″Friends of Junbesi″ Newsletter
′Friends of Junbesi′ is a group set up to provide funding support for the KPHMN Medical Centre at the Sherpa village of Junbesi in Nepal.
Dear Friends of Junbesi,
Events at Junbesi have moved quickly since our last newsletter in March. In this update:
- Background to ′Friends′
- New staff quarters
- Community work projects
- The Travel Doctor & Flight Centre donors
- A new doctor
- Education & Health Training Programme
- CGI /Sarina Russo group scholarship for Ang
Background to Friends of Junbesi
For those recent trekkers newly introduced to Ang Tshering Sherpa and his efforts in support of the Health Centre at Junbesi here is how the informal online community called Friends of Junbesi arose.
In October 2008 two groups organised by World Expeditions Australia worked on the Medical Centre and then trekked in the Mt. Everest region. One of the groups with individuals from Australia, New Zealand and England resolved to continue their relationship with KPHMN (Kushudebu Public Health Mission, Nepal Charitable Trust) by organising an informal group called ′Friends of Junbesi&prime to facilitate donations for the Health Centre. It was felt that there were a number of people who over the last few years had trekked in Nepal with Ang as Chief Guide who might be sufficiently interested in him and his Junbesi project to support KPHMN with cash donations.
An ad hoc committee of five from Perth, Canberra, Sydney and Auckland was set-up and letters emailed to a list of ex-trekkers provided by Ang advising them about ′Friends of Junbesi&prime and requesting donations.
To facilitate donations local national accounts were opened by the Committee, in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. under written authority from Ang as Chairman of KPHMN.
The response from donors has been positive and since the end of 2008 approximately US$5000 has been donated and remitted to the Kathmandu account of KPHMN at intervals.
Friends of Junbesi newsletters are being written at intervals bringing ′Friends&prime up to date on Health Centre progress. Some innovative ideas in support of KPHMN have been received by the Committee from trekkers.
If you have trekked with Ang you automatically become a member of ′Friends&prime but if you prefer not to be involved please let us know at: email@example.com and you will be removed from the data base.
New Staff Quarters
Earlier this year the semi-derelict house adjacent to the Health Centre was purchased by KPHMN with the generous assistance of an Australian donor.
Since then a huge amount of work has been done on the building both inside and out including a new roof and windows, painting, tiling, ground levelling in front and the installation of a new water tank.
Most building materials have been carried by porters from the road-head at Jiri, 3 days walk from Junbesi and much of the work has been carried out voluntarily by the April World Expeditions Community Project members and the local Management Committee in conjunction with local craftsmen.
When completed the building will not only provide more suitable housing for staff now living in the clinic building but will free up much of the original space for consultations and overnight accommodation for patients who in some cases must walk for up to 3 days for medical assistance.
World Expeditions Community Projects 2009
Two enthusiastic work groups took part in the renovation and painting of the ′new′ house adjacent to the clinic this last April, adding to the work completed by the two first groups last October at the clinic itself. To date community group members have been drawn mostly from Australia but also from New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and America.
These community groups are proving of enormous benefit to the project not just for their manual labour and expertise but also for their input into fund-raising activities for KPHMN and suggestions for the future direction of the Health Centre. In return group members have gained insight directly into the health needs of rural Nepalese and returned with a sense of having made a positive contribution to the lives of others.
Further World Expeditions community work groups are scheduled. For information about these contact World Expeditions.
The Travel Doctor & Flight Centre Support
These two organisations are to be thanked for their recent funding support of KPHMN.
The Travel Doctor has clinics in several countries including Australia & New Zealand at which it provides travel health advice, medical kits, vaccinations and overseas health alerts. The Travel Doctor sponsored employees to take part in the April 09 community work groups to Junbesi.
The Flight Centre operates travel agencies in several countries including Australia & New Zealand.
A New Doctor
Following extensive interviews of a number of Applicants, Ang is pleased to announce the appointment of a new doctor, Dr. Ashwani Kumar Sinha who trained in Russia and Nepal and who has held several senior positions in Nepal. His contract is for 2 years and he takes up his appointment on August 1st.
This is great news since there has been no fully qualified doctor at the Centre since the previous incumbent completed his contract last October.
Scholarship for Ang
It was announced earlier this month that Ang had been awarded one of 10 Clinton Global Initiative/Sarina Russo group scholarships at the instigation of an April community group member. This enables him to attend training sessions in Brisbane 26th September to 6th October next at no cost to himself or to KPHMN.
The Clinton Global Initiative was established in 2005 by past U.S. President Clinton and reflects his belief that collaboration between governments, the private sector, NGOs and other global leaders can effectively confront the world's most pressing problems.
The primary aim of CGI is to turn ideas into action and to help our world move to a more integrated global community of shared benefits, responsibilities and values.
The Sarina Russo group is well known in Australia.
Junbesi Education & Health Training Programme
At present there is a rising trend for young people from Junbesi and surrounding district, to migrate to Kathmandu in search of work, business, further education and better facilities.
At the same time there are difficulties in employing trained staff for such an isolated location as the Junbesi Health Centre.
KPHMN that runs the Health Centre has developed a self-sustaining programme to counter both these problems.
Three local students have been chosen from 86 applicants for 3 year training courses at Kathmandu in Lab Technology, Radiology and Nursing. Upon completion of training the students are bonded to work at the Junbesi Health Centre for several years.
This programme gives bright local students an outlet for their abilities and encourages them to stay in the district and contribute back to the agricultural community from whence they come. For the community at large having a local person as health trainer or health assistant encourages local participation in the programme and a feeling of ownership.
The cost per sponsorships is US$3900 over 3 years or US$1300 each per year, paid annually.
An Australian member of one of the October 09 community work-groups has generously agreed to sponsor the training for Lab Technician and for an existing Junbesi Health Assistant to train in Family Planning. However sponsors have yet to be found for Radiological and Staff Nurse training. The requirement is urgent as students begin training in Kathmandu this week and as things stand training costs will have to be deducted from funds earmarked for building renovation, staff salaries and medicine.
In the absence of sponsors the ad hoc committee of 'Friends' has a plan which could provide sufficient funding for at least one student for one year (US$1300).
We need a minimum of 20 'Friends' to donate the equivalent of US$65 urgently. In return donors will receive one Nepalese water-pashmina scarf (150 cm x 30 cm) in a colour of their choice and worth approx. US$25 retail, postage free to all countries.
Water-pashmina is a fine-loomed and ultra-light 50/50 blend of pashmina wool and silk, so-called for its almost transparent texture. Colours are in muted shades, see photo attached.
Also, sponsorship donors who contribute the equivalent of US$65 before August 7th next will go into the draw for an original Buddhist Thanka painting (photo attached) from Nepal valued at US$100 retail.
If you feel able to make an urgent sponsorship donation may we suggest you bank it in one of the accounts listed below including the word 'sponsor' in the bank fields provided. Also please let us know at: firstname.lastname@example.org with your postal address so that your donation can be acknowledged and a water-pashmina in the colour of your choice can be mailed direct to you. World Expeditions and one of the 'Friends' committee have already started the ball rolling with AU$100 & STG40 donations.
Guys; don′t be put off by the pashmina offer. It is a great gift for partners, mothers, sisters etc!
NOTE: The Nepal Government is unable to contribute to KPHMN and therefore it is totally dependent on private donations for funding.
The accounts for donations are:
- CBA, Potts Point NSW, Sydney, Australia
- Kushudebu Public Health Mission Nepal
- BSB 062014
- Account: 10402716
- Westpac, St. Heliers, Auckland, New Zealand
- Kushudebu Public Health Mission Nepal
- Account: 03 0263 0223978 00
- Nationwide Building Society,
- 4 Pydar Street, Truro, Cornwall, UK.
- Kushudebu Public Health Mission Nepal Treasurers Trust
- Sort code: 07 00 93
- Bank account: 33 33 33 34
- Account number: 0402/704 138 407
- Kushudebu Public Health Mission Nepal>
- Rastriya Banijya Bank Limited (RBB)
- Solukhumbu, Salleri Branch, Nepal
- A/C No. 202000382801
- SWIFT: RBBANPKA
For further information if required, contact one of the following:
- Jennifer Dagg, Australia
- Tim Jerram, New Zealand
- Beverly & Chris Hill, UK
For detailed in formation about the Kushudebu project at Junbesi feel free to access the KPHMN website: www.Kushudebu.org.np
″Friends of Junbesi″
Below is an account of one of the first two community work groups to Junbesi in October 2008. It is written by Jennifer Dagg and was published in the West Australian paper early in 2009.
Travel to Nepal and make a difference
When is a holiday not a holiday? Despite the fact that this trip involved some heavy physical work carrying sods of earth without the benefit of even a wheelbarrow or bucket, levering roughly cut paving stones into place and then using body weight to level the surfaces, with a reward of a night′s sleep on a one inch thick foam mattress, the good will generated far outweighed any of the aches and pains endured. Jennifer Dagg travelled in October to Nepal to join a Community Project Trip with World Expeditions.
On a trek in the Annapurna region of Nepal in 2007 I met Ang Tshering Sherpa, our tour leader with World Expeditions. A quietly spoken and modest young man with excellent leadership qualities, he spoke at the end of the trek about the Kushudebu Public Health Mission in the village of Junbesi, which he had established in 2005. Junbesi and the surrounding area have a population of 3,300 in the Solukhumbu area of north-east Nepal. The only access is a six hour walk from Phaplu airstrip or by driving from Kathmandu to Jiri and walking for three days. Junbesi is Ang′s home and previously had no medical facilities, so villagers, including pregnant women and accident victims, were forced to walk or be carried for five hours to the nearest town of Salleri. The medical centre was set up with donations and funds raised by locals and receives no government funding.
When World Expeditions planned a Community Project trip for 2008 to assist Ang and his management team renovate the centre and add toilet facilities, I was among the first to sign up. The community work for three days would be followed by a fully supported camping based trek into the Everest region, including ascending to Thyangboche Monastery at a height of 3870 meters.
I met up with the rest of the team of 15 trekkers in Kathmandu. We hailed from Australia, New Zealand and the UK, varying in age from 31 to 67 years. Our trip started with a day of sightseeing, then a flight on 19 seater Twin Otter from Kathmandu with a heartstopping descent and landing at the mountainous airstrip at Phaplu before trekking to the village of Junbesi. Our team of Sherpas, porters, cook, and kitchen boys were there to greet us with our tented camp fully established and a welcoming party of the entire medical staff and local officials came to offer us chang - a local Sherpa drink - and chai, and we all received the traditional Sherpa welcome gift of a yellow Khada or scarf around our necks.
Our camping area overlooked the medical centre and consisted of two men tents, toilet tents, a mess tent and cooking tents. All essentials for camping were supplied by World Expeditions - sleeping bags, down jackets and kit bags.
Our hard working team laid paving stones, moved vast mounds of earth, applied whitewash and paint and generally assisted the team of local carpenters whose wages were funded by a component of our trip payment. We were well looked after with plenty of tea breaks, long lunch breaks and constant admonitions not to do too much.
The simple long stone building was transformed in two days by the addition of a paved veranda, a paved area for waiting patients, new window frames, and work was started on tiling of a toilet facility. The work required no special skills but plenty of enthusiasm, although Perth-based house painter Dave soon put his allotted team of three to shame with his proficiency painting the newly erected veranda. The carpenters only used hand tools to erect an awning, line it with tongue and groove boards and cover it with corrugated iron sheets. Cheerful assistance was provided by our team of Sherpas, cooks and porters. We worked for about six hours a day and rotated our tasks, with allowances being made for sore backs, stiff necks and creaky knees - rolling bandages was also an option. The work gloves which we were asked to supply were essential. Our safety and health was a priority for our tour leader while our cook kept up our stamina with an amazing selection of local and western dishes. Our Nepalese was limited to words of greeting but there was a great sense of team spirit as we worked together with our team of carpenters, who were unfailingly cheerful, took the minimum of ″smokos″ and left the centre long after we had headed back to our tents.
The local villagers arrived to check us out, and although the medical centre was officially closed, two young mothers carrying their babies in woven baskets on their backs came for vaccinations. Some members of our party had brought donations of a laptop computer, medical supplies, sheepskin rugs and warm baby clothing - all were gratefully received by the medical staff for distribution.
Following our last day of work we were feted by the locals, treated to a display of dancing and a personal message of thanks from Nawang Gimba Lama who had walked from nearby Phunmoche Monastery to express his appreciation. We left Junbesi the next day feeling we had made a real difference and contribution to the village by our presence and had gained so much individually by working with locals to achieve their goal.
Our ten day trek covered steep ascents and descents, crossed rivers, went through rhododendron forests and fields of potatoes and buckwheat. Our first sight of Everest was when leaving Namche Bazaar at 3440 meters - a steep and difficult climb - but the views of Everest (8848) and the surrounding peaks of Lhotse and Ama Dablam were a great reward. We descended to the villages of Kumjong and Khunde and visited the famous Khunde hospital founded by Sir Edmund Hillary. We experienced stunning mountain scenery, variations in weather from heavy rain to glorious sunshine and nights at well below zero degrees. The trekking was tough at times but lots of encouragement from other travellers and great support from our Sherpas meant there were few complaints. Our trek finished with a farewell party, dancing and singing with our support team before heading back to Kathmandu for two nights. All agreed that the three days of our holiday spent “working” in Junbesi were a highlight of our visit to Nepal.
Craft Nepal N.Z.
Craft Nepal N.Z. is a non-profit micro-aid project set-up in New Zealand in support of KPHMN and the village Health Centre at Junbesi.
Background to Craft Nepal N.Z.
During 2007 Tim Jerram and daughter Annabelle trekked in the Annapurna region of Nepal on a World Expeditions tour guided by Ang Tshering Sherpa.
The poverty and health needs in Nepal were immediately apparent and in conversation with Ang, Tim & Annabelle learned of the KPHMN Health Centre Project in Ang′s home village of Junbesi.
Toward the end of 2007 Tim began importing product from Nepal for sale in New Zealand under the trade name, ′Craft Nepal N.Z.′ with the purpose of remitting wholesale profits to Nepal in aid of the Junbesi Health Centre.
Trial imports of pashminas and Tibetan carpets were made and successfully wholesaled to selected retailers, encouraging Tim to continue the process while pursuing his ′day job′.
In October 2008 Tim and Annabelle returned to Nepal as members of one of the first community work groups to Junbesi organised by World Expeditions Australia and worked on building construction and maintenance at the Health Centre before trekking in the upper Solokhumbu region near Everest.
The Craft Nepal N.Z. model is working well. Between November 2007 and July 2009 the equivalent of US$10,500 has been forwarded to the KPHMN bank account in Kathmandu to provide financial help for the Health Centre and by purchase of crafts to give much needed employment for Tibetan refugees and Nepalese.
Nepalese products currently sold are: genuine scarf & shawl pashminas, hand-knitted warm Nepalese hats, Thanka Buddhist paintings and hand-knotted carpets of Tibetan design made by refugees in Nepal.
Pashmina has become a generic term for any scarf/shawl with tassles made from artificial or natural fibre. Genuine pashmina, for those unfamiliar with the product is the very warm & fine wool from Himalayan mountain goats which is spun as pure fibre or blended with silk to produce garments of excellent quality.
It is intended that Craft Nepal N. Z. pashminas will soon be available for purchase from this webpage in support of KPHMN and the Junbesi Health Centre.
Contact details for Craft Nepal N. Z. are:
- Craft Nepal N.Z.
- P.O. Box 25033, St Heliers, Auckland 1740, New Zealand
“Friends of Junbesi” has organized a program to visit the Khusudebu Public Health Mission Nepal on April 2011. According to the information provided by the members of “Friend of Junbesi”, Mr Tim Jerram and Ralph Snowdon, the team is going to visit Khusudebu Public Health Mission Nepal through World Expeditions of Australia and they are scheduled to perform the community base works for 3 days. During this visit, the team is going to pave tiles on the floor of current kitchen and staff room and is also planned to use these rooms as patients’ room after completion of flooring. Then the staffs will be shifted to the newly built staff quarter. The team has also scheduled to visit “Gokyo Lake”.
Khusudebu Public Health Mission would like to thanks “Friends of Junbesi” for their kind help and valuable suggestions and look forward for the success of their visit.