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Previous Projects — 2017

The 2017 fundraising campaign for Saldang School was a huge success!  The goal was $15,000 and we raised $17,700 thanks to 100+ people!

Read our newsletter.

The primary focus in 2017 was to help Saldang School with operating costs for salaries, food and supplies but, we also funded infrastructure projects such as:

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1) A 25′ x 24′ Greenhouse

A shortage of arable land and a harsh climate makes it impossible for Saldang to produce a sufficient quantity and diversity of food throughout the year. This makes the greenhouse a tremendous asset to both the school and the village. It provides better food security by extending the growing season and improving the quality of fresh vegetables for the student lunches and staff meals.

There has been a bonus all season use for this greenhouse. In winter, a monk from the monastery holds classes for students to learn about their Tibetan history and culture. The greenhouse is providing them with a warm and bright classroom on sunny winter days!

2) The purchase of a Thuraya Satellite Phone

so the school can communicate with the outside world to provide periodic updates but most importantly in case of medical emergencies. This is potentially life saving.

Peter Werth was able to purchase the Thuraya Satellite phone for us in the US for half what it would have cost Pema in Nepal. He was on his way to Kathmandu so he delivered it too. Thank you Peter!

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Repairing and/or Replacing Leaking Classroom Roofs

3) This is an on-going project. The wood beams for roof repair are very expensive, but some have rotted and repair is necessary. The wood must be cut from the forest near Lake Phoksundo, three days away, and transported by mule.

The last few years have brought extremely heavy rainfall in spring and summer – an anomaly in this arid land. The plan is to fix / stabilize the roof structure and put plastic cover on top to avoid further damage. The roof surfaces are normally finished with clay and the plastic layer will be utilized to prevent water damage. The final plan is to create enough slope with the clay surface to provide adequate drainage from the roof surface.

4) Repairs to the perimeter compound wall

The wall defines the property boundary; it gives the children a defined place to play and keeps random animals and people from wandering through – including gawking tourists!

Extremely heavy rainfall in spring and summer caused extensive damage to the wall. Heavy rainfall was once unknown in this high altitude desert. 

The wall is primarily made of pounded earth. The rocks are to protect the foundation from further erosion. Rocks are not available in the immediate vicinity so have to be brought down to the village from higher up the mountain by horse or yak.

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5) A New Source of Water for the School

Water is a scarce resource in this high desert. It determines the success, or failure, of food production. 

Currently, there is one water supply pipe to the village; it supports domestic needs, irrigation needs and the school. The village has complained that the school takes too much of this precious resource. Pema has located a new spring in the mountain, and would like to run a new pipe from there to the school. He has asked us for financial assistance.

Saldang had no snowfall in the winter of 2015/16 so the water situation is much more desperate than normal. The Saldang La (La is a high altitude pass) also had no snow, normally the snow is so deep that the pass is closed for several months.

When there is not enough water, there is not enough to eat

6) And we asked Pema, the school coordinator, to purchase some footballs and skipping ropes, and also a warm pair of socks for each child!

7) Portable Solar Lights

We contacted LuminAID, a company that manufactures innovative, light weight solar lights. They provided the lights at a discounted price that they offer to non-profit societies.

I was able to take some to the Dolpo in October to distribute to households that Pema felt would benefit from having a light.

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8) We were able to provide funds to accommodate Tenzin,

a 2016 graduate from Class 6 in Saldang who was not able to be accommodated at Shelter108. He will attend the Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding High School, also in Kathmandu. It is a school of the Tibetan Exile Government.

We received a grateful thank you letter from Tenzin. We also received a message from Tenzin’s father that he “is very much happy and blessed with the support from Altitude project and wishes to convey his warm gratitude and appreciation for the help”.

We discovered that two neighbouring schools were also desperate for additional support in 2017:

1) The school at Komas,

a full day’s walk to the east from Saldang lost the support of its French founder and benefactor. He was killed in a very unfortunate para-sailing accident. Some people from Sweden and a generous woman from Germany had already stepped up to provide some support but they were still short of funds and Altitude Project was able to fill that gap! 

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2) The school at Karang,

a two hour walk to the north of Saldang, also lost its support from the group that had been sponsoring it. The circumstances around the loss of funding are not completely understood but they lost all of it. They are very fortunate to have Peter Werth of Himalaya Currents step in with some major support. Altitude Project was able to contribute a modest sum to help as well.

Location of  Saldang, Karang and Khoma 

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Thank you to all who were able to donate this time!

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

― Albert Einstein