Sir Edmund Hillary spent many years in Nepal’s mountainous ranges before and after his pioneering summit with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Through his time, he established a deep connection with the country and its people. In 1960, after a long day of mountaineering with Gregory Lowe, a New Zealand teacher and fellow team members of the first Everest summit, the two friends decided to give something back to the community.
In 1961, Sir Hillary opened the doors to the first school in the Solukhumbu district and welcomed a group of poor and scruffy-looking children with an opportunity of receiving formal classroom education. This idea was inspired by conversations with Sherpa Urkein who expressed the need for his people to understand the world and the impact development has on his community.
In 1990, the seeds of REED-Nepal were sowed from an idea to train teachers by Gregory and Mary Lowe. Sir Edmund Hillary’s Trust began their first teacher training program in 1994 under the leadership of Jim Strang, a New Zealand climber. The success of the program was undeniable and led to the creation of REED-Nepal in 2000. With Jim and his Nepali colleagues working as a local NGO, it allowed the teacher training program to receive greater financial assistance from sister organizations in the UK, New Zealand, UNICEF and Australia, and gain official government support to empower Nepali teachers. Jim has been recognized for his contribution to civil service with Queen’s Service Medal of New Zealand, and he continues to work with REED-Nepal and the teacher training programs.
Today, teacher training remains a central part of REED-Nepal’s programs. However, REED-Nepal has expanded with material assistance packages and scholarship to the disadvantaged children and school material supports. Today, REED-Nepal reaches over 320 schools across Nepal through the hard work of a team of 43 staffs. For more information, on our current programs please click here.