Shortly after Sir Edmund Hillary summited Mt. Everest in 1953, he returned to Nepal to help the Sherpa people living in Khumbu. He was looking for a way to acknowledge their hard work, courage, and the vital role they had played in his success on the mountain. He wanted to make a lasting difference in the lives of the Sherpas and their families.
When he asked them, the Sherpas told him that they wanted their children to be educated. As a result, the first building of the school in the village of Khumjung was built in 1960. Today the school is thriving and educating all the children in the area. The education is excellent. Most students succeed in passing the national School Leaving Certificate Examination at the end of Grade 10, and they qualify to pursue a higher education elsewhere.
The people in this region also had no health facilities. So, in 1966 Sir Edmund built the Kunde Hospital.
Since 2002 the hospital has been staffed by local doctors and health workers, headed by Dr. Kami Sherpa. A full range of health care is provided free of charge to all Nepalese. Foreigners are charged a nominal fee for their treatment. The Hillary Trust continues to support the work there.
Dr. Kami provides prenatal and postnatal care and education for the local women. The hospital is also a place for them to give birth, if they decide to come. Traditionally, women have their babies at home. For some it is a very long walk to the hospital, so they return to the hospital after the baby is born.
Each year Tara Foundation brings a large duffle bag stuffed full of baby and toddler fleece clothes and blankets for the hospital. These days Dr. Kami is asking for fleece jackets for 4 – 6 year olds. The Foundation often makes a monetary donation as well.
Tara Foundation is grateful to Dr. Kami Sherpa for his care of the nuns at Khari Gonpa.