In 1996 Mr Michael Davis took the first group of Newington boys to Nepal and developed a long friendship with the SOS Children’s Villages and Hermann Gmeiner Schools. The tours were disrupted for a number of years due to government instability but started again in 2008 and have been running every second year since.
In 2012, the trekking was moved from the Annapurna region to the Everest region. This change increased the Service Learning component of the tour when the College became involved with a community health project in the village of Jumbesi, the Kushedebu Public Health Mission Nepal.
Junbesi is very remote; so remote that transport occurs exclusively on foot and by donkey. Despite it being so remote, it is still home to the closest medical facility for many Nepalese people, providing invaluable services such as immunisations, X-rays and maternity facilities.
When the boys toured Nepal in 2012, their main goal was to assist the Health Mission; the boys raised $3400. These funds paid for cement and paint so that on their arrival in Nepal they could set to work completely refreshing one of the health centre’s buildings. The trip also provided the boys with an opportunity to experience Nepal’s rich culture and history, trek through a country steeped in jaw-dropping scenery, explore medieval cities, visit sacred Buddhist and Hindu sites and interact with the generous Nepalese people.
Leading up to the 2014 tour, the boys raised funds to support both the Kushudebu Health Centre and the Hermann Gmeiner SOS School. Upon arriving at Junbessi, the boys became involved with the community through the Kushudebu Public Health Mission where they painted window sills, prepared outside surfaces for painting, whitewashed walls, completed some gardening and played cricket and volleyball with the local school children. The boys also visited Hermann Gmeiner SOS School, which provides housing, food and education for homeless students, gave another opportunity for the boys to experience a sense of Nepalese culture and community. From the fundraising, the boys presented a monetary donation to the school and they could see the benefit this would have to these students.
When the earthquakes hit Nepal in March 2015 the Newington community joined together to help raise much needed funds to help with the recovery process. Thanks to the generous efforts of the boys and their families over $11,000 was raised.
The tours to Nepal run every two years and are usually three weeks long and occur during the Christmas holiday period.