Archived Projects

IDEA Midwifery Training Project

A shocking statistic: Although there has been great improvement in recent years, Nepal continues to have one of the highest maternal death rates in the Asia Pacific region, with 279 women dying per 100,000 live births, according to recent UN data.

For more than 20 years, the Innovative Development Education Academy (IDEA) in Pokhara, Nepal, has been running an 18 month midwifery education/training course for girls and women from remote areas of Nepal which will help to save lives of mothers and children in those areas.

Midwife showing her kit to village women  

The Academy is well established and well regarded.  Many young women from cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara receive training there, paying their own way – but inevitably they look for work in urban settings.  So IDEA looks for international support to help pay for the young women from rural areas to receive this vital training.  Most of these graduates return to their own villages and do sterling work in helping to save the lives of mothers and babies. 

In 2019, TRAS partnered with IDEA assisting 4 underprivileged students in paying for their 18 month Midwifery course.

See Page 6 in our December 2019 Newsletter to see how the 4 students are doing.

Early 2020 all students were sent home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with kits to help people in their home villages, while studying as much as possible online. This raised a question: how would they be able to study online? The cost per student, to purchase an iPad or smart phone, internet service and data plans has been about $600; so TRAS has offered to pay $2,400 for the four students we are sponsoring.

Donations needed for 2021: $2,400

Voice of Children Covid-19 Emergency Response Project

Voice of Children (VOC) is run by AMAN and Vimarsh, two NGOs in Almora and Nainital Districts of northern India, and supported by TRAS for many years.

Both NGOs, through the Voice of Children project, are involved in providing educational and health programs for the children of the remote villages in this mountainous region. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent lockdowns, the NGOs turned their attention to relief support for the poor and stranded residents in the VOC field area.

The pandemic significantly impacted the life of the locals, particularly those dependent on daily labour. Government support of a maximum of 5kg of rice per month to families identified as living below the poverty line was not enough. Also, the financial support of $9 per family per month barely helped.

The villagers were facing a shortage of food, cash, and hygiene products. The small energetic VOC team was given permission to travel in spite of the lockdown and reinvented itself to help provide the most destitute villagers with emergency food and hygiene supplies, which our donors swiftly paid for in early May ($5,000). Then, as the villages were overwhelmed by the returning migrant workers later that month, the VOC team supplied makeshift quarantine centres with vital supplies of food and hygiene products, again paid for by TRAS ($5,000).

As soon as they were able, the VOC teams restarted informal educational programs under strict safety guidelines. Classes were held for the high students to keep up their English, math and science studies, while the younger children were encouraged to learn to read and write.  All classes were held outdoors, with the children distanced and masked.  The benefits of being there for the children, of making life more normal, of calming their fears were huge.

The VOC team could see firsthand which children were hungry, which families were struggling, who needed help buying batteries so that students could access online learning. They saw young mothers desperate for advice and supplies for their newborns. They have asked for one more emergency fund to be used where needed most. A third payment of $5,000 was sent in September for this purpose.

Can you please help?

Donations still needed as at December 18, 2020:  $7,000

Click here to see a photo slideshow from the Covid-19 Emergency Response Project from May to September, 2020

Click here to read the VOC Emergency Response to Pandemic Covid-19 report

Click here to read the VOC Emergency Response to Pandemic Covid-19 report – 2nd phase

Personal Protection Equipment for Tibetan Healthcare Workers in Nepal

For six months, until the end of September, 2020, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was able to fund, with support from the United States,  all the COVID-19 related expenses of the Tibetan clinics, health posts and hospitals in India and Nepal, but that funding ran out at the end of September. The Department of Health has urgently requested all the friends of Tibet to help in the struggle to keep the virus at bay in the many settlements.

So far, they have done a superb job of training staff and teaching the residents to follow good practices. Now they need protective equipment, testing capabilities and medical supplies to continue keeping their population safe. 1,043 Tibetans in India and Nepal have caught the virus and, sadly 23 have died.

The Department of Health has created an excellent plan of quarantine, containment, testing, tracing and treatment – but it will only happen with funding. Out of the request for $140,000 to cover costs for one year, TRAS promised to pay the $14,000 needed to purchase a year’s worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) for all the staff and helpers in the 12 Nepali clinics.

$40.00 will provide PPE for all clinics for one day

$280.00 will provide PPE for one week

$1,200.00 will provide PPE for a month

The project will be overseen for the Department of Health by the Snow Lion Foundation (SLF) in Nepal, which administers 12 Tibetan schools, 12 health posts and a seniors’ home. TRAS has had a good relationship with the SLF for many years, helping with several of its projects.

Total donations that were needed: $14,000

Funds raised as of December 31, 2020: $10,000

As of August 24, 2021 project is now fully funded. A Big Thank You to everyone that helped us achieve our goal.

Jan 7, 2020 Read here for update

May 3, 2021 Read here for current update

Voice of Children Library Maintenance Project

Library Maintenance Project:

Signing out a book
Signing out a book

Libraries have been opened in 20 villages bringing books, periodicals and newspapers to villagers for the first time. Children and youth are making good use of these, many adults are showing a keen interest in learning to read, and the libraries are becoming a hub for village meetings and discussions. Children’s ‘book clubs’ have started, and school attendance has improved. Government school teachers are using the library books for teaching their classes.

The good news is that registered card holder numbers have increased, and now 1,252 children and adults are using the libraries. Some of the increase is attributed to word of mouth advertising and also to the relocation of two libraries within their villages, making them accessible to nearby villages as well. TRAS promised to support the libraries for three years, to pay for new books, newspaper subscriptions and the librarian honorarium. This support ends December 31, 2016, and is fully funded for 2016. Already some libraries are run by the villages, it is hoped more will soon be independent, and a scheme to collect gently used books from nearby towns is in hand.

The Munsel-ling Laundry Project


TRAS is a long-time supporter of the Munsel-ling School in the Spiti Valley, in northern India, since it opened in 1996. This has included desks for classrooms and greenhouses for growing food during the long winters, as well as sponsorships to support the education of individual children, and more recently supporting post-secondary students through the TRAS Scholarship Fund.

Munsel-ling wrote to ask for TRAS’s support in building laundry facilities.

TRAS board member Dr. Videsh Kapoor visits Spiti regularly as part of her work with the UBC Global Health Initiative, and she was able to get a more detailed understanding of what the needs are. The key problem is water availability.

The population of the town of Spiti is only 200 people, while the school has up to 600 students. This leads to possible conflict over water usage.


Currently, the students have been using a gray-water pond to wash their clothes. This pond is also used by the villagers for irrigation. When the students use it to do laundry, the soap and grime often flow into the villagers’ fields, causing conflicts with the school.

Moreover, when the students are unable to clean their clothes, they can develop worrisome health issues including scabies.

The Munsel-ling school has four sources of water, including two surface springs and two wells. One of the wells supplies the hostels and the kitchen, the other is shared with the villagers.

Of the two surface sources, the “north source” is a government source, shared with the entire village, including farmers, and governed by traditional norms (more for old people, less for new people).

Irrigation channels

Finally, the “south source” is the target for the laundry project. It’s also a government source, but the villagers don’t use it. It connects to solar water heaters. Currently, there is no reservoir, so the water is wasted.

One question we had was where the water would come from in the winter. The two surface sources are not available in the winter, but the population of the school is also much smaller. (From mid-January to March, senior students continue studying in Dharamsala, and Munsel-ling has started sending teachers to villages to continue running mini-schools.)

TRAS agreed to fund the building of a large water storage tank to collect clean water from a surface spring which is not used by the villagers, two outdoor laundry stations and a soak pit to strain the soap and grime out of the water before it reaches the farmers fields. Construction in the Spiti Valley is limited to the few summer months, so Munsel-ling School forged ahead, and by the end of August the children were washing their clothes in the almost-completed facilities. They are simple but effective, and large enough to cope with the school population of over 400 children.

Funds needed for 2019: $17,695 of which $12,034 has been raised.