November 2015

Rebuilding in Nepal

Why TRAS and why toilets?

The Trans-Himalayan Aid Society has a long history of assisting public sanitation in the Himalayan region.  It also has a long association with UBC.  TRAS founders George and Inge Woodcock called upon their UBC colleagues & friends over 50 years ago as they established the NGO.

Now, TRAS is collaborating with UBC Anthropology staff Sara Shneiderman and Mark Turin, to assist in a rebuilding project in Dolakha district, Nepal.

Shneiderman and Turin are advisors to indigenous citizens in this region, and alerted TRAS to the dire need for help to reestablish public sanitation after the May 12 earthquake flattened most existing latrines.  TRAS is partnering with Shree Fashelung Social Service, in Suspa-Kshamawoti VDC, to assist in this vital rebuilding project.toilet project - 3

Through this project, local residents will reconstruct toilets for each household of Suspa-Kshamawoti VDC (S-K), Ward No 5, to ensure a healthy and sanitary environment. The population of Ward 5 is 90% Thangmi/Thami (a highly marginalized indigenous group), with whom Shneiderman & Turin work closely.

Shortly before the earthquakes hit, Dolakha had been declared an “open defecation free zone” by the Government of Nepal, as major progress had been achieved in building toilets across the district in recent years. The earthquake undid much of this work, as it destroyed toilets that people had built with the financial aid of other NGOs who no longer working in this area.  Where they can, local residents are using what is left of their latrines, which are often unsafe and unsanitary, with broken footplates, open exposure to the elements and dangerous cracks.  Without safe or sanitary toilets, some people have gone back to open defecation.

Your dollars to TWIN YOUR TOILET will assist local people to maintain and improve the health of their children and families.  This rebuilding project helps people in Nepal to regain some of the ground they had achieved before the earthquakes, and to pick up their lives for a more promising future.

The cost for construction materials, footplate, water pipes and tap is $210 per latrine.  TRAS has committed to funding 80 latrines from funds already raised for rebuilding and will fund additional toilets from donations received.

Thank you for your generous gift.

January 22, 2016 – Funds received to date will build 188 toilets – only 12 to go!


TRAS Scholarship Program Update


TRAS has embarked on an exciting initiative.  The TRAS Scholarship Fund [TSF] is now in its third year of its pilot program.

Our partners overseas had expressed a need to provide post-secondary education, especially for girls in remote isolated villages in the Himalayas.  In response to this request, TRAS initiated a pilot program with our longstanding partner, Rinchen Zangpo Society for Spiti Development which operates Munsel-ling School in the Spiti Valley, India.  Each year two worthy students have been selected to have their university studies supported by TRAS.  Each student receives $1000CN per year for 3 years.

Tsering Dolker
Tsering Dolker

Currently, we have two female students completing their B.A. degree and four students enrolled in a B.Sc. program.  These six girls are bright, determined students from poor rural homes with no hope of continuing their education without TRAS support.  Not only are they role models for other students in their isolated villages but they wish to return as educators themselves to Spiti.

Tashi Angmo
Tashi Angmo

To quote Tashi Angmo, the most recent candidate selected, ”To be a good teacher and serve my younger brothers and sisters of Spiti Valley would be my life’s greatest achievement.”

Due to the success of the pilot project we have invited 2 trusted TRAS partners from other regions of India to submit applications to the TSF.

The Dekyiling Handicraft Centre is a Tibetan community in Dehradun, India, long supported by TRAS through projects and sponsorship.  In response to the TSF opportunity Kesang Wangdu replied, ”I am extremely grateful to TRAS for supporting children for post-secondary education.  Earlier we have had children needing sponsorship but we failed to get new sponsors after class X.  I therefore have no words to thank TRAS for supporting this genuine problem faced by many students after class XII.”

The Voice of Children project, run by two Indian NGOs in Nainital and Almora, will also be selecting two students.  Raghu, the co-ordinator, writes: “Especially for girls it will be great opportunity to become independent because after 12th standard generally their parents do not allow them to continue their studies and they go to their marriage ceremony. Generally their husbands work in very low paid work and poor working conditions in Metro cities of India and after marriage the girls face more challenges in their life. This Fund can change their life.”

A very generous TRAS donor has offered to match Scholarship fund donations up to $10,000.  Therefore, $500 will be doubled to fund a deserving student for one year [$1000] of university education.  Please donate today!!

Give the gift of education to bright girls like Tashi Angmo and help them to lift their communities out of poverty.