“If there was anything I could do for the Sherpa people, what do you think that would be?”
– Sir Edmund Hillary
After a successful attempt of conquering Mt. Everest on 29th May 1953 with Tenzing Norway Sherpa, Sir Edmund Hillary was never the sort to be able to accept the profession of full-time celebrity but he had higher ideals than that. His travels in Nepal and friendship with local people in the mountain region, particularly in the Everest region, had given him a deep appreciation of Nepalese culture and people. Yet he was not so blinded by the romantic beauty of the landscape to overlook the very real social problems that Nepalese people faced living in a small, poor country dwarfed by two giant nations. During, one of his visits in Everest region, Sir Ed asked one of his Sherpa friends above-mentioned question,”If there was anything I could do for the Sherpa people, what do you think that would be?” His Sherpa friend replied, “Burra Sahib, our children have eyes but they are blind and cannot see. Therefore, we would want you to open their eyes by building a school in our village”. This statement touched the heart of Sir Ed. Then he immediately began to raise funds and built the first school in Khumjung in 1961.
With the successful operation of Khumjung school and its impact in the region, many others from the vicinity villages of Khumjung also requested Sir Ed to build schools in their villages. Hillary responded to their request and built schools. Because of too many requests of building schools, hospitals and other projects from the local community, Sir Ed decided to raise funds through an official organisation and therefore established and registered the Himalayan Trust as a non-government organisation in New Zealand under the New Zealand Charity Act in 1963 for the betterment of Sherpa community and people of Solukhumbu.
The humanitarian initiatives under the leadership of Sir Ed were strongly appreciated and supported by an outstanding group of partners and donors around the globe. The most important of these partners and donors organizations are The Himalayan Trust New Zealand, Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Canada, American Himalayan Foundation, Hillary Foundation Chicago, Sir Edmund Hillary Stiftung Germany, and The Himalayan Trust UK. With the local request, Sir Ed built 27 schools, 2 hospitals (Khunde and Phaplu Hospital), dozens of village level clinics, Lukla airport, bridges and freshwater supplies. He also supported in the implementation of the Sagarmatha Forestry Project, maintenance and rebuilding of monasteries. These projects were implemented under the direct leadership of Sir Ed through Himalayan Trust New Zealand in close coordination of the advisory committee of Sherpa friends in Kathmandu until his death in 2008. The advisory committee was later transformed into Himalayan Trust Nepal and registered as a local non-governmental organization in 2005 as per the law of the government of Nepal. The main objective of the Himalayan Trust Nepal is to enhance the quality of the lives of the people in the Solukhumbu district through the integrated development of health, education, environment, and culture of the area. In line with the vision and programmes initiated by Sir Ed, Himalayan Trust Nepal supports in health, education, environment and culture promotion in Solukhumbu district.
HTN is local NGO of Solukhumbu registered at CDO office (Reg. No. 87, Solu) and affiliated with Social Welfare Council (SWC Aff. No 21991)