After Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s climb of Mt Everest in 1953, Hillary established the Himalayan Trust, a charitable organisation which has made a significant contribution to the people of Nepal.
The trust does this through the construction and maintenance of communication linkages, airstrips, suspension bridges, forestry education programs, schools and hospitals.
In 1997 (when I was 16) we designed an expedition with World Expeditions through the Everest region of Nepal known as the Khumbu, home to the Sherpa people, supporting the trust. Led by the Rev Graham Bradbeer and guided by Sir Ed’s son Peter Hillary and our troop of sherpas.
In the six months leading up to the expedition we trained hard and raised funds and awareness for the trust. My inspiring mum, Margaret Picken was on the parents committee and all the parents gave fantastic energy, support and encouragement. Raffle prizes were donated by people from all over including from Qantas and retailer Snowgum – such as a trip to an island getaway and a photo of Tenzing Norgay on the summit of Everest!
The trek itself was life-changing for all of us and opened our eyes to the world. Getting to know the Nepalese, a beautiful people with a deep and infectious sense of hard work, happiness and contentment. We also did working bees for the trust in Junbesi and Paphlu, small villages below Mt Everest. The Paphlu hospital, which has two doctors, servicing an area home to 100,000 people.