READI Nepal’s ‘Humla Delights Cafe’ Project

At the end of a risky flight or a 10-day hike in, what better than a cup of real coffee in a clean cup!

TRAS is ‘breaking new ground’ with this exciting project.  READI Nepal is a small local non-governmental organization (NGO) in Humla, the far northwest corner of Nepal’s mountains. It is committed to improving the lot of the village children through education.

So why are we talking about coffee?  The villagers cannot pay for coffee, let alone for their kids to go to school, but READI Nepal has an innovative plan to raise funds to pay for the schooling. It’s called the HUMLA DELIGHTS CAFÉ.

And why a café?  Nowhere in Humla can you get a cup of coffee or clean, safe food. Although the population is tiny and poor, many government officials visit the town, and tourists and trekkers are starting to arrive (1500 last year).  Humla is at the western end of the Great Himalaya Trail. READI Nepal sees an opportunity to get in first with a cheerful, clean café, serving decent coffee, tea and baked goods. 

They have created a hostel for 30 children in the tiny capital of Simikot and the children go to a local private school. Through TRAS-supported projects, the children are excelling at school. They are healthy and well fed.

Now this far sighted NGO is encouraging the parents in small income generation schemes, so that eventually they can pay for their children’s education.  The latest project is the café.

Simikot airstrip with volunteers clearing snow

Simikot airstrip with volunteers clearing snow

A building has been rented near the airport. That means right in the centre of town – the airport is simply a strip of land surrounded by town buildings. One of our directors visited a few years ago and says she would have raced to such a café after that flight! And if the planes aren’t flying, you have to walk in for 10 days – there are no roads in these mountains.

So here’s the plan:

  • READI Nepal will have a ‘barista’ trained in Kathmandu;
  • A simple coffee machine and a bread making machine will be purchased.
  • The hostel cook will bake bread from local grains both for the hostel and for the café.
  • Their business plan is well thought out. They realistically expect the café to be open only 8 months of the year, and will start small.
  • TRAS will provide $5,500 to get this venture on its feet.
  • All profits will go towards the hostel costs, thus reducing the amount of TRAS support needed.
project map