IDEA Skilled Birth Attendant (SBA) Training in Nepal

There is a shortage of Skilled Birth Attendants (SBA) in the rural health posts and centers throughout Nepal. The presence of a SBA can dramatically reduce the chances of maternal and neonatal mortality.

The SBA course is organized by the Nepalese Ministry of Health, Nepal Nursing Council and is a three month long course (360 hours) for qualified medical personnel so that they can augument the midwives’ work by intervening when difficult deliveries mean mother and baby are at risk.  TRAS has supported the successful midwifery training through the Innovative Development Education Academy (IDEA) in Pokhara, Nepal since 2019. IDEA is a non-profit developmental organization registered with the Ministry of Health, Nepal. Since its establisment, IDEA has been involved in various types of education and training.

IDEA will be selecting 15 students every three months for this advanced SBA training with the requirement that after graduation they will be returning to their rural communities to help improve safe deliveries for mothers and babies.

TRAS will fund one course this year (2022) for 15 participants and, if Year 1 is successful, has guaranteed to continue this program for a further four years. Each course will cost $15,000.

A generous donor has already provided some funding for this and we are hoping that others will help match his donation. Would you help match his $500 per student?

To donate to the Skilled Birth Attendant Training go to Donate

Munsel-ling School Passive Solar Heating

For more than 20 years, TRAS has supported the 500 students and staff at Munsel-ling School in the Spiti Valley in northern India. Residents of Spiti Valley experience harsh winter conditions, with temperatures often plunging to -30°C and below.

For the students at Munsel-ling, staying warm is a daily challenge for many months of the year. In mountain deserts like the Spiti Valley, firewood is expensive and hard to come by. Although the smoke-free, fuel-efficient rocket stoves have massively improved the living conditions at Munsel-ling School, the temperatures in the Spiti Valley are so frigid that polythene sheets were laid along the side of each

building each year to generate solar heat. Because new sheets needed to be purchased and installed each year, this was not a sustainable solution.

TRAS is fundraising to support the installation of a passive solar wall to heat the junior girls’ dormitory, which houses around 80 students. This fixture will create an 80×8 ft. buffer zone of stone, concrete, and very large windows, which will heat the interior of the building and provide a bulwark against harsh winter winds.

Being a desert, there is little precipitation during the coldest months, but lots of sunshine. When the dormitory was built, the long wall was positioned to face south; the new buffer will act as a conservatory to warm the actual dormitory building. A similar wall has already been built against the boys’ and senior girls’ dormitories with great success.

Please consider donating to TRAS to support the health, education, and wellbeing of these children.

Total funding required: $18,436

Will you help?

To donate to the Passive Solar Heat Project click here

Emergency COVID funding for Tibetans in India

Tibetans in India urgently need oxygen and essential medical supplies to treat the growing numbers of COVID-19 patients.  We’ve promised to help! 

Photo courtesy of The Tibetan Journal

TRAS has promised to raise $10,000 right away and a further $10,000 as soon as possible to supply the Tibetan hospitals with lifesaving oxygen supplies and to help the COVID-19 Care Centres with medical supplies and care.  They are supporting themselves as much as they can – can we reach out to give them a helping hand?

$1,000 will buy a lifesaving oxygen concentrator. 

$500 will help supply a Care Centre.

COVID-19 has now struck the Tibetan communities in India in spite of their early precautions and careful plans for keeping safe.  Dharamsala and Dehradun/Dekyiling settlements have been particularly hard hit.  The Tibetan hospitals in those two communities are looking after the severe cases and desperately need help to supply lifesaving oxygen.  Oxygen concentrators will be extremely useful during the pandemic to give a continuous supply of oxygen to the critically ill patients and can be re-used for years.

Eight of the small Tibetan health facilities in India have been designated COVID-19 Care Centres for the mild and moderate cases.  Funds are urgently needed to help these health facilities to procure essential medicines, food for patients in isolation, testing kits, PPE kits, additional emergency staff.

Let’s provide our Tibetan friends with all we can to help them save lives!

Donate Now

Thank you!

Rocket Stoves for Munsel-ling School Project

For more than 20 years, TRAS has supported the 500 students and staff at Munsel-ling School, located in the Spiti Valley region of northern India. Residents of Spiti Valley experience harsh winter conditions — with temperatures often plunging to -30°C and below — which results in annual road closures between neighbouring towns for up to eight months of the year. The remoteness of Munsel-ling School means that self-sufficiency is of the utmost importance.

This year, TRAS is fundraising to support the purchase and installation of 68 rocket stoves, which will replace all of the iron stoves at Munsel-ling School. These rocket stoves are made locally in Himachel Pradesh and installed by a merchant from the nearby town of Kaza. The iron stoves that are currently installed will be sold for recycling.

The need to fund these rocket stoves is twofold. First, the rocket stoves will decrease the amount of smoke within the school, which will have a positive influence on the respiratory health of students, staff, and volunteers. Second, the rocket stoves are more efficient than their iron counterparts, which means that fewer resources, like wood and cow dung, need to be expended in order to heat the classrooms, dormitories, and staff quarters at Munsel-ling School.


Woodsmoke pollution has been shown to increase the risk of respiratory disorders and genetic defects in children. In mountain deserts like the Spiti Valley, communities often burn cow dung because wood is a scarce resource. This also affects lung health, as up to 25% of the arsenic found within cow dung can be absorbed into human respiratory tracks when it is burned. All of this may increase susceptibility to serious respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.

The rocket stoves that TRAS is fundraising for are 90% smokeless. As it uses 50% less materials to produce the same amount of heat, less cow dung can be used to fuel Munsel-ling School during the frigid winter months. This means healthier lungs and happier kids.


Spiti Valley is located in a mountain desert with little forest cover and sparse vegetation. As a result, the region is not conducive to lumber production or cattle raising, meaning that firewood is expensive and cow dung is hard to come by.

The rocket stoves TRAS is fundraising for consume 50% less materials than the iron stoves currently installed at Munsel-ling School, while producing the same amount of heat. Because the stoves contain a secondary combustion chamber, less energy and heat are lost, making it a far more efficient alternative. The replacement of these stoves therefore promotes both environmental sustainability and economic efficiency.

Project Report September 2021

Total donations needed: $20,322

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