I have been given the incredible opportunity to travel to Kathmandu, Nepal in support of Hope for Children. As part of a team from Imperial College London, I will trek to Everest Base Camp and experience first hand the untamed beauty of the world's highest mountain above sea level.
I signed up to Everest Base Camp because I believe in giving children the basic right to "a happy, healthy and positive childhood." The money I fundraise will be going to Hope for Children, a charity who do just that.
Children are the future that we need to invest in. Charities such as Hope for Children are nurturing a happy, healthy and educated future workforce, who will have the potential to redefine the world and innovate for change.
I’m amazed and inspired that such a small but vital charity has achieved so much for children across the world. In 2016-17, they reached 33,398 children and their families in eight countries across Africa, Asia and the UK. They have 3 fundamental targets: to improve education, healthcare and to empower families to support themselves sustainably.
Here is the story of one of these 33,398 children. Radhika is a 15-year-old girl living in Nepal. She loves school and dreams of becoming a software engineer when she is older. Her parents want her to achieve this - her dad drives trucks transporting construction materials and her mother looks after their household and farms the paddy fields.
However, the support of her parents in this endeavour might not have been enough to combat the oppression facing women in their society. One way in which this oppression is obvious today is in the persistence of ancient discrimination against women’s menstruation. Today in Nepal, while women are menstruating, they are regarded as “impure” and are forbidden from enter kitchens, touch cooking materials or even touch men.
However, Radhika’s family doesn’t strictly follow these traditions – which has resulted in much disapproval and marginalisation from their community, including from her own uncle. Radhika’s sister would have anxiety attacks whenever she had her period for fear that people would notice.
Hope for Children is working with a local partner to remove this stigma associated with menstruation and supplying hygienic pads to women. Radhika is a member of their project, and works with other girls AND boys in combatting this stigma. She particularly found it fun to learn how to make hygienic pads. Education also makes a big difference towards fighting this stigma but only 60% of people over 15 can read and write in Nepal.
Radhika is determined to succeed despite all the systemic barriers against her gender
Over the next year, I will be taking part in and organising various events to raise up to and over £2,190. I aim to help this charity by raising awareness of their brilliant work and giving them the necessary funding they need to continue to make a difference.
Climbing to Everest Base Camp will definitely be a challenge, but one I am excited to embark on. Any donation, big or small, would be appreciated, even by spreading the word of Hope for Children, you can have a massive impact. Thank you for your support!