The Good Cause
The Himalaya Club supports the well-being of inhabitants of the Himalaya mountains in three ways.
Our first and foremost priority is to help the less fortunate Tibetan, Bhutanese and Nepalese inhabitants with medical problems. We find patients with medical issues that can not easily be resolved, identify the medical issue and set up a project to resolve it. This includes finding a local institute that has adequate medical expertise, getting the patient accepted, collaborating with the local institute and following-up, transport and lodging the patient, material care such as clothing or a wheelchair, and every other means which is necessary to resolve the medical issue, and give the patient a better life. We organise and fund these projects.
Our second priority is to preserve the Tibetan culture by supporting the renovation of Tibetan Buddhist temples. Tibetans are a distinct people with their own language and culture, but unfortunately they do not have their own country. Tibet is officially an autonomous region of China, but because China does not support and even isolates the region, poverty is widespread in Tibet. Many Tibetans have fled the region and live in colonies in Bhutan, Nepal, India, and other countries that have proved to be very hospitable neighbours. The culture, language and religion of Tibetans needs to be actively supported in order to be maintained.
Our third priority is to promote the Tibetan culture on music and food festivals, and make it better known to European inhabitants.
Please find an overview of our charity projects in what follows.
- Tej Bahadur (2015)
During the earthquake in Nepal on April 25th 2015, two of this family members were killed when their house collapsed. Tej survived the earthquake, but both his legs got crushed when the tin roof of the house fell on his legs. He suffered two comminuted fractures but his parents could not take him to a hospital, because they did not have financial means to pay for the treatment. Tej received first aids for the open wounds on his legs, but the family was incapable of providing him any further care.
After a number of weeks the infections on his legs had not healed yet. The family were compelled to take Tej to the hospital for a check-up. In the hospital doctors found that the comminuted fractures and the infections on his legs had caused the blood supply to parts of the bone tissue to be interrupted, which had evolved into gangrene. His legs were damaged beyond repair, leaving no other choice but to amputate them.
After the amputation Tej was admitted in the Khagendra New Life Home, established by the Nepalese Disabled Association in Jorpati, Kathmandu in 1965. This organization provides treatment and rehabilitation services, training and education, employment, standard lifestyle and human rights to disabled people. To provide all these services, the Khagendra New Life Home relies partially on financing of the disabled patients themselves, but Tej’s parents have difficulties to finance his further treatment and education.
Tej is a down to earth and soft spoken young man, with a whole life in front of him. He has reached class XII and wants to continues his studies towards a master’s degree, in a college of good reputation. Prosthetic legs would allow Tej to go back to school, and continue a normal life.
The Himalaya Club gave Tej Bahadur two new prostheses legs so he can have a normal and happy life.
- Rinchen Dorjee (2016)
Rinchen lives in a small hut in the cold mountain tops of Khasadrapchu, with his mother Dorji Lhamo and 14 year old brother Jigme. Their hut is made from steel plates, hardboard, paper and tape, and hardly has any furniture inside. It has always been a very cold place to live, until very recently electric heating was added, in December 2016.
Many years ago, Rinchen’s parents got divorced. After the divorce Rinchen’s father disappeared. Since then, Rinchen’s mother has been sustaining the family with a very modest income, around 25 euro per month, which she acquires as a cleaning woman. When we met Rinchen, the family was in debt, being unable to pay the modest house rent since several months.
Since his birth, Rinchen has been suffering from malformed hands and legs. Year by year his condition has been getting worse, until his legs were damaged beyond repair. In 2015, Rinchen’s left leg was amputated above his knee, and his right leg was amputated under his knee. Six months later he received prostheses legs and revalidation from the Gidakom Hospital in Thimphu.
Unfortunately, at 8 kilogram per piece these prostheses are too heavy for Rinchen to use. Every night his stumps are irritated because of the weight of his prostheses. Lighter-weight prostheses are not available in Bhutan, unless the patients pay for the prostheses themselves. Rinchen’s mother has no means to pay for lighter-weight prostheses.
End of January 2017, Rinchen received new light-weight prostheses at the Prostheses Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Besides all expenses necessary to give Rinchen new prosthetic legs, the donation also included electric heating for their house, clothing, and funds to pay off the family’s debt.
Mr. Ronald Stok recommended Rinchen to The Himalaya Club for sponsoring, after meeting Rinchen in Bhutan in November 2016. Mr. Stok took care of all practical matters of the procedure.
- Deki Yangzom (2016)
Mrs. Deki Yangzom is a 31 year-old Bhutanese woman living in Yurung, Pemagatshel District, Bhutan. She was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure in January 2015. Since then, Mrs. Yangzom is undergoing dialysis twice per week at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, Thimphu, Bhutan. She was advised by the nephrologist in the hospital to undergo a kidney transplant.
Deki is a house wife by profession and is married with a civil servant, who sustains the family. They have an 8 year old son who is studying in 1st grade. Deki is currently 7 hours travelling distance away from her husband and son to receive treatment in the capital. She currently lives with her elder brother and his family in Thimphu.
Mrs. Yangzom has been looking for a blood related volunteer kidney donor from her siblings. Her three older brothers got disqualified due to an inherited high-blood pressure disease. In November 2016, her cousin, Mr. Thinley, came forward to donate one of his kidneys to Mrs. Yangzom. The preliminary tests have all been performed successfully at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital. The next step is to refer Deki to Kolkota, India, for the kidney transplant procedure.
After Deki is referred, the kidney transplant procedure will be performed in March 2017. The medical expenses for the kidney transplant procedure are borne by the Bhutanese government. Nevertheless, the patient requires a sufficient budget to stay in India during the transplant procedure, and during the aftercare consisting of post transplant reviews. The Bhutanese government does not provide such a budget. Because the living standard in India is higher than in Bhutan, this budget is often hard to provide for the patient him- or herself.
Deki is taken care of by the Bhutan Kidney Foundation, who organizes the practical, administrative and financial aspects of the medical aid for kidney patients in Bhutan.
The Himalaya Club has decided to provide a donation for the kidney transplant of Deki Yangzom. A kidney transplant will enable Deki to survive, to have a normal and happy life with her family, and to take care of her son. This operation will effectively save Deki’s life.
- Tsechhenling Temple (2016)
The Tsechhenling temple is a Buddhist temple built in 1992 by a group of 20 Tibetan Buddhists, for the benefit of the general public to hold religious ceremonies. It is located in the Changzamtok district in Thimphu, close to the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital.
The main purpose of the Lakhang (=temple) is and always has been to perform religious ceremonies, supported jointly by acquiring donations and contributions from its active members as well as from local donors.
Today, the temple consists of two main parts. The first part features a huge statue of Guru Rinpoche (literally “the precious master”), an 8th-century Indian Buddhist master who founded tantric Buddhism, and built the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery. He is considered to be the second Buddha. With a large prayer hall, the first part also serves as the main temple for performing rituals and religious activities.
The second part, which is at the side of the main temple, houses a temple of “Rigsum Gonpo”, which means the “protectors of the three realms”, being Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Vajrapani. This part of the temple also has a big prayer wheel, and 1.000 statues of Vajrapani, the Holder of the Thunderbolt Scepter symbolizing the power of compassion, who represents the power of all the Buddhas. For yoga practitioners, Vajrapani is an archetype deity of fierce determination and symbolizes unrelenting effectiveness in the conquest of negativity. Vajrapani transforms the energy of hate into active wisdom and magical perfection.
The Tsechhenling temple was built and renovated by the Tibetan community residing in Thimphu. The members take turns looking after the temple whenever religious activities take place. The temple is used solely for hosting prayers all around the year, and for fasting activities particularly during the Nyongney (=fasting) Festival. The members have recently appointed Lama Dawa as care taker for the temple, who will look after the welfare and benefit of the temple. This way the temple can be accessed at all times, making it more convenient for Buddhists to host religious ceremonies in the temple by themselves. The Lhakhang is definitely a place worth visiting, for its architectural structure and for the praying ceremonies being held.
The goal of the renovation in 2016, was to install 108 small prayer wheels around the main temple, and one new large prayer wheel inside the temple. As part of the renovation, the general appearance of the temple has also been improved, noticeably by protecting the 1.000 statues of Vajrapani in glass cabinets. A prayer wheel is a cylindrical wheel on a spindle, made from metal and wood. At the core of each cylinder is a “life tree” with many thousands of mantras wrapped around it. On the outside of each wheel, the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum is written in Sanskrit. Also depicted are Dakinis, Protectors and the 8 auspicious symbols Ashtamangala. According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, spinning such a wheel has the same meritorious effect as reciting the prayers.
The Himalaya Club has made the renovation of the Tsechhenling temple possible with a donation to the Tibetan Buddhist community in Thimphu, Bhutan.
- Belgian Fund for Child Cancer (2017)
In 2017, The Himalaya Club offered a donation to the Belgian Fund for Child Cancer (Ned.: Belgisch Kinder Kanker Steunfonds, BKKS). Our donation will be used to help kids like Line, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 15 months old. Today Line is 22 months old and almost cured, but only after her parents pay 5.200 euro to pay for the cure.
The Belgian Fund for Child Cancer also helps sick children to follow courses remotely, so that they don’t fall behind on their education while staying in the hospital. Read all about it on their website .
- Namaste Children Nepal (2017)
Namaste Children Nepal is a non-governmental orphanage, founded by Tej. B. Khadka in Kathmandu, Nepal, in 2005, for the welfare of homeless and parentless children in Nepal. The major objective of this non-governmental organisation is to provide proper shelter, quality education and health care to the children. It aims at giving privilege to those children who were left behind by their parents. This private organization ensures that no child is deprived of the rights and the life s/he should be granted with.
Nepal is small but very beautiful country in south Asia, on top of the Himalaya mountains, with rich natural scenery and cultural variety. However, the country is constantly a victim of natural disasters and the life of the Nepalese inhabitants suffers from this constant threat. In the recent past a political and civil war killed hundreds of people, and children ended up as orphans. The lack of political stability and protective laws has made thousands of children suffer from insufficient safe accommodation, nutritious food and quality education.
Namaste Children Nepal has been working in the sector of child welfare since its establishment. The organisation has its own residence in Kathmandu where children stay, as in a family with home fathers/mothers. They take full responsibility of the children and provide the necessary care. Namaste Children Nepal is providing proper health care and education to the children. Twenty-six children are staying at the home at present. There is regular coordination with the Children Welfare Committee, a governmental institution for the welfare of children.
These children are either orphans, left behind by their parents, from a poor family, victims of natural disasters, crime or abuse. They are proposed to Namaste Children Nepal by social organisations, local governments, police or social welfare institutions. The organisation runs on donations from individuals and public or private organisations. Any sort of donation is always welcome. The organisation aims to expand its activities and projects, by establishing primary schools, libraries, study centres, health care units and birth centres.
The Himalaya Club has decided to provide a donation to Namaste Children Nepal to assist the organisation in its mission of providing a good future to the children in Nepal.
- DAKANT (2017)
DAKANT, short for “Daklozenhulp Antwerpen vzw”, is a Belgian non-profit organization that offers help to less fortunate and homeless people from Antwerp and the surrounding area, who live at the poverty line or below, for whatever reason, and therefore have insufficient resources to be able to buy sufficient food. Every week on Sunday DAKANT offers a quality lunch package consisting of a base of vegetables, fruit, bread and a topping of meat and/or cheese, miscellaneous items depending on availability, combined with fresh coffee, chocolate milk and soup. The average market value of such a meal package is approximately € 40. This means an average monthly saving of 160 € per person. DAKANT distributes between 250 and 400 packages per week, during the winter season, which is 24 Sundays per year.
Hunger and / or social isolation can have a devastating effect on people who are already struggling. DAKANT offers to help these people with basic means, so that they are motivated to move towards the next step. Everyone, regardless of age, background and belief, is welcome at the food distribution of DAKANT. An identity card or the exact socio-economic situation, are not asked for. The only group favored during the distribution is the group of disabled people. Their food package is topped up and given priority by one of the employees.
The Himalaya Club provided a fully-equiped kitchen to DAKANT, where the different items for the weekly food distribution can easily be prepared.
- Belgian Fund for Child Cancer (2018)
The Belgian Fund for Child Cancer helps kids with cancer, their parents and hospitals with the medical treatment, finances, and practical means such as toys for kids to play. The organisation also aims to fulfill a wish for every sick child, whether it’s his/her last wish or not.
In 2018, The Himalaya Club offered a donation to the Belgian Fund for Child Cancer (Ned.: Belgisch Kinder Kanker Steunfonds, BKKS), for the second year in a row. Our donation will help children like Ruth with the treatment of her cancer, and will improve the quality of her life and that of her parents through practical means such as a tablet to follow class while in hospital, or a bicycle trailer for the family to take a day off together and, for example, visit a festival.
Read all about the Belgian Fund for Child Cancer on their website .
- Tshering Penjore (2018)
Tshering Penjore was born on June 3rd 2008 in the village of Khasadrapchu, Bhutan, and is now 9 years. Tshering has one brother and one sister, and is the second child. His father is a driver for a tourist company in Bhutan. His mother is a housewife, and takes care of Tshering and his brother and sister. The family has to live from a small income and is very poor. Tshering is in class 2 at this moment, and goes to the public school in Khasadrapchu. We met Tshering through informal contacts.
When Tshering was only 4 years old, he got involved in a car accident. As a consequence, sadly, his leg had to be amputated up until his hip. He has a prosthetic leg to help him to walk and go to school, but it is heavy and very uncomfortable, since he is even not able to bend his knee in the prosthetic leg.
Tshering is very unhappy with his situation, because his prosthetic leg does not allow him to walk properly. It is a challenge to go to school and walk around the roads of Bhutan. Even to go to the toilet is difficult.
End of September 2017 we presented Tshering’s case to the Protheses Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand, founded by H.R.H. The Princess Mother Srinagarindra of Thailand. The Prostheses Foundation provide state-of-the-art artificial legs to amputees independent of nationality, race, or religion. We are happy to announce that his case was approved. Tshering will be travelling to Thailand beginning of June 2018 to receive a new light weight prosthetic, which will also allow him to bend his knee again. A new light weight prosthetic leg will be significantly more comfortable for Tshering and will allow him to lead a normal daily life, and be a happy kid again.
The Himalaya Club has organized this project, and will finance the transportation, care and all other means needed, to give Tshering a new and better life.
- BIKAS (2018)
BIKAS, Nepalese for “development and progress”, is a Belgian non-profit organization (NGO) that builds schools, hospitals, roads and other basic infrastructure in Nepal. BIKAS carries out these sustainable development projects together with the local population, and with respect for the local culture. BIKAS consists of a large team of volunteers that actively provide help and travel to Nepal to build projects, plus a “friends of Nepal” organisation of around a thousand people, who follow BIKAS out of interest.
One of these projects is the Haku-project. Haku is a remote village of 3200 people in the Himalaya-mountains north of Kathmandu, that was completely devastated by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. More than a hundred people died, even more people went missing, houses got destroyed and even went up in flames, schools and hospitals collapsed, meadows and fields were washed away, cattle died… The only thing that remained were shattered dreams…
Because the village was so remote, aid organisations such as Red Cross did not manage to provide help to the inhabitants of Haku. Exactly for that reason, BIKAS focused on this village. From mid-2015 until now BIKAS has been reconstructing the entire village, together with the local community. Right after the earthquake, BIKAS provided food and life supplies such as rice, oil, salt, clothing, blankets, mattresses etc. for the inhabitants of Haku.
In a second phase, temporary shelters and schools were built, the electricty was restored and scholarships were found to help the inhabitants to survive. Temporary shelters have the advantage that they can be built very fast for a low budget, but also that they give the authorities the necessary time to inspect where permanent housing can be reconstructured. The underground has become unstable in many places after the earthquake. In total 57 temporary houses have been built. BIKAS also worked with other organisations to prevent child victims being smuggled and sold as slaves or child brides.
Temporary houses are simple steel frames covered with a tin roof, without any walls. That way the inhabitants are protected from the rain, but not from the wind. The inhabitants from Haku have recovered materials from their destructed house to build walls, and stay warm inside their temporary houses on the cold Himalaya mountains. This is the preferred solution since materials are very difficult to transport up to the village of Haku in the Himalaya mountains, where there are no roads, and all the materials including often heavy steel beams, have to be carried up the stairs by hand, about eight hundreds meters high. That is an extremely hard job, but with a high reward. In the Himalaya mountains temperatures easily drop below zero, and thanks to these temporary houses, many families no longer have to live under a plastic sail in the freezing cold.
By January 2018, the first new school in the village is ready. Next step is to build the toilets. After that a second school will be built in the next village, one hour away.
On 3 June 2018 BIKAS is organising a concert in Leuven, to raise funds for the Haku-project. The Himalaya Club will sponsor BIKAS by offering our delicious wok dishes at their event and donating all profit to the Haku-project in Nepal. We are happy to contribute to the reconstruction of the Haku village.