Helambu Health Project

During a visit by one of the trustees to the Helambu region of Nepal, she trekked through the village of Melamchigaon where she was invited to see the school. As a result of the visit, the NCT raised money for various projects at the school and in 2004 the head teacher, Purna Gautam, approached the charity with an unusual request. He had a very gifted student at the school, a young Sherpa, who wanted to train as a doctor and set up a badly-needed clinic in the village. Purna was convinced that his student was capable of achieving this ambition but funding him was impossible for either his family or, indeed, the village as a whole.

The first step, however, was to raise the necessary money to send Kanchha to Kathmandu to complete his A Levels – and so began the NCT’s biggest project to date! Once he had achieved the necessary qualifications, the Trust tried to assist him in finding a place in a medical school at a Nepalese university but, because of Kanchha’s low caste as a Sherpa, this proved to be impossible. One of the trustees suggested putting in application to a British university – a long shot which paid off! Kanchha was interviewed at the Faculty of Medicine at Manchester University and, to the delight of all concerned, was offered a place in 2007.

The next six years proved to be a real challenge in terms of the fund-raising necessary for tuition fees and accommodation but, thanks to generous donations and the hard work of those who organised charity events – not to mention Kanchha’s own contribution from his wages as a part-time waiter – the goal was achieved. In July 2013 five proud trustees were joined by Purna at Kanchha’s graduation ceremony.