In early November a small representation from COINS Foundation, including Larry Sullivan (Founder) and Norman Stromsoy (Trustee of HYF UK, Chair of governors at Stepping Stones and CEO of the DFN Charitable Foundation), visited Nepal.

During the visit, Larry and Norman travelled to the Kailash Centre in Kathmandu. The Kailiash Centre is one of two establishments for orphaned and deprived children supported by the Himalayan Youth Foundation UK and currently meets the needs of 110 youngsters aged 7-17, providing them a home, education and medical care.

The children appeared happy in their environment, giving COINS Foundation a very warm welcome, they were eager to show us around their home, making it evident how well they are being cared for. They loved all the books that we had brought over for them and some of the older students read to the younger children as the light began to fade.

Last year, Nepal suffered two of the most severe earthquakes to hit this region. Many of the remote villages were severely damaged and several of the students lost family members. Students and staff were forced to live in tents in the grounds for 56 days due to the aftershocks, but despite this, the Centre continued to operate and provide vital care and support throughout.

Already one of the poorest countries in the world, Nepal is struggling to cope with this natural disaster, with the difficulty further compounded by trading limitations as a result of political unrest. Fuel and bottled gas supplies have been hugely affected, with severe restrictions on importations from India causing enormous queues for very limited supplies. Regardless of this additional challenge, the small team at Kailash have successfully managed to keep the school buses supplied and by completing all cooking outside over an open fire, they’ve manage to continue operating on limited resources.

Electricity proved another issue with erratic supplies and frequent power cuts, but thanks to a £10,000 grant last year from COINS Foundation, they were able to purchase solar panels for the buildings. Lobsang, the Centre Manager, reported that Kailash now has electricity 24 hours a day, which has made a huge difference to the children and made life just a little better for the hard working staff.

We were also able to visit one of the schools that is supported by the Centre, where the students were clearly pleased to be attending and fully engaged in activities. The children have been given a life changing opportunity here and for many this is the first time they have attended a regular school. Later we heard from the older children how their lives have been changed for the better and their hopes for the future, where for the first time they can look forward to the possibility of further educational or vocational training.

The advancement of learning tools, including; access to computers, laptops and the Internet has given the students’ efforts a significant boost. The COINS Foundation grant not only supported the installation of the solar panels but also equipped a small computer suite, which was being well utilised during our visit.

Access to this (low energy) equipment has seen Kailash students making increased progress and attainment of targets, which was confirmed by the results of school exams. The donation was significant for this centre and has already had a huge impact on the quality of the children’s lives and their potential employment opportunities.

Crossform Media are making a short film, on our behalf, to provide a visual insight into the lives of these young people and demonstrate the importance of having accessible education and training. We hope that the footage will help to encourage potential sponsors to support this programme and our plans to increase vocational training opportunities for these youngsters.

Most of all they loved the drone camera and were excited by the filming. We were treated to a show of their dance moves, which was very entertaining. There were clearly a few budding Bollywood stars in the making!

Norman Stromsey

A Just Giving page has been set up to raise funds, which will support these students furthering their education, whether this be at college or in the form of vocational training. We have managed to secure matched funding up to the amount of $50,000 and have currently raised half of the required amount.

The children we met consider themselves very lucky to have the support of the Kailash Centre and their sponsors. If you are interested in finding out more or would like to help sponsor a child then please visit Himalayan Youth Foundation.