake and avalanche.
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Although his home was not in Langtang Valley, Makar Tamang was the cook on out trip to Langtang. After the earthquake, he and his family were living in a temporary tin shelter. He has four children, one of which is now at Kailash Home. His elderly parents live with him too.
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Due to the tremendous generosity of our donors, we were able to help these families begin to rebuild their lives. Many, many thanks to all of you!