Himalayan Development Foundation Australia (HDFA) seeks to enable the people of the Himalayas to choose their own development pathway in an informed and sustainable way, whilst retaining the cultural heritage of their own choosing. They take a holistic approach tailored through community engagement and consultation with a needs analysis focussing on six key causes: Education | Child Safety | Healthcare | Infrastructure | Conservation | Economic Development.
HDFA believe sustainable development requires a balanced approach appropriate to the needs and capacity of the community and environment. Only by enhancing each cause in balance with the other can a sustainable solution be achieved.
HDFA’s flagship project is the Ghunsa Village Project, where they aim to work with the Ghunsa community to improve the education standards for the local children, with healthcare and basic infrastructure to enable this to occur, with an eye to both conservation and economic development. Ghunsa is a mainly Sherpa community in the Kangchenjunga Region of Eastern Nepal. It is 5 days strenuous trek to the closest road head and airport at Taplejung, and access tracks are vulnerable to monsoonal damage.
HDFA is working with the village community on a number of fronts. Their aim is to increase the level of education provided from 26 children who receive a very basic level of support, to 60 children well supported with better infrastructure over an 18-24 month period.
HDFA will facilitate the construction of a hostel to house pupils who live up to three days walk away. This will improve the living standards (and health) of the currently resident students and teachers, enable new students to attend the school, and free up three classrooms currently used as sleeping and cooking quarters, for teaching. A further classroom will be freed up if the health post is able to be moved to the new hostel. Significant improvements can also be made to the learning environment through small renovations to the existing classrooms.
In addition to the infrastructure improvements mentioned above, HDFA’s objectives include the provision of teaching materials (books, posters, games) in Nepali and English and facilitating teacher training, supplemented by visits, workshops, and placements from teachers, educators and helpers from overseas.