The Himalayan Children’s Project was born in 1999 when the first Polartec-type fleece jackets were collected from schoolchildren in Massachusetts and delivered to children in a small, remote village in Eastern Nepal.
Every year when Leeli Bonney returns to Nepal, she brings jackets that have been donated to her or that she has bought from local second hand stores. Usually, the jackets are given to children at their schools.
This is an exciting time for everyone on the trek with her, as well as for the children and their families. Many mothers and younger siblings come to the schools to watch them give out the jackets. Chhongba Sherpa and the teachers at the schools do a masterful job of containing the potential chaos. The children line up and wait patiently for their turns. Leeli and her fellow trekkers check to be sure each jacket will fit each child and that the zippers work. When every child and every teacher has a jacket, Chhongba lines everyone up for a group picture.
Here is the description of the perfect jacket for anyone who would like to help with this project:
- It is a jacket, not a vest.
- It has pockets and some times a hood.
- It has a full zipper that works smoothly.
- It is made of a warm fleece, like Polartec.
- It is clean.
- The size is anything from baby and toddler to adult small (men’s) or medium(women’s).
Jackets that meet these criteria will be gratefully accepted and carried to children and adults in remote areas of Nepal. On every trek Leeli also gives jackets to the porters and staff who help make the trek fun and possible.