Crested Butte Lends a Hand to Sister Village in Nepal

By: Kelly Graff

On April 25th, 2015, just as peak tourist season was getting underway Nepal was hit by 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake left long term damage. Some basic facts about the earthquake: 6,204 people were known to have died, 2.8 Nepalese residents have been displaced, and 130,033 houses were destroyed. 

One of the many villages affected by the earthquake is Chheplung. The village is accessed via the Everest Trekking path and relies heavily on the tourism generated by base camp and mountaineering expeditions. This is the second consecutive season that Mother Nature has curtailed the village‚Äôs main source of economy. In the spring of 2014 there was a large avalanche that caused several fatalities, which led many Sherpas living in the Khumba Valley to call an early end to the 2014 season. 

Chheplung is home to Namkha Sherpa who has been working in Crested Butte, CO for the past nine years to support his family. Ian Hatchett is a veteran Irwin Guides mountain guide who has visited the area several times. Together they are joining forces to help rebuild the 135 homes destroyed by the earthquake. It is their hope to help prevent further damage to the village as the summer monsoon season approaches. 

Rebuilding the region is imperative to the livelihood of the Khumba Valley. Without the structures to support tourism there is no financial stability. The community is so tied to the mountaineering and tourism that organizations such as the Edmund Hillary Foundation have created the local school, which is no longer open due to damage. Students from surrounding areas would walk over and hour to utilize the school located in Chheplung. 

 Ian and Namkha have created a fundraiser to help rebuild Chheplung. You can donate through YOUCARING, a free online fundraising host. All of the profits will go directly to the Town Council of Chheplung. Records will be kept to show how the funds are being used. Every little bit helps. Thank you for your time and any donations.

Filed under: Global Travels

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