NEPAL - Advance screening of Sherpa for ongoing relief
In May last year, Kinfolk Cafe raised $14,000 at short notice to assist the people affected to gain shelter, medical support and eventually re-build. Thanks to the people at Himalayan Development Foundation Australia (HDFA) immediate relief was sent and this work continues to be carried out.
HDFA have continued their work, long after many international agencies would have moved on to the next disaster zone. Their commitment is for the long-term development of this majestic area and it's people.
To support this work they continue to look for creative approaches to raise the funds to support their work and this event is one not to be missed.
"Sherpa" is a documentary that follows a 2014 Everest expedition entirely from the Sherpas' point of view.
“We set out to make a film of the 2014 Everest climbing season, from the Sherpas’ point of view, to observe up-close, how and why the relationship between foreign climbers and Sherpas has shifted since the euphoria of the first Everest summit climb in1953. But a brutal avalanche changed all that: with 16 Sherpas dead, the mood soured with grief and anger spilling over. The events of the week that followed were"
To find out more about this event we spoke to the Chair of the HDFA board, Duncan Chessell. He has over 40 expeditions, including three Everest summits, and has spent years in Nepal working with the people of Nepal and Tibet.
What was your first experience in Nepal?
In 1995 going to Mt Makalu Expedition for 2.5 months, we made the first Australian Ascent of the 5th highest peak in the world, with no sherpas, no oxygen, no support, I did not summit myself and got severely thrashed by the high altitude conditions but it is was an amazing experience and the base camp. The Nepali staff we had to help us and the porters were fantastic. I fell in love with the mountains and the people on that first trip, meeting some older famous mountaineers on the mountain and in Kathmandu a bit of a highlight.
How has the relationship between the Sherpa people and climbers changed over the last few years?
In general the relationship is still very good, it depends on the individual weaterner really. There are those who respect and work WITH the Sherpas and those that have the Sherpa work FOR them…
This is a period of change now as over time the Sherpas have gone from unskilled mountaineers who mostly hauled heavy loads (pre-1990’s) to fully qualified international mountain guides but the pay scale is still quite low for a Sherpa versus a western guide. Much of this is to do with the local agents in Nepal who don’t recognise the value of the international guiding ticket, so it’s meaning a more of the guides are now setting up their own companies etc - which drives competition forcing the new company owners to pay their fellow Sherpas low rates to stay competitive… it’s complex.
What is the importance of ongoing disaster relief?
It will take a decade or more for Nepal to rebuild all the schools, health posts and for the economy to bounce back. The government is inept, ineffectual and corrupt and can’t be trusted.
It’s a huge task to rebuild the educational facilities and help build a brighter future for the children of Nepal. So ongoing disaster relief is vital for this current generation of children to get a decent education and a start in life.
What does this film bring to the discussion about Nepal?
Having not seen it yet (it’s not been released yet) and can’t give an exact answer, but it will add a layer to the picture of an emerging young frustrated population wanting more from their leaders and country.
What ongoing projects does the HDFA have underway?
We have just begun (this week) the rebuilding and repair work to the Seti Devi School primary school, in Singdulachok which was severely effected by the earthquake.
There is many other schools needing rebuilding. Our next school the Chamuna Devi School (90 children)- pictured was completely destroyed and needs a total rebuild or the children will miss out on a decent eduction.
At the moment they are using tarpaulins and bamboo walls with grass floors in a temporary learning centre.
We have our original Ghunsa Village project in the Kanchenjunga region progressing really well, they were luckily not affected by the earthquake in 2015. At Ghunsa we now focussing on education improvements through teacher training and coaching and ongoing support of the health post. Our latest initiative is working with the community to obtain revenue by installing electricity meters on the hydro scheme we repaired with them last year. This economic development initiative will enable the community to get revenue from hydro electricity using the money for maintainence and other community development much like a localised taxation system. As the central and provincial governments are not providing much support it’s important that local communities start to take ownership of their own future via economic development initiatives such as this.
Tuesday, 16 February 2016 from 5:45 PM to 9:30 PM
Kino Cinemas - 45 Collins Street Melbourne, VIC 3000 AU