KATHMANDU, Nepal–Pasang Sherpa Lama is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Himalayan Trust of Nepal, a charitable and non-profit organization which serves to uplift the Sherpa Children mainly in Solukhumbu district. Born at Bamti Bhandar of Ramechhap district, Mr Sherpa has been working at the Trust over many years.
Beside Himalayan Trust, Mt Sherpa has been assuming a role of bridge between Benoit Chamoux Foundation, an organization that manages to look over the children of Mountaineers who died during the course of climbing the Peaks in Nepal, and the Children as well as their guardian under the foundation.
Many of the Children under the foundation prefer to call him a “dad” for his outstanding contribution to the children through the foundation that was established more than 16 years in the name of Benoit Chamoux who disappeared in a fatal accident at Mt. Kanchenjunga along with Pierre Royer and Riku Sherpa in 1995 during the ascent of his 14th summit, higher than 8000 meters.
Following is an excerpt that he talked with the reporters of Montagna.TV /Nepal Mountain Focus Surendra Paudyal and Suvash Sharma focusing on the objective of Foundation and children studying under it apart from his role in the trust where he is involved.
What kind of organization is Benoit Chamoux Foundation?
It looks after the children whose father dies in the mountain expedition in Nepal.
What is the role of Himalayan Trust, and your’s in particular as the chairperson of the Trust in lifting the aims of Foundation?
The Himalayan Trust founded by Sir Edmund Hillary works in the field of education and health in Solukhumbu district. I am assuming the role of Chief Administrative Officer of the Trust in Nepal to look after Kathmandu administration as well as projects in Solukhumbu and monitor its progress in coordination with the donors and concerned government agencies.
The educational activity of Benoit Chamoux Foundation is based in Kathmandu. Enrolment of orphan children picked out by the Foundation, paying fees of the children studying at Himalayan International Model School (HIMS) schools and Little Angles (LA) colleges, monitoring their progress, counseling, amassing their educational report and briefing it to Fabienne Clauss and Agostino Da Polenza is our basic responsibility. In other word, Miss Elizabeth Hawley, Ang Rita Sherpa and now at the moment I have been playing as a bridging role between the school, colleges and Benoit Chamoux Foundation through the Trust.
How long the Foundation have been working with its noble cause? The foundation here in Nepal is working for the last 18 years. The selection of the students is made by Fabienne through Chamoux Foundation on request from victim’s family referred by various expedition agencies.
Is the Foundation alone or are there any other organizations that are funding the students?
In my opinion, there are few kind hearted individuals including Fabienne Clauss and Agostino Da Polenza for supporting these students through the Foundation.
EvK2CNR president Agostino Da Polenza, who is the chairman of this foundation, during his Nepal trip rarely miss to meet these children and you as a facilitator accompany him. How you describe Mr. Agostino’s attachments toward mountain children?
Chairman Agostino Da Polenza is very busy but has a dignified personality. He visited the schools and colleges two times since he assumed Chairmanship of the Foundation. I have not accompanied him for school visit but I have made appointment with the schools and colleges ideally on Saturday.
How do you, as an active member or say as a facilitator, evaluate the contribution of Foundation in shaping the future of Sherpa children?
I have found the success of the Foundation through the intensive care of Fabienne Clauss. I have found her more than mother. The real mothers are mostly illiterate. Fabienne has been succeeded to bring the student in confidence for their study via encouragement and love as well as warm love. I have seen her in tears when some of the students do not tend to make good educational progress. She has actually tried her best to shape the future of Sherpa Children who have been backed by her Foundation
As the students have harbored various dreams ranging from Doctor, Engineer, and Charter Accountant to others, does the Foundation or your Trust fund the students or help them to pursue their dreams?
The Himalayan Trust supports only those students who have passed their School Leaving Certificate (SLC) from Solukhumbu district, the very home to Mt. Everest. Hence, the role of Himalayan Trust and Chamoux Foundation is very different in terms of their nature. The Chamoux Foundation supports the bright students who desire to pursue higher studies in colleges or university in cost sharing basis with the mothers.
The children are from the mountaineering background but when we talk to them almost all seemed reluctant to the professions of mountaineering and expedition…
Most of the Sherpa could not receive education in the past decades. Thus, they opted for mountaineering profession rather than depend upon mountain farming and traditional yak grazing. Now with the change of time and opportunity, Sherpa are becoming educated. Therefore it is natural to pursue different career rather than follow their forefathers’ occupation.
Some of the students under the Foundation said they want to be a part of the trust after accomplishing the study. What you as a patron of the students expect to facilitate them more?
Most of the students who witnessed sad circumstances in their life seem much laborious and dutiful. They know that their fathers died in the peaks and they are under the patronage of somebody. After schooling they come to know that they are financially supported by Chamoux Foundation. I have seen some of the students very bright. They can go far ahead and could realize the importance of social work.
For many years you have been attached to children, do you have any unforgettable movement? Will you explain our readers the remarkable deeds of the Foundation graduates (former students)?
I had a very sad moment when Tshering Dorjee was expelled from Little Angels College after a brawl with his colleagues. He appeared his class 11 board exam from LA. Later, we enrolled him at HIMS in class 12 and he stayed with his mother, Sonam Lhamu and attended the class at HIM. Even at HIMS, the principal called me to warn that his behavior was not mending and went to the extent of saying that he is expelling him from HIMS. But in spite of his behavior unpleasant to both the principals, he passed his Science exam in flying color. He is now studying Bachelor Degree in Oklahama in USA.
I found three things very strange in him. He is Sherpa, thus his way of talking in Nepali with friends, teachers make sometimes not pleasant. He bursts into tears but his face looks cheerful. But all in all I found him very bright.
At last, but not the least, do you have any words to say more through our news portal?
We really appreciate the Foundation for being so kind in shaping the future of the innocent Sherpa children whose mother would have been without any direction for what their children should do or what they should be in future had there been no financial support for the education of these children.