In the year following the 1953 climb, George Lowe was visiting the Nepalese village of Khumjung with Sir Edmund Hillary when a young Sherpa presented their group with a petition.
It read, “We have eyes but we cannot see; we have ears but we cannot hear. We know there is a big world out there, will you help us to have a school?”
Moved by the boy’s request, the team decided to pay back as much as possible to the community that had supported them in their historic Everest climb by helping them raise their standards of living. They began by building a classroom in Khumjung. More petitions for schools quickly followed from neighbouring villages, and so a network of classrooms and schools grew.
Alongside the physical buildings and facilities, work is also ongoing to support those who study, work and teach in the schools. George Lowe had worked as a headmaster of a co-education school in Chile that served around 2,500 pupils of all ages, including boarders. He had also spent some time working for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Schools in the UK.
George Lowe oversaw the founding of two annual ‘post-16’ scholarships, one for a girl and one for a boy from the village of Bung. Recipients are invited to report back on how they have benefitted educationally from the money and used it to further their studies and prospects. Here are some words from three beneficiaries.
“My name is Kamal Kumari Rai. I’m an obedient student hailing from an impoverished family residing in a rural area. Despite the successful completion of my SLC from Janajagriti HS School, owing to the poor financial condition of my family, I faced problems in continuing my higher education. With the help of the Himalayan Trust, who provided me with financial support, I was able to complete my +2 from Salleri NDC and for this; I would like to thank Himalayan Trust with all my heart. Since a young age, I have always wanted to be a teacher and this ambition has remained with me till now. If Himalayan Trust continues to support me financially, I can drown myself in an ocean of knowledge and spread this knowledge amongst others like me.”
“I am Prakash Rai. I passed SLC from Janajagri Higher Secondary School in Salleri. Because of my family’s financial situation, my parents were unable to afford the fees necessary for my higher education. Thankfully, I was supported by the Himalayan Trust Nepal, which allowed me to continue my studies without being a financial burden on my parents. Currently, I am studying in Salleri, living in a small rented accommodation. The money provided by Himalayan Trust’s scholarship pays for my accommodation, my tuition fees as well as other educational stationeries. I would like to thank Himalayan Trust for believing in me and giving me a chance to fulfil my goals, which would not have been possible without their help.”
“Becoming blind left me shocked and saddened: feeling similar to that of a fall from a height. I met many blind people after my own incident and made many great friends. Many of these friends were artists, teachers, government workers and students, despite their disability. This was a great source of motivation and encouragement for me. I decided to move past my blindness and try to continue further with my education learning to get admission into higher level academia, but I was still low on financial aid. Seeing my struggles, a friend from school recommended that I seek help from Himalayan Trust. With Himalayan Trust scholarships, I continued my studies from Intermediate up to M.A. My dream to continue my study was fulfilled, and today I am a permanent government teacher at Chomalung Primary School in Kanku – 2, Solukhumbu.”