Himalayan Trust was established in 2013 by George Band, who climbed world’s third highest mountain with Joe Brown in 1955.
Dilli Limbu, a resident of Lelep Lawajin in Phaktanglung Rural Municipality of Taplejung, is a health worker. Limbu, 24, has been serving as an auxiliary health worker at a local health post for the past three years. After Dilli passed the School Leaving Certificate exam (now Secondary Education Examination) in 2013, his father wanted him to become a health worker.
Buddhiman, a farmer who also worked as a porter for local traders to supplement his income, did not have the resources to afford higher education for his four children. He inquired about educational institutions, and tuition fees among other things, to enrol at least his eldest son, Dilli, in a health education programme.
Carrying loads for local traders in Phungling, the district headquarters of Taplejung, and his income from subsistence farming was not enough to provide for his eight-member family, let alone manage expenses for Dilli to do a three-year auxiliary health worker course.
It, therefore, came as a blessing when Dilli won a scholarship that was to change the course of his future.
George Band, who climbed the world’s third highest Kanchenjunga peak along with Joe Brown in 1955, introduced a scholarship plan in 2013 for deserving students of remote Taplejung by establishing the Himalayan Trust, UK.
In 2015, Dilli got the scholarship through the trust.
“My father had an ardent wish to see me as a health worker. I also wanted to study medical science. But we did not have money for that. I got a scholarship from the trust to pursue auxiliary health worker in Ilam to materialise our collective dream,” said Dilli. The trust provided him Rs144,000 to cover his tuition fees for the course and for accommodation.
Dilli is just a case in point. As many as 78 students from seven different wards of Phaktanglung and Sirijangha rural municipalities have received scholarships so far to pursue their studies.
The scholarship has changed the lives of talented but poor students from rural areas, says Ram Tamang, the headmaster of Saraswati Chyaribuk Secondary School in Phaktanglung Ward 6.
“A talented student gets a scholarship to pursue his/her further studies after passing the SEE with good grades. Students can also enrol for technical education under the scholarship programme,” said Tamang.
A team comprising representatives from the education unit of respective local units, education coordination committees and rural education and environment development centre awards scholarships to students on the basis of their academic performance, and economic status of their guardians.
“Technical subjects like science, health, overseer and sub-overseer are prioritised while providing scholarships to deserving students,” said Rajendra Panta, the rural education and environment development centre manager.
The trust has awarded scholarships to seven students this year.