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Your flights to Lukla from Kathmandu may be diverted to Ramechhap Airport. Here’s Why!

Your flights to Lukla from Kathmandu may be diverted to Ramechhap Airport. Here’s Why!


Friends of Himalayan Children (FHC) is a volunteer-run, humanitarian organisation, working in remote rural communities in the Sindhupalchok region of Nepal and in Kathmandu. Our aim is to improve the lives of vulnerable women and children in Nepal, through better access to quality education and training and through community development projects. We strive to provide empowerment through education.

In 2014 Take On Nepal (TON) was established by Som and Susan, to provide employment pathways for young people from Batase, directing their talents and skills into ethical vocations in the tourism industry. TON also supports the FHC’s Volunteer program by organising visits, facilitating access to the village, providing services for volunteers and co-ordinating activities for them. Most TON staff work flexibly across both areas, working as porters and trekking guides on Himalayan trails, or supporting Volunteer programs in various roles. TON particularly encourages girls to take on work with the company, this keeps them safe from human trafficking and provides a viable option rather than an early marriage.

Another exciting development in Batase has been the growth of employment pathways for the youth of the area. By starting up the company Take On Nepal, which offers tour, trekking and volunteer services, Som and his wife Susan are able to offer young people training and employment opportunities in Nepal’s growing tourism industry. The charity benefits from its close relationship with the commercial venture, as staff paid by Take On Nepal fill important roles on the ground in Batase for FHC.

The Friends of Himalayan Children have a volunteer program, which helps to contribute to the English language development of the school community, the well-being of hostel residents and the progress of community development projects. Visits to Batase village can be arranged through Take On Nepal, who will arrange guides for the two-day walk from Kathmandu or a driver for the 5-hour road trip.


Batase School used to only offer classes to Grade 3. To study further, children would need to make a 6 hour round trip, on foot, down to Talamarang. One of the earliest priorities of the FHC was to expand the capabilities of the local school in Batase, so children could live with their families while getting an education. Land was purchased, classrooms built, teachers employed and soon Batase school was offering classes to Grade 8. A local hostel was another priority, so that children from other remote villages could also go to school, without the long walk at each end of their day. More on Batase Hostel below. FHC scholarships are offered to children whose families can not pay school fees and hostel costs.
When Som (the founder of FHC) had demonstrated to the government that the school was indeed viable, FHC was able to pull back from the level of support it provided. Now funds were directed to further expanding the school to offer classes to Grade 10. The school had just welcomed its first Grade 10 students when the earthquake of April 2015 demolished the school and the hostel. The Nepalese government and Caratas are jointly funding the re-construction of the school on the same site.

Meanwhile temporary classrooms were erected for the school children. Two long, low buildings made of corrugated iron, with dirt floors, divided into learning spaces. Volunteers are encouraged and welcome to spend time at the school, interacting with the children and taking classes where appropriate, to provide valuable native-speaker English language practice and a link with the world beyond Nepal.
The FHC’s capacity to offer educational scholarships and provide for the needs of hostel children relies on the generous support of donors and sponsors, as well as the positive involvement of families and community. 100% of donations received by the charity are spent directly on these core priorities. Thank you for helping us create a better future for our children.


Batase Hostel provides a safe and caring environment for 46 disadvantaged children (March, 2020). Its mission is to ensure the children are educated and given choices about what direction their future will take. In many cases, the children come from remote villages and being able to stay at the hostel makes going to school possible. Others lost one or both parents in the 2015 earthquake and home circumstances are so difficult, that education is not a priority. In some cases, FHC has been alerted to the discovery of siblings effectively abandoned and fending for themselves in the family home. Some children have been rescued from dysfunctional families, when their safety was in question. Where possible, children maintain strong connections with their families. For the children from remote villages there is always the opportunity for home visits, especially during school holidays. Some others have their siblings with them.

Visitors to the hostel are always impressed by its happy, family-style environment. The children are accustomed to hostel visitors and, in turn, welcome them, include them in activities and enjoy attention from them. Interaction with native speakers of English – through help with their homework or participation in activities – is of great value to the children; and interaction with the children enhances the cultural awareness of the visitors. A hostel manager oversees the running of the hostel and a carer stays overnight with the children and supervises their schedule. A team of local women cook for the children.

When the original hostel was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake, the children were housed in crisis accommodation in Batase; a tin shed offering minimal protection from the elements. The current hostel was built, as a priority, thanks to the generous response of donors. It opened its doors in July 2017. The children and the villagers of Batase, gratefully acknowledge the reliable support of FHC in helping them move forward.


A recent coup for the villages of the region was the construction of a 21st century library in Batase, which opened on 25 December 2018. This was the culmination of a major fundraising project, which was initiated in early 2018 by Christina Lee, who trained with Libraries Without Borders, in Paris. Christina had previously visited Batase Village and volunteered. After her training in Paris, she was inspired to introduce their Koombook digital library system to Batase.

The Koombook tool allows access to information and learning, in even the most remote locations without Internet. Compact and portable, it can be solar powered and provides a WIFI hotspot. Around 500 donors from 14 countries raised over $20,000 for the completion of a library facility, to house the Koombook and provide a learning and training space for Batase and surrounding villages.

When it opened, Batase Library had over 1,000 physical books and provided access to 45,000 Ebooks. Its furniture was made in Melamchi and Kathmandu. The library has comfortable sofas, study tables, reading cushions, bookcases plus secure cabinets that store the KoomBook and tablets. While the challenge was huge, Christina Lee would do it again. “When this project became too difficult for me, I always would imagine the day I walk in to the library and see the children reading books. When I finally saw their eyes twinkling with books in their arms, I knew every challenging day was worth it, and I’d do it all over again,” she said. The FHC is keen to sponsor a librarian, to ensure the library operates optimally moving forward.


Som Tamang, founder of Friends of Himalayan Children, is just 38 years old and has already lived an extraordinary life. In fact, he’s lived a life so remarkable that it could easily fill a book. Kirsty Nancarrow thinks so too. She has just finalised a manuscript of Som’s life, ‘Himalayan Dreams – The story of Som Tamang’ – and is now seeking a publisher. The book will be available in the near future.

Som grew up in the village of Batase in the shadow of the Himalayas in regional Nepal. From a very early age he understood the importance of education to the quality and freedoms of a happy life and set about to make changes for himself and his community. 
He and his friends experienced some of the worst that life could offer – poverty, sex trafficking, child slave labour and violence. Rather than succumbing to it, he chose to grow strong and fight back. He recognised that much of the injustice he was witnessing, particularly with the unfair treatment of young girls, was the product of out-dated and cruel cultural traditions.

Incredibly he made his way to Australia and worked hard to become financially capable enough to do something for his family, friends and his old community back in Nepal.
Som’s  story is huge and Kirsty Nancarrow has eloquently captured all in her book. Kirsty knows first-hand about the limitations of life in Batase having travelled there twice in recent years. She was recently interviewed on local ABC Radio. The interview is available here: https://youtu.be/H2SZ4OVbegw

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