Himalayan Trust

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Himalayan Trust
Himalayan Trust logo.png
Founded 1960 (1960)
Founder Sir Edmund Hillary
Founded at New Zealand,
Type International organization
Registration no. CC39393
Focus Poverty eradication, disaster relief,
Headquarters New Zealand
Area served
Solukhumbu district, Nepal
Dr Mike Gill
Mission The Himalayan Trust works to empower communities and reduce poverty in the Everest region of Nepal
Website www.himalayantrust.org

The Himalayan Trust is an international non-profit humanitarian organisation first established in the 1960s by Sir Edmund Hillary, who led the trust until his death in 2008.[1] The Himalayan Trust aims to improve the health, education and general wellbeing of people living in the Solukhumbu district. The Himalayan Trust is headquartered in New Zealand where it is a registered charity through the Charities Commission. The Trust has charitable and donee status and is a member of the Council for International Development (CID).

Recent activities[edit]

In 2013, a water and sanitation project was launched in Lukla to enable all residents of the village to have access to fresh, running water and to establish a fire-fighting system. This was established by Lukla residents and the Himalayan Trust provided 50 percent of the funding. In 2015, the project was successfully completed.

In April 2014, the avalanche on Mount Everest killed 16 Nepalese guides. The Trust immediately set up a fund[2] to support the families of those killed in the disaster, and to date, along with The Himalayan Trust organisation in the United Kingdom, has raised NZ $83,000. Funds raised support a scholarship programme for the children of the victims.

The Himalayan Trust also provides ongoing support for schools in the Solukhumbu region. 67 schools receive educational resources, and the teachers from all the high schools receive specialist curriculum training. Furthermore, teachers from 12 schools receive training in English medium teaching and there is an academic scholarships programme open to all students in the region.

Organisational structure[edit]

The Himalayan Trust operates from New Zealand. It maintains a small staff, preferring to work through partnerships with local NGOs in Nepal, such as The Himalayan Trust Nepal and has a focus on capacity building.

A Board of Directors, which includes Sir Edmund Hillary’s son, Peter Hillary, meets regularly to approve strategic plans and budgets and determine policy. The current chairperson is Dr Michael Gill. The Board is made up of eight members who are elected every two years by the Trust membership.

A large proportion of their funds come from donations from New Zealanders as well ongoing support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Aid Programme.


Key dates of the Himalayan Trust
1960 Sir Edmund Hillary establishes the Himalayan Trust
1961 Khumjung school is built
1963 Pangboche and Thami school built.
1964 First landing at Lukla airstrip after built by the Trust
1966 Khunde hospital opens
1973 Salleri High school built.
1976 Phaplu hospital opens
1986 Karikola Middle school built
2002 Local Sherpa, Kami Temba takes charge at Khunde hospital
2014 Lukla water project completed.
2014 Everest Avalanche Appeal launched.

In 1960, Sir Edmund Hillary was in the Everest region leading an expedition studying high altitude physiology. At a high camp one night he asked Sirdar Urkien what, above all, would he like for his children and the Sherpa people. …Urkien asked for a school in his village of Khumjung. By 1961 the first school was built in the Khumbu region of Nepal, as the first major project of the Himalayan Trust.

Khumjung School in 1961

Ed wrote: The opening ceremony was a remarkable occasion. Surrounded by clouds and fog with frequent showers of rain, the villagers celebrated the important occasion with great enthusiasm. The following year Ed received requests for two more schools, one from Thame and one from Pangboche. The letter from Thame read:

27 October 1962


Respected Bara Sahib Sir Edmund Hillary

We the local people, the Sherpas of Thame, Khumbu, came to know that your honour, helping us in all respects, is going to open some more schools in Khumbu. So we Thame people are requesting your honour to open a school at Thame just like Khumjung. Though our children have eyes but still they are blind! So all we Sherpas of Thame are praying your honour to make our children just like those of Khumjung. We hope your honour may consider our prayer.


Chewang Rimpi Sherpa

Thak Noori Sherpa

Kinken Kang Sherpa

Khunjo Chumbi Sherpa[3]

Both schools were completed in 1963 along with other Himalayan Trust projects. These included building a pipeline to bring Khumjung’s water from its source in Khumbila to a reservoir in the village as well as running a smallpox immunization programme. The programme resulted in more than 3,000 people being vaccinated, with the result that the outbreak was limited to a few dozen people and about twenty deaths.[4]

The Trust ended up building 26 schools in total over a period of 30 years. These schools were initially staffed and funded through the Trust until 1972 when the government took over the administration of all schools and education in the area. The Trust has a formal agreement with the Nepalese Government to continue to provide teaching resources and support to schools within the Solukhumbu Region.

By 1964, it was clear to Edmund Hillary that the transport of building materials needed to be easier, so the Himalayan Trust built an airstrip. The site chosen was beside the tiny village of Lukla, now the second busiest airstrip in Nepal. That year, aid projects also included a school in Namche and a bridge over the rough waters of the Dudh Kosi.

In 1966 the Himalayan Trust built a small hospital at Khunde. The building of Phaplu Hospital followed in 1975. Both hospitals were staffed by volunteer doctors from New Zealand and Canada working for periods of two years. Eventually both hospitals were handed over to local doctors – Phaplu to Dr Mingmar Gyelzen in 1982, and Khunde to Dr Kami Temba in 2001.[5]

Notable affiliated persons[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Gill, Michael (2011). Himalayan Hospitals. Potton & Burton. ISBN 9781877517433. .
  • Johnson, Alexa (2007). Sir Edmund Hillary: An Extraordinary Life. Penguin. ISBN 9780143006466. .
  • Hillary, Sir Edmund (2000). View from the Summit: The Remarkable Memoir by the First Person to Conquer Everest. Gallery Books. ISBN 978-0743400671. .
  • Hillary, Sir Edmund (1965). Schoolhouse in the Clouds. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0743400674. .


  1. ^ "Obituary: Sir Edmund Hillary". BBC News. Retrieved 11 January 2008. 
  2. ^ "Himalayan Trust looks to help sherpa families after Mt Everest Avalanche". 3 News. 
  3. ^ Hillary, Edmund (1965). Schoolhouse in the Clouds. Hodder & Stoughton. p. 3. ISBN 0743400674. 
  4. ^ Hillary, Edmund (1965). Schoolhouse in the Clouds. Hodder & Stoughton. p. 5. ISBN 0743400674. 
  5. ^ Gill, Michael (2011). Himalayan Hospitals. Potton & Burton. 

External links[edit]