Soon after my Silence in Pokhara video was filmed I came across this sign...
So I had to visit, right?
It just so happens that the founder of the Forum for the Welfare of Himalayan Children (FWHC), Alex, was back from Germany on his annual trip, and to celebrate the organization's 20th anniversary. He's a remarkable man who has devoted most of his life helping the orphaned children of Nepal. He showed me around the property, shared his story, and explained the mission of the foundation.
As we were saying our goodbyes, I felt a need to help out and asked if I could come back. I didn't know what I'd do, I just thought I wanted to hang around the kids for a few hours, maybe teach them how to shoot a basketball. I didn't know... Luckily, and without hesitation, Alex invited me to join a student lead hike to Sarangkot (a mountain village and the best views of Pokhara). Below is short clip from the trek, lead by my pal Santa Raj. He's just one of over ninety kids at the village.
The children that you see in the video come from the families of poor villagers who can't afford them, families that were displaced during the earthquakes, or parents who have just abandon them. They're basically street kids who've lived on their own until they were found by local governments and brought to FWHC.
The village educates the children up to 16. They provide clothes, meals, housing, medical care, and love. FWHC instills a work ethic, discipline, and a set of rules that must be followed. It's the responsibility of each student to wash their clothes, make their bed, work in the garden, and help prepare meals.
The village also has its own set of rules. It's agreed that the village must generate at least 25% of the expenses in order for the organization to keep its funding. They come up with some pretty creative ways to do this:
-Gardening, which supplies them with fresh fruits and vegetables that they don't have to buy.
-They sell arts and crafts to generate income.
-They a Guesthouse that they rent out to tourists.
-Local farmers supply them with manure which is converted into methane gas and burned for their stoves.
-Solar water heater to reduce energy costs.
I can't say enough about the love and support the housemothers provide for the children. They've created such a warm and loving environment. You feel it as soon as you walk through the doors. You could see the smiles on the faces that the kids were genuinely happy.
It's heart breaking to image what would happen to these kids without the village. The Forum for the Welfare of Himalayan Children gives them hope. Life hasn't been fair to these children but with the love of a village, these kids can grow and excel in life. They're proven to be resilient, so if you feel moved to donate, know that you could be saving the next Santa Raj. If you'd like to support the cause you can send donations here. Since their donations page is not live yet, I will send the money directly to Alex at FWHC.