November 2014

Sangam Community Library ‘Women Computer Literacy’ Project

Nepali women living in the village of Sangam in Udayapur District, eastern Nepal, are poor and their children go hungry.  They have never had a chance to find work. 

But thanks to a pilot computer course at their local library, 15 women are now computer literate and 3 already have good jobs. Who knew one could train to be an insurance agent, a mushroom farmer or a tailor via the internet!

TRAS is collaborating with the Nepal Library Foundation in Kathmandu to purchase 11 computers and enlarge this program to train many more women.

Cost of one computer? $500                      Cost of independence for one family? Priceless!

Sangam Computer Literacy Class
Sangam Computer Literacy Class






Munsel-ling School Classroom Furniture Project

In the bitter cold of a Spiti winter, in the foothills of the Himalaya, the children are sitting in school all day on the floor.  It is difficult to focus on learning when it is cold and uncomfortable. 

With your help, the children can have desks.  Just $32 will purchase a solidly built desk with built in bench. Learning will improve!

18 years ago there was no school at all for these children, and life was a perpetual round of poverty.

Enter the local Buddhist Society, whose members believed that the children from the poverty stricken villages deserved an education and that, given a chance, they would shine.  TRAS has been supporting the school since its humble beginnings

The school complex is now the largest ‘village’ in the Valley and the first graduates are showing astonishing success in several fields. They are returning to serve their community as teachers, nurses, doctor, vet and engineers.

Munsel-ling students and a double desk
Munsel-ling students and a double desk

Munsel-ling School is now so successful that more villagers are begging to have their children educated there.  As a result, the school has built 8 new classrooms this year. The children are currently sitting on the floors – and in the bitter cold of Spiti that is no fun.

The school needs 150 double desks with benches, notice boards and simple supplies. None of the frills of a Canadian classroom – just the basics. 

$32 will furnish one child with a decent desk at which to sit and work.

There is no timber in Spiti Valley – the desks will be built many miles away and transported to Spiti by truck.  The passes will be closed now for the long winter months, but the desks can be built over the winter for transport to Spiti as soon as the passes open in the late spring.

Munsel-ling kindergarten students
Munsel-ling kindergarten students


Munsel-ling School Agricultural Compound Project

Click here to read the Project Completion Report from November 2016.

Can a child learn well when she has lice, anemia and diarrhea? 

She needs a better diet, including lots of fresh green veggies – but how to get them in the arid desert-like conditions of the remote Spiti Valley? And if her school does manage to plant them, how will they nurture and protect the vegetables?

Munsel-ling School has the answer – now TRAS wants to implement it.  With YOUR help, these precious vegetables can be cared for and protected to provide much needed nutrients for the children.

In this harsh, cold environment, greenhouses are essential for growing the green vegetables needed to help combat anemia.  The 50ft long greenhouses are working well – EXCEPT that they are unprotected.  Cows and dogs are causing havoc, the heavy polythene roofs are being torn and a good watering system is non-existent.

Munsel-ling - greenhouses in forefront
Munsel-ling – greenhouses in forefront

Now that the first greenhouses have proven their worth, the school wants to create a secure compound.  Needs are:

  • A strong 4 foot high wall to keep out marauding animals (and the kids who love to slide down the roofs!)
  • Properly engineered canals to provide water
  • A large cement water storage tank
  • A smaller tank in each greenhouse to be filled with snow – it will melt in the comparative warmth of the greenhouse for water during the freezing winter.
  • A shed for equipment and compost storage
  • A small cottage for the permanent gardener.
  • Good soil for the summer plants to be grown between the greenhouses.
Munsel-ling Greenhouse
Munsel-ling Greenhouse

Once all this has been accomplished more greenhouses can be built to feed the 500 children at the school.  But the compound must be secured first. The snow will start soon– there may just be time to start clearing the land and collecting stones to ready the site for the wall construction next spring.

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.