Humla is located in the far northwest of Nepal. It is the highest (approximately 1 500 m-7 300 m), the poorest and the least developed of the country's 75 districts. The population of Humla amounts to approximately 50 000 of which about 10 000 are Tibetan-speaking Buddhists (Bothias) and the other are Nepali-speaking Hindus (Chetris).
The Humlis live in small villages on the forested alpine slopes of Himalaya overlooking steeply terraced strips of cultivated land. The isolation and poverty in a harsh mountainous land allow people to have only the most necessary for survival. Humla lacks still almost entirely roads, and can only be reached by foot or light aircraft that can land on a small airstrip between the mountains in Simikot which is the head village of Humla. The area is called "The Hidden Himalayas".
|The villages climb along the mountain slopes||It is often a lot of snow in Humla|
Life in Humla is a day to day survival. Agriculture and cattle breeding are the main employment and source of income, even though just only 2 % of the land can be used for cultivation. In winter the high passes are covered with snow. This will often prevent the villagers to leave their homes for months. The growing season is short. Flash flooding is a danger in the spring and the monsoon rains often create problems. The roads are trails that winds along the mountain slopes and the means of transports are still yaks,goats and horses. The utility tools are often very outdated.
|The trails meanders along the slopes as this||that is sloping down to the Karnali River|
|Some fields are so large that it is possible||to plow and harrow with help of yaks|
The public service in Humla is flawed. Very few outside Simikot have access to essential health care. Because of this and the previous violent political conflicts in the country, where the mountains have been particularly vulnerable, many Humlis are still illiterate. Malnutrition still occur certain times of the year.
Modern life is however slowly coming to Humla. In Simikot there is since many years a possibility to use internet and it is now possible to use cellphones in several villages. A road from Tibet into Humla is under construction, which will facilitate the transports in the future. A micro hydro power has been built just outside the village of Yangar where KMCH has its school home.
Many NGOs are active in Humla and contributes in various ways to support the residents to improve their living conditions. In recent years, it has been built many greenhouses and several villages have access to mobile threshing machine, so now they need not thresh with flails on the flat roofs.
KMCH is an abbreviation of Kailash Manasarovar Children of Humla. It isa democratic and non-profit organization, whose main purpose is to give poor children from Humla a possibility to attend school, to support the development of the health care, the living conditions and the civil society of Humla. KMCH was started in 2007 and is registered at the District Administration Office of Humla and the Social Welfare Council in Kathmandu. Initiator and Chairman of the KMCH Nepal is the former buddhist monk Chembal Lama, who grew up in the village of Yangar and has got his education in the nearby monastery of Namkha Khuyng Dzong.
KMCHs activities are concentrated around the villages of Yangar and Yalwang, located in the so-called Upper Humla, whose inhabitants are mainly Buddhists and of Tibetan origin.
KMCH has a clear environmental profile and all projects designed to promote a sustainable development in the district. The organization cooperates with the village council of Yangar, the monastery Namkha Khyung Dzong, which is the cultural center of Upper Humla, with other NGO´s working in Humla and with the regional authorities of Humla.
KMCH Support Group in Swedenis a non-profit organization whose main purpose is to financially support KMCH´s activities in Nepal. So far, the financial support has mainly come from the KMCH Support Group. There is also a support group in Switzerland and a group under formation in the United States. A Chinese couple has in the last two years made contributions to some investments.
KMCH gives priority to two projects, a school home and a health clinic. It is to these two projects that our collected funds primarily are intended to go. For investments we have so far received some larger sums from individual donors. Other projects, how important they may be, will be started only if separate funds and help with administrative and technical competence, etc. can be obtained.
A school home in the village of Yangar
In year 2007 KMCH started a school home for poor children from Humla in Kathmandu. This gave them an opportunity to go to school. Due to the unrest in the country and the lack of quality of the schools in Humla, Chembal Lama judged Kathmandu as a safer and better place for the school home than Humla.
In the spring of 2010 all the then 17 children in Kathmandu moved to a school home in the village of Yangar in Humla. In order to be sure that the kids wouldn't lose their foothold in the culture of Humla, it was important that their stay in Kathmandu should be as short as possible. In a rented house in Yangar there already lived 7 children in a school home that was started in spring of 2009. Together with the 17 children from Kathmandu the number of children became 24. Then the number of children were gradually increased and at the end of the summer 2011 they were 35.
2012 KMCH started the construction of an own building in a place that already in 2008 had been set aside for KMCH by the village council of Yangar. Late fall, the operation moved to this building, which at that time consisted of four rooms and of a provisional kitchen beside the hostel. In this area, which is located some distance from the village of Yangar KMCH had already in 2010, with the help of the Swiss engineer Bastian Etter, built toilets and brought water in pipes from a source in the mountains above.
Late spring 2013 a second floor with four rooms was built so there were then eight rooms. The children now live in five of the rooms and the servants in three. In 2013, the construction of a new house with five rooms in one flat was started and bunk beds were built in the hostel. The new building, which was almost ready 2014, contains two classrooms, storage, office and a room that is supposed to relieve the hostel so the children do not have to live so crowded as they have done up to then.
The investment plan for 2014 also included the installation of stoves for warming up the children's room. The kitchen is still in a temporary building. In the fall 2014 KMCH got an extra contribution for the building of more toilets and to improve the washing and hygiene possibilities. Winter came early to the Humla in 2014. This caused some of the planned investments to be pushed to 2015.
|The Hostel where most of the children and staff live||The new building with classrooms, storage and office etc.|
Now there live 47 children, 28 girls and 19 boys in the school home. The children are aged between 7 and 19 years and come from fifteen different villages of Upper Humla. They attend a governmental school in the neighbouring village of Yalwang. The children would not, according to Chembal Lama, have had the opportunity to go to school without help from KMCH. KMCH is paying the salary for two teachers in the governmental school. These teachers live in the school home and teach the children both before and after the regular school day. These two teachers live at the school home. The children from KMCH have good grades and are often highly ranked in their respective classes.
|"The KMCH Family" with guests from Sweden in the summer of 2014|
Namkhyung Charity Clinic (NCC)
KMCH operates since 2008 a health clinic in cooperation with the monastery Namkha Khuyng Dzong in the village of Yalwang which is the same village where the children´s school is situated. The clinic has a room in the monastery and is run by a male nurse from Humla. The clinic is open almost seven days a week. It is very popular among the inhabitants of the nearby villages. Daily, about 10 to 15 people and are seeking care. The care is free. In 2014 4 199 patients were treated. Most ot the patients come from the nearby villages, but many have walked 2-3 days to get to the clinic. Most visits are in April and November, when there are festivals at the monastery and many people are coming to participate in them.
NCC needs medical equipment and help to continually replenish the medicine supply. We are also looking for contact with doctors and dentists for regular visits at our clinic.
Greenhouse cultivation and gardening
In 2010, according to Chembal Lama, KMCH built the first greenhouse in Humla. It was built adjacent to the old school home. In the autumn of 2012 KMCH built a new and larger greenhouse in connection to the new school home. The greenhouses have provided good harvest and added essential vitamins to the children's diets. These pilot greenhouses have inspired more people to build greenhouses in the area.
The children also operate two kitchen gardens for outdoor cultivation. In the summer of 2013 KMCH purchased a pregnant goat. In summer 2014 there were two goats and both were pregnant. If this experiment will be a success, it can probably be more goats later and with them a possibility to get milk and cheese.
|Work in our green house||Our goats are running freely everywhere|
It is important to have a little private food production because there is no food for sale in Humla. KMCH buys flour in Tibet and rice in Simikot. The rice has been shipped to Simikot with small aircraft and is because of that very expensive. The flour and the rice and all other foodstuffs are transported to the school home by horses or yaks. The new road from Tibet indicates that food bought in Tibet in the future will be transported by truck.
In the autumn of 2009 KMCH started a handicraft project in a small scale. Some women in the village of Yangar were paid to weave traditional textiles, which were sewn into handbags and table mats in Kathmandu. They were sold in Sweden and to tourists in Nepal. It was not so easy to sell the products, so the project is currently dormant.
KMCH started 2009 teaching of adults at evening time in the village of Yangar and 2010 in the village of Tumkot. In both villages, it was between 20 and 30 adults, mostly young women, who took part in learning basic ABC and mathematics. Teaching lasted about an hour, six nights a week during fall and winter when farming not required all the time. Since 2012 the authorities of Humla are responsible for this activity and to our delight they have expanded it to some more villages.
KMCH in the future
KMCHs main mission is to operate the school home and the health clinic. The School home gives poor children in Upper Humla an opportunity to go to school and the Health clinic provides free health care to all who seek it.
Many children are in the line to get help by KMCH so maybe more than today's 47 children might live in an enlarged school home in the future. An expansion, however, requires long-term economic resources of a size that we currently lack. With each new child follows, in principle, ten years supply responsibility. The ambition at the moment is to increase the contributions so we, among other things, can compensate for the significant economic impact of the weaker krona.
We also try to gradually improve the living conditions at the School home. Many important investments have been completed and some are under implementation. The kitchen is still provisional and further improvements in particular regarding hygiene conditions are desirable. KMCH has recently received a grant for a new kitchen building so we are hoping to start that project soon, perhaps already this year.
KMCH may also in collaboration with other organizations initiate and carry out projects such as reforestation, agricultural education, handicraft, tourism and other activities that can broaden the supply base and develop the civil society in Upper Humla.
KMCH Support Group hopes through journeys to Humla be able to stimulate a cultural exchange between Humla and Sweden. The monastery is prepared to cooperate and can help us to spread information about culture, religion and customs of Humla.
As mentioned before KMCH gives priority to the School home and the Health clinic. The gifts received goes thus primarily to these two projects. Other projects can be started only if special funds and support in the form of administrative and technical skills can be obtained.