Chumba and his family live in the Allgäu in south Germany. In 2009 he returned to his home area Tsum Valley for the first time after an absence of 30 years in order to see his mother. As a seven-year-old boy he was sent from there to Kathmandu because his mother could not feed him. When he saw the present poverty and simplicity in his home area he spontaneously asked the village community what they needed most. They requested him to set up a school for their children. As a result the first school was built in the Tsum Valley in 2012. Since then Chumba visits his former home region once or twice a year in order to render assistance there.
Water project, established 2016
The scarce water resources on the slopes of the Himalayas largely ran dry after the 2015 earthquake and water had not been available there for months. So young girls and women had to make daily, hour-long walks to the water supply point. Chumba took care that the Gerimoditar/Dholakar village community received a water supply point closer to them. This required water to be pumped from a spring in a neighbouring valley over the mountain crest. The Project is a complete success. Now, 70 houses have proper wash and water facilities immediately nearby and this makes everyday life a lot easier.
This project was supported by Rapunzel und Hand-in-Hand.
2016 construction of a solar heating plant for a hospital
Together with many helpers Lama Pasang from Tsum Valley established a simple hospital with a maternity ward in the local area of Lamagaun. He had already asked Chumba in 2015 whether he could not build a solar heating plant, so that the hospital would have light and above all a heated delivery ward in winter. This wish could be fulfilled this year (2016).
Moreover, Chumba could distribute another 460 pressure cookers so that each family in Tsum Valley now has a pressure cooker of their own which facilitates the preparation of meals considerably.
Aid for earthquake victims in 2016
In September 2016 Chumba made contact with an organisation which was prepared to airlift for us pressure cookers to Tsum Valley, free of charge. So all families from the upper and lower Tsum Valley received those very helpful pressure cookers – a total of 770 pieces. The families came running from afar and village by village was supplied. The respective village councils had drawn up precise lists to ensure that each family received a cooker.
School in Yarcho, built in 2015
After construction of the schools in Chhekampar and Ripchet the inhabitants of the isolated village of Yarcho had also requested Chumba to build a school. As a result, in 2015 Chumba together with the village council looked for a plot of land for the school which is exactly located between the three villages around Yarcho. So all children from these villages can attend school. The school building was not damaged during the earthquake one month later and could be used as a good temporary accommodation for the people.
Water supply line in Hawandara and satellite telephone in Ripchet, 2014
There is only one trade route that leads to Tsum Valley and which is climbed daily by hundreds of people and large convoys of pack animals. Along the route there is no water for some kilometres and there is only one tearoom in Hawandara. After suffering a stroke the childless owner of the tearoom had to rely on his wife alone for daily carrying up the water from the river far down. With Chumba’s help a water supply line was laid to this place, so that travellers can be served in future and the woman’s livelihood is guaranteed.
Ripchet the village were the second school was built is in a very remote area and cut off from the outside world. With Chumba’s help a satellite telephone could be installed which is jointly operated by the villagers as a kind of cooperative. So they can call their relatives in Kathmandu and more importantly ask for help in case of medical emergencies.
School in Ripchet, Lower Tsum Valley, built in 2013
After the first school had been built in Chhekampar children from Ripchet also attended it. However they had to make a three-hour-long walk every day. Upon request from the parents another school was built directly in Ripchet by Chumba and the village inhabitants. From its start the school was also attended by the mothers so that even two female teachers were required. Unfortunately this school was completely destroyed during the devastating earthquake in 2015 and had to be re-built from scratch.
By the way: Buddhist teacher Lopön Tsechu Rinpoche had two of his four monasteries in Tsum Valley and did long retreats there, time and again, because (among other reasons) there is also a cave of famous Tibetan yogi Milarepa.
School in Chhekampar, built 2012
The majority of the population in Tsum Valley is illiterate, because the Nepalese Government opened the borders of this Valley for foreigners at the end of 2008 only. Up to then it had been a restricted area, a region which had been accessible to selected people only. As a result, however, Buddhist culture in this “forgotten” Valley could be preserved untouched like nowhere else in this world.
In order to make sure the children there get in touch with today’s world Chumba together with the villagers built the first school in his native village which was welcomed with great joy. Mothers, too, can learn how to read and write there.