Why We Do It
We believe that in an ideal world, every child would be educated at home with their families.
However, the Himalayan mountain villages of north-west Nepal are the most remote place on the planet.
Himalayan families face an impossible choice for their children:
WITH FAMILY BUT WITHOUT FUTURE
EDUCATED BUT WITHOUT FAMILY
Many Himalayan children are sent away by their parents at age 4 - 6 years old for education in the city.
Without financial and expedition support,
most will never see their families again.
For geographical reasons, and because of the lack of communication, transportation and sanitation in the area, it is not possible to provide education in the remote villages of north-west Nepal.
Even if schools were built, it is highly unlikely that fully qualified teachers would want to live there, until the infrastructure of the region is improved.
It's a wonderful place to trek to, and by trekking in the region you will be helping to bring much needed income, but it is challenging to live long term in an area without any communication, nor transportation, which is why teachers choose to live in the city.
Empowering children through education is the best chance the people have to develop their lives, but for now, and probably the next decade or more, the best chance in life that Himalayan children can have is to be educated in the city, which means sacrificing family life during education.
Snowland Journeys helps enable Himalayan children to fulfil their rights to maintain contact with their families, communities and culture alongside their right to education.
High Himalayan homes of western Nepal are too far to return to each year, but students have a three month break during the gap after taking their Secondary education Exams, sat at 16 (some students are 17 / 18), before they return to further education (funding permitting, something we support them with). During this break, we enable them to be reunited with their families.
In the years preceding their journeys home they need to be emotionally and physically prepared for reintegration by our team of social workers and support services. Their long journeys home require taking two plane flights and up to 15 days trekking to reach their home village. They need to be led by an expedition guide, have camping and cooking equipment, porters to carry luggage, equipment and food for the journey, and they need to buy warm, waterproof clothing and boots. The combined cost is far too much for the young people and their families to afford. Without support, the young people would never be able to return home.
We also film video messages in the villages during these trips, which enable parents with younger children at school to be able to maintain contact, and we take films of the young people to show their parents. In this way, families can feel connected and loved despite the distance.
Read more about what we do.
Long Term Goals
We have a goal to improve communications in the villages so that children can video chat with their parents during their years at school.
In the long term, we would like to help village conditions improve to the point that teachers will want to live there and therefore educating children in the villages will be possible.
We hope you will help us to support the most detached children and communities on earth.
We are sometimes asked, 'wouldn't it be better to leave the children with their families, even if they don't get an education'?
People also ask 'shouldn't we make sure villages stay as they are'?
Before we got to know the young people and villages of the High Himalayas, we wondered that too.
Since then, we have learnt that all the villagers would like to change their situation, because of their tremendously hard lifestyle.
These are the highest inhabited villages in the world and although they are an area of great natural beauty, the life is extremely tough.
The people of the High Himalayas are subsistence farmers with no monetary income, who have to work from dawn until dusk, 7 days a week, in their fields just to have enough to eat.
There is no communication, no transportation, no electricity, no postal service and no sanitation.
43 - 56% of the population of western Nepal's Himalayas live in poverty and 54 - 66% of children under 5 years old are malnourished.
There is very little healthcare; only occasional outposts run by NGOs, often in the main village of the region, which is more than a week's walk away for many.
Women often die in childbirth and there is no understanding of menstruation. When one student went home, her mother asked her, 'now that you are educated, do you know why I bleed each month?' Like the other women in the village, her mother has neither sanitary products nor underwear.
Educating young people of the Himalayas enables the villages and communities to benefit as a whole.
We have learnt that the children feel at home in the quality charity boarding schools we support, and that they are glad to be educated.
When they return home upon graduation from school, the young people not only come to realise why they were sent away, they also come to care for their communities and bring their knowledge back.
Now, they are educated people who know how to operate in the city, and who care about remote Himalayan villages, which makes them uniquely placed to develop the communities. We support them.
An example of education benefitting all is an alumnus of Snowland School who will graduate from medical school this year and plans to return to his community where he will be the region's first ever doctor.
Another example is Nima, featured in our film, who is now studying film and training as a trekking guide. He plans to introduce people to his region and film their stories. We support him in bringing much needed income into his community.
Education is not just a way out, it can be a way back again too.
You can learn more about the situation for Himalayan people in
We believe everyone should decide their own destiny and not be told by another society what they should do, which is why
we work with Himalayan people to ensure all our projects are needs-led by the beneficiaries.