The Kailash Hostel is operated by the Himalayan Children’s Foundation (HCF), a Nepali charitable organization, registered with the Nepali Government, providing education and general care to underprivileged children.
The Kailash Hostel in Kathmandu
Adequate housing is a reality for the 92 children in the Kailash Hostel. Previously, the children had been evicted from three rental buildings and from the last hostel when the owner decided to sell the property. HYF and HCF now have a permanent roof overhead due to generous donations from our supporters. These donations allowed HYF to build a brand new hostel, on land that the hostel owns, in a quiet valley in the Gorkarna area of Kathmandu. This creates a more stable environment for the children. The adjustment from the separation from their village and families is difficult enough without changing location every two years. Now there is a permanent home at which the children can feel they belong.
HYF constructed three separate buildings including a dining/administrative room , boys dorm and girls dorm. The buildings were inaugurated by the US Ambassador to Nepal at the Grand Official Opening, October 27, 2007. A new playground was constructed and equipped to support the health and fitness of the children. HYF is truly grateful to the U.S. Marine Corps and other volunteers who helped finance and physically worked onsite to create the playground facility for the children at Kailash.
Thanks to the generosity of all our supporters and the hard work of our staff in Kathmandu, hundreds of children will pass through the Kailash Hostel over the years and have the privilege to call it “home”!
HYF selects children from the most remote and poorest mountain villages in Nepal placing emphasis on the Tibetan border region. Since the nearest school is often a three to four hour walk from their home, children living in these villages do not have the same access to education as others.
HYF works to include both Nepali children and Tibetan refugees in our work. The children come to the hostel when they are five to seven years old and are cared for until they have graduated from high school. The staff at Kailash is committed to providing the best care possible for the children. When the children first arrive, it is difficult to adjust to being away from their family. In order to make the children feel as if they are at home, the staff provides a comforting atmosphere and a sense of family within the hostel. The staff cares for the children as if they were their own.
Kailash Hostel was established in part to bring children closer to quality schools so they could continue their education and take their knowledge back to their villages. The children attend three different schools, chosen by fit for the age group. The schools are separate from the hostel but the hostel helps the children in their studying providing tutoring and extra-circulars for them to expand their horizons.
The overall standard of performance of the children is well above average: 13% of them received grades of 80% and higher. (40% is considered a passing grade in Nepal.). Last year, all of our children moved up into their next class. Credit for this achievement also goes to the staff of the Kailash Hostel that helps and encourages the children to complete their home assignments in good time. We closely monitor the progress of each child. The majority of the children do very well on their own and relish the chance to learn but, when necessary, we offer extra tutoring for those who take more time than others to settle into life away from home and the new disciplined routine of going to school.
Appropriate medical care is necessary for the youth to perform optimally both at school and at home. A doctor of western medicine visits the Kailash Hostel once a month to provide regular check-ups and is also available for emergency services as they arise. All the children are vaccinated for the diseases common to that part of the world.
HYF takes great care in the vaccination process. It is important that when the children first arrive they are first brought back to a nutritionally sound state. It is only when we are sure that they are healthy that they are allowed to start their studies.
Children’s Extra-Curricular Activities
Kailash Hostel offers extra-curricular activities for the children. The classes described below open new doors for the students and give them more career options for the future (i.e. rock climbing and water rafting guides).
The Kailash Hostel children are happily tending a new vegetable garden adjacent to the Hostel on a leased parcel of land. We realized the importance of teaching the children such life skills as maintaining a garden, independently sustaining themselves off the land, and contributing to the nutritional, well balanced meals they eat.
The garden keeps the children connected to important Nepalese farming skills maintained in their villages and gives them an opportunity for enjoyable fulfilling work.
Music and Dance classes
Our music program gives the children an alternative interest and the opportunity to open other doors. The program provides instrumental training, choral singing and modern and traditional dance.
The program has been a resounding success with two thirds of our children participating. Some of the children performed at the Hyatt Hotel in Kathmandu and have been asked to perform at the Tsering Elder House.
Violin lessons have also been introduced to the hostel. These violins are a big hit with the kids who are using them to learn about traditional Tibetan, Nepalese and western music.
Swimming is another course offered by Kailash Hostel that teaches a skill that can
be utilized to establish a career for the children in the future. There is a big market in Nepal for jobs in the adventure tourism sector. Water rafting and rock climbing continue to be areas that are in need of instructors. The swimming lessons provide the students with a skill to fall back on if they are unable to find a niche through their academic education.
Through lectures and presentations given at the Hostel by accomplished world mountaineers and day outings with Nepali guides, we will instill in some children the love of the mountains. The courses, given at least once a year, are geared towards the older students giving them a new skill that can be turned into summer jobs or careers following graduation.
These courses are made possible by the Edouard Baud Grant created in memory of Edouard Baud, son of our Board member Anselme Baud, tragically killed on the mountain in 2004.
HYF recognizes the importance of keeping all the children in touch with their family back home and the way of life of their villages. With this in mind, HYF initiated a bi- yearly home-visit program. Children are escorted back to their villages and spend the school holidays with their extended fa
milies. In cases where it is not feasible for the children to travel home, we arrange to sponsor a family member to visit Kathmandu.
HYF insists that the children keep in contact with their village and share the knowledge they have acquired while staying at Kailash Hostel. It is important for the families to understand what the children are learning in order to help support them in the future. The children are always excited and a little bit nervous to return home. They change so much while attending school, but are eager to share their newly acquired knowledge with their family.
One child’s personal reflection of her visit home…
“On September 26 2008 I have a visit village program. It has been 6 years since I got an opportunity to visit back my village. It was really an interesting to spend holidays with family and learn more about nature and people there.
It took 4 days to reach my home by walking. I felt peace, happy and can hear no noises like vehicle honking. It really felt that I got lost in the way and pain in my legs. I can hear the cold wind blowing, rivers running and of course it was an autumn all the leaves were fallen and different kinds of fruits can be picked. I can see many changes in my village. I met my dear loving mother. She was really happy to see me again. I met my childhood friends, my brother, my sister, my village people and my dear grandfather. They were very happy to see me again .I spend my joyful days with them, help my mom cutting grains, you know they sings and whistle joyfully while working. I went to see many places with my mom and friends. I was happy to see that my brother has a brown horse. We went to visit our monastery to get blessing from lama (monk). I felt very sorry to see many children sick and sore in their body. At last I felt very upset to leave them. This was one of my most memorable days”. Name: Sonam Chokyi Lama Class: VI
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