Maison des Himalayas : logo
Maison des Himalayas : titre
Last update: 13/09/2014
 

 

Welcome to the House of the Himalayas!

Contents

Introduction

Emergency relief actions

On-going development projects

The "DGP": the Dairy Goat Project

School for the nomad children of Manali (go direct to latest news)

Support to the Drogpa community of Ladakh

"Handimachal": give a hand to the differently-abled children of Himachal
(go direct to latest news)

Sponsorship programmes

Introduction

The French NGO “La Maison des Himalayas” is a small non-profit making association based in Northern France, created in 1992 by a group of friends further to their visits in various parts of the Himalayas. The aim of the association is to carry out social and development projects for the benefit of needy communities in mountainous areas of Nepal and India, with a focus on education (through individual sponsorship or specific projects), medical support, agriculture and local development.

All active members of the association are involved in the various projects on an entirely benevolent basis and are taking care of their own expenses (paying for their air tickets when going on field missions and working from their home) so that working expenses may be kept at their lowest level.

Although several sponsorship commissions of the association are dedicated to supporting children and elderly persons from the Tibetan refugee communities, “La Maison des Himalayas” wants to reflect the rich diversity of people and cultures living in these mythical mountains and valleys (which the media too often limit to Tibet or Nepal). This is why we are involved in very specific projects to help the development of those communities usually ignored by media and financial streams.

You will thus discover on this page some of our actions towards various communities in Nepal and in North-Western India: in the states of Jammu-and-Kashmir (in Ladakh with the Drogpa and Zanskari communities) and of Himachal Pradesh (Kangra and Kullu valleys, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti).

As you will notice, we are not active yet in the Eastern part of the Himalayas (Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh), but this will be the case only if and when we can identify, on the basis of experience, a specific development project in which we may act with full efficiency, the right purpose and guarantees of transparency.

Our involvement can be categorised, on one side, into (1) emergency relief for specific and occasional actions and (2) mid- or long-term development projects, including (3) sponsorship of children and old people, and, on the other side, (4) a general informative approach on the geographical, cultural and sociological aspects of the various regions of the Himalayas (through our website and by way of conferences).

Emergency relief

Since its creation, “La Maison des Himalayas” has been setting up a fund specially dedicated to emergency relief actions, mainly for medical support. Because of the limited size of the association, the flexibility of its organization and close relationships with correspondents and friends in India and Nepal, rapid decisions can be taken to support such or such case brought to our attention. This represents a unique opportunity for isolated individuals to find support in emergency situations.

In 1993, we met Migmar, a young Tibetan whose feet were frozen while crossing the Himalayas: we could immediately allocate a substantial amount of money to have prosthesis made for him. The list of such contributions has been increasing with the years, thanks to our members’ generosity, and you will find below the details of some of our current actions in this field.

Blankets for the Indian Kashmir valley
Location: Northern Jammu-and-Kashmir, India
Area: Local development
Objective: To provide emergency help to villages struck by the 8 October 2005 earthquake in Indian Kashmir
Project duration: Probably until the end of spring 2006…
Total budget: Amounts collected and allocated: approx. 1,200 euros (end of Feb. 2006)
Project summary:
The earthquake which destroyed and isolated so many villages in Pakistan on 8 October 2005 also violently struck some parts of the Indian side of the Kashmir valley, in and around Srinagar. Amounts collected by MdH have allowed our friend Ali (Srinagar) to buy warm blankets, which then were distributed by the Indian army to disaster-stricken villagers.
Contact: Mrs. Josette Denis, e-mail: maisondeshimalayas@gmail.com

 

Tsering Lhamo will walk soon…
Location: Dah village, Jammu-and-Kashmir, India
Area: Medical support
Objective: Surgical operation for Tsering Lhamo, a 11 years’ old Ladakhi girl
Project duration: 18 months
Total budget: 2,000 euros (already allocated)
Project summary:

Tsering Lhamo was 11 years’ old when her desperate case was brought to our attention at the beginning of 2005: her family lives in Dha village, in the Drogpa community which is already receiving support from MdH. Tsering Lhamo, also known as Spalzes Angmo, has been suffering with leg bone malformation and self-induced fractures due mainly to rickets. Preliminary medical tests were carried out in Leh and a decision was taken to transfer her to Delhi for further tests; she was finally operated on in July and September 2005 in Delhi thanks to the generosity of so many donors.

In Delhi, when not in hospital, Spalzes lives with her grandfather in a Ladakhi community centre and a Ladakhi student, Stanzin, takes care of them, including teaching Spalzes. From time to time, doctors have to remove plasters from her legs to check the status of her operated bones. News communicated by Stanzin is very encouraging and we are confident that Spalzes, who shows so much courage and good spirit in her difficult life in Delhi, will soon be able to run up and down the lanes of her mountain village with her friends. But she still needs to go through several months of painful treatment and physical rehabilitation in Delhi and we are continuing our efforts to raise money and take her, on both legs, to her new life.

Contact: Mrs. Josette Denis, e-mail: maisondeshimalayas@gmail.com
View pictures on French pages: http://www.maisondeshimalayas.org/actions/actions.html#tsering

 

Request for medical help from Tibetan monks in Tsawa Khangtsen
Location: Sera monastery, Mysore, South India
Area: Medical support
Objective: Tuberculosis treatment for six Tibetan monks
Project duration: 18 months
Total budget: Approx. 1,200 euros
Project summary:

MdH has been helping this community of Tibetan monks, in Sera monastery, for some years already. Most of these monks are between 20 and 30 years old and have come to India to study. Unfortunately, they face many physiological difficulties in adapting to such a warm environment and, due to the lack of proper hygiene, many of them suffer from tuberculosis and various other diseases.

The committee ruling the Tsawa Khangtsen (one of the communities of monks in Sera monastery) is giving a monthly allowance to the monks to help them improve their dietary habits, buy the necessary medicines and finance their stays in hospital.

Nevertheless, considering the increasing number of patients amongst the monks arriving from Tibet, the Tsawa Khangtsen Committee has specifically requested our help in this matter.

MdH has decided to provide specific support to 6 monks from the Tsawa Khangtsen community and to appeal to our members’ generosity for this purpose. The collected funds will be brought to the monks on the occasion of our next visit in Sera monastery in September 2006.

Contact: Mrs. Agnès Barbier, e-mail: agnesbar@orange.fr

 

A new heart for Dorjee Gyaltsen
Location: Ladakh, Jammu-and-Kashmir, India
Area: Medical support
Objective: Heart operation
Project duration: February 2006
Total budget: 1,000 euros (already allocated)
Project summary:

The case of Dorjee Gyaltsen was brought to our knowledge in January 2006 by Stanzin, the ladakhi student in charge of Tsering Lhamo in Delhi.

Dorjee is a 14 years old monk from Ladakh, suffering from cardiac malformations and he urgently needed to be operated on. After studying his medical file, the association immediately took the decision to allocate a sum of 1,000 euros so that the boy could be operated in Delhi as soon as possible. This was done successfully in the second half of February 2006 and Dorjee Gyaltsen’s life is now off the danger-list.

Contact: Mrs. Josette Denis, e-mail: maisondeshimalayas@gmail.com

On-going development projects

The "DGP": the Dairy Goat Project

School for the nomad children of Manali (go direct to latest news)

Support to the Drogpa community of Ladakh

"Handimachal": give a hand to differently-abled children of Himachal
(go direct to latest news)

 

“DGP”: the Dairy Goat Project
Location: Chitlang, Makwanpur district, Nepal
Area: Agriculture, rural development
Objectives:
To develop the production of goat milk and its transformation into cheese and, in particular:
. provide Chitlang farm with the means to supervise the breeders in a new activity,
. allow the breeders of Chitlang valley to develop this activity,
. organization of the sale of milk and dairy produce,
. installation of a cheese making unit run by the cooperative after the experimental phase.
Project duration: Study: 2000-2004
Experimental phase: from April 2004 to July 2006
Partners: • Agricultural Institute of Hazebrouk (IAH, France)
• Department of Livestock Service, Ministry of Agriculture, Nepal
• Heifer France and Heifer Nepal
• Food Security Programme for Nepal (FSPN, French Embassy in Nepal)
• members and sponsors of La Maison des Himalayas (MdH)
• farmers and breeders of Chitlang village
Total budget: Approx. 54,300 euros financed by the FSPN in from mid- 2004 to July 2006, corresponding to the experimental phase
Project summary:

A very original programme aiming at improving, in a sustainable way, the food security of the Nepalese population, one of the poorest population on earth, by providing them with a new income source.

The transfer of French know-how in the field of dairy goat breeding and production of cheese has been realised through a very close cooperation between the teams of IAH, MdH, Heifer and the farmers of Chitlang valley. The programme included several technical missions in Nepal by French engineers and students, and the training in France of two Nepalese technicians paid by the Nepalese Ministry of Agriculture, who in turn have trained the selected farmers.

Various equipment necessary for the processing, storage and transportation of cheese has also been provided within this programme.

The experimental phase, which will end in July 2006, has evidenced the feasibility of:
. breeding dairy goats in this valley (traditionally, goats are bred for their meat only in Nepal),
. the production of cheese (hard and soft cheese),
. commercialisation in various tourist spots in Kathmandu.

The outcome of this project should be the creation of a cooperative by the 25 involved farmers and the construction of a cheese factory in their valley.

Contact: Josette and Gérard Denis, e-mail: maisondeshimalayas@gmail.com
View pictures on French pages: http://www.maisondeshimalayas.org/projets/projet_agricole/dairy_goat_project.html

A school for the nomad children of Manali
Location: Manali, Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh, India
Area: Education
Objective: Seasonal primary school dedicated to illiterate communities
Project duration: Project initiated in 2004, to be carried on as long as the nomad families reside in Manali
Partners: • our first partner was a small local NGO named HPHWO with whom we stopped working in 2008 after discovering severe mismanagement
• since 2010, our small education project is hosted by a local private school (Manali Model School) under the supervision of Mr Hem Raj Thakur
• members and sponsors of La Maison des Himalayas (MdH)
Total budget: Approx. 2,000 euros / school season

Project summary:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the past fifteen years, the influx of tourists has provoked galloping urbanization in Manali, which attracts of number of people from exterior regions who come to work or beg.

An entire section of Manali is taken over by tarp camps from March until the end of October, where more than sixty “gypsy families” from Rajasthan sell medicinal herbs and saffron to tourists. The rest of the year these families live either in Rajasthan, in Punjab or in Delhi. Because of cultural differences between them and the inhabitants of the valley, they are misunderstood and often shunned and both communities live in fear of each other. Because they never went to school themselves and are still able to find their balance within their own community system, parents do not send children to school: boys will sell saffron in the street and girls will stay under the family tent to do household chores…

After surveying the Rajasthani camp and surrounding slums, Dominique, a member of MdH, decided in 2003 to open a temporary school in order to include children of nomad and workers’ families in the educational process, at least during their stay in the region and to impress on them the necessity of learning to read and write. The goal is to get them off the street or out of the camp and encourage their parents to enrol them in one of the government or private schools.

The first phase of the program christened “Prayas" (the endeavour) was launched at the beginning of May 2004 by HPHWO. Two primary school teachers were hired for the duration of the program (May through November) and two rooms were rented to accommodate the children, plus the purchase of some basic materials. The budget for the 2004 school year was a mere 2,000 euros, which included eight months of instruction for 70 students (for a start), all financed by individual gifts.

Within the first two days of the opening of the school, about 70 children were registered, which means that the need was enormous. Between 40 and 50 children came to the school every day, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm: two teachers hired by the NGO could inculcate in them the basics of discipline, hygiene, reading and writing (both in Hindi and in English), mathematics, and, above all, to discover and enjoy school.

In 2005, the school opened again at the beginning of May in a different building, still on rent. Children were less numerous at the beginning of summer, as some of the older boys or girls had been sent back to work in the street or under the tents. On 15 August, Dominique and HPHWO organised an “open day” in the school to attract more children, and the number of students stabilized to 40-45 until the end of the school season (end of October). Among those, 10 boys and girls can now read and write in Hindi, do some basic calculations, and have some very basic knowledge of English. Another group of 8 children showed an extreme motivation and success in their work and one of the teachers was dedicated to them especially. A third teacher was hired in August to take care of younger children and newcomers in their first steps in school.

The main barriers in this project are unfortunately lying within the community itself, as Rajasthani parents of the most advanced students are reluctant to send them to study at a boarding school (even with financing through sponsorship) or to a government school.

The children themselves are highly motivated and some of them have shown exceptional skills for studying. We are still hoping to convince their families to give those boys and girls the opportunity to go on in their studies in the best possible conditions.

This will be one of our targets when the nomad families come back to Manali at the beginning of May 2006.

1st May 2006 : For the third year, the small Prayas school opened again and 35 to 40 children attended classes on a regular basis (up to 50 students on peak days). The most advanced students (two boys and one girl) were given free computer education every afternoon and were so proud of it! In September, a young French engineer (Luc Ponchon) spent two full weeks in the school to develop a programme for scientific approach, based on the properties of air and hygiene, including games, small scientific experiments and method-building activities. This programme was very successful with the children and evidenced their ability to develop a scientific mind.

Most of the children and their families left Manali during the last week of October and our small Prayas school closed its doors again for the long winter.

One new and positive point was the interest shown by other local teachers (government school principal and teachers) in the school programme. The principal of the Manali government primary school proposed to register some children in her school – but, in spite of continuous discussions with some families, the Rajasthani parents still do not accept their children to mix with other communities.

2007... 2008... Due to severe mismanagement by the local NGO (HPHWO), discovered in October 2008, it was decided (at the children's request) to organize a new school in 2009, with new rules and under the supervision of another local NGO. New premises have been identified, teachers have agreed to the new school regulations, a "local foreigner" will manage the educational programme during Dominique's absence from Manali. The name of this new school was found by students themselves: "Asha New School" ("Asha" means "hope"). So let's hope for the best in 2009!

After partition from the local NGO "HPHWO"
children enjoyed school in the warm autumn sunshine
of Manali, on a private house roof-terrasse.
Rhada was one of the most motivated students.


1st May 2009: we kept our promiss to the children and opened the Asha New School on 1st May. Dominique spent two weeks in Manali (and in Kullu for the Handimachal Project) to prepare the school opening and welcome children during the first days of school.

Two teachers were confirmed in their duties. Judith, a "local tourist" from Switzerland, who is settled in Manali and talks hindi fluently, is, on a volunteering basis, piloting the every day organisation of the school and giving new teaching techniques to our teachers.

Teacher Parul with beginners

First lessons in the new classroom
of Asha New School (2 May 2009)

Judith in math class

"Interactive teaching" by Judith, involving
individual deduction and thought
instead of unproductive endless repetition...

As of 25 May 2009, the attendance of children in Asha New School varies from 15 to 20, with maximum of 30 children one some days. Three level groups have clearly emerged and a third local teacher will be hired very soon in order to fix the groups and prevent demotivation of children.

 

 


Maya

"Asha New School", a seasonal school for Rajasthani children in Manali (latest news)

Since May 2011 : our small "Asha New School" is now hosted from beginning of May to end of November by a local private school (Manali Model School) in Bhajogi, Manali, nearby the Rajasthani camp. Classes are given to Rajasthani and Punjabi children from 3:00 to 6:00 pm, after regular classes, with teachers paid by La maison des Himalayas.

The budget for this school "season" (May to November) has been set to 1,000-1,200 euros, including renting of the school hall, salaries of local teachers, equipment, books and stationery. No school fees are being asked to families in order to prevent financial discrimination.

We are greatly dependant on donations for this educational programme and are most grateful for any help you may provide in this regard. Please contact Dominique for details.

Volunteers wishing to join the school for 2-3 weeks (or for a few days) during their visit in Himachal are most welcome and should contact Dominique. Small educative or artistic activities can be easily designed in order to widen children's perspectives and keep them smiling in school.

Up-to-date information and pictures are available on our information blog (in French only, sorry about this!): http://maisondeshimalayas.over-blog.com/


Contact: Ms. Dominique Dufau, e-mail: domidufau@free.fr
View pictures on French pages: http://www.maisondeshimalayas.org/projets/manali/index.html

Support to the Drogpa community of Ladakh
Location: Dah Hanu valley, Jammu-and-Kashmir, India
Area: Education and local development
Objectives: . To provide easy access to education to Dard children
. To develop arts and craft in order for villagers to gain financial autonomy
. To study possibilities of developing agriculture
. To protect this unique culture by requesting its preservation under the Unesco World Heritage List
Project duration: Since 1998…
Partners: MdH and local individuals in Dah and Leh
Total budget: According to specific programmes (see below)
Project summary:

The Drogpa or Dard community, believed to descend from pure Aryan settlers, is a unique people who survive in the barren and rocky Indus valley north of Khalse, on the border with Pakistan. Villagers settled in Dah Hanu valleys have been Buddhist followers since the 19th century, unlike their Muslim counterparts present near Drass or in the Khargil district. They are following a very unique and independent way of life, characterised by an exceptional culture, original customs, colourful festivals and clothing, and a separate dialect.

Ladakh nevertheless does not escape globalisation and many young Dard men are attracted by new opportunities in Leh or further into the mainland. In order to preserve this unique culture and at the same time allow the Dard community to adapt to the modern world, La Maison des Himalayas engaged strong relationships with this interesting people and has been financing various development programmes in their favour:

Already completed:

. Construction of a playground in front of the government school (1998 – cost: 380 euros);

. Construction of three primary schools (total cost: 5,400 euros):

- In 2001: construction of a nursery / pre-primary school in Dah where children are being familiarized with Hindi, Urdu and Ladakhi languages,
- In 2003: reconstruction of Dah government primary school destroyed by a bomb during the “Kargil war” in 2001,
- In 2004: additional class built in Lhastang, a hamlet near Dah;

. Financing of teachers’ salaries (Tsering Ladol and Tashi Samdan);

. Repairing of Dah main access trail, destroyed in 1999 by a bomb (cost: 950 euros);

. August 2002: organisation of waste collection and disposal in Dah village; purchase of “use me” tanks;

. Development of handicraft activities, such as the weaving of traditional shawls with wool from local sheep: shawls are being sold in France the income from which is covering the salaries of both teachers employed in the primary schools;

. Sponsoring of children in Dah (around 65 children);

. Sanitary and health programmes, carried out on a regular basis and for specific cases (see our action in favour of Tsering Lhamo above)

. Punctual actions in the village

Still to be completed:

. Extension of sponsoring to the four other Dard villages;

. Building of a playground and a wall around Lhastang school (estimated: 1,272 euros);

. Construction of a pre-primary school in Sanit hamlet (Dah) (estimated cost: 1,800 euros) and hiring of a teacher;

. Further development of local handicraft activities in order to avoid rural migration for men and young women;

. Development of local agriculture (the main cash crop is apricot trees; the development of goat breeding is under study;

. Preservation of Dah cultural heritage:

- repairing of Dah monastery (estimated cost: 1,500 euros)
- preservation and study of Dah petroglyphs (rock carvings found at the entrance of the village)
- preservation of the ruins of Dah old fort
- creation of a rural museum and restoration of cultural assets

The traditional dances, songs and music of the Dard people, their costumes, their dialect, their way of life deeply rooted to nature are the clear signs of a unique culture which is now in great danger.

The modest contribution brought by La Maison des Himalayas to help this community to protect its identity should be relayed by other organisations in order to be efficient. Contacts have been taken with the Unesco’s representatives in this sense.

Contact: Contact: Martine Bouteille and Nelly Gest - bouteille.m@orange.fr or nelly.gest@laposte.net
View pictures on French pages: http://www.maisondeshimalayas.org/projets/dardes/projet_dardes.html

New project in Manali:

“Handimachal”: give a hand to differently-abled children of Himachal
Location: Kullu valley, Himachal Pradesh, India
Area: Medical support and information, training, education, local development
Objectives: Creation of a dispensary dedicated to disability (medical, information and training centre), together with a small school for disabled or impaired children
Project duration: 10 years (January 2007 – end of 2017)
Partners: HPHVA, Himachal Pradesh Voluntary Health Association, Shimla
followed by the Day Star School & Lady Willingdon Hospital, Manali - from March 2013
Total budget:

Preliminary phase (survey): € 6,640 i.e. 378,750 NRs (260,000 NRs funded by MdH)
Main phase: building & equipment of dispensary, training programmes (estimated to € 80,000, to be defined according to results of survey and actual needs)
Budget for the "Handimachal Kullu Unit" to be set up in Kullu town during the construction phase (as from mid-February 2009): € 13,000 per year. (see status as of 15 October 2009 below)

Project summary and present status:

The purpose of the “Handimachal” project designed by the French non-profit association “La Maison des Himalayas” (“MdH”, i.e. the House of the Himalayas) is to meet the medical, education and integration needs of the handicapped children of the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh (and surrounding districts).

This six year programme has been designed on a community basis involving, as much as possible, all local actors in the contemplated fields as well as the support, whenever needed, of French/European voluntary specialists.

OBJECTIVES OF THE « HANDIMACHAL » PROJECT

Creation of a centre dedicated to handicap, comprising a team of medical experts, an information bureau for the families and local social workers, a temporary reception centre for visiting families and a training school for disability professionals (the Handimachal School).

An important point: the “Handimachal” centre is not destined to host handicapped children for long stays or to replace the families in the giving of care and looking after the children. In effect, the social structure of these mountain villages still allows the parents to look after the handicapped child within the family, a factor enabling optimum integration into the traditional communities.

Medical objectives

  • To provide the families with a medical diagnosis for the handicapped child, a medical programme adapted specially for the child and an estimate of the projected future progress of the child.

  • To educate the mothers (in particular) on the actions and attitudes which will benefit the child’s health, by using the services of occupational therapists.

  • To direct the children who are not able to stay within the family because the handicap is too extreme or difficult to cope with, to specialised centres (outside the region).

Objectives in the field of education and integration:

  • To train 10+2 students to become professionals in the field of disability, with a diploma delivered by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCA)
  • To teach the parents how best to cope with their child’s handicap in the home, to evaluate on the spot how to make the child’s life easier and to respond to its specific needs.
  • Teaching manual or other (for example, computer) skills, to the adolescents, in order to promote personal development and integration into the peer group.

  • With regards to the isolated villages, assessing the possibilities of mainstream schooling within the government school system to be achieved by way of a special training programme for primary school teachers.

  • Providing material assistance (wheelchairs and other equipment) and financial help, where possible, for certain cases.

  • Making the local social workers aware of the different types of help that they can provide to the children concerned and their families.

Final objective:

  • Bringing about the intervention of local government in order to continue the process, on a medium term basis (until the end of 2012), in order to regulate this initiative and to enable the maximum number of people to benefit from it.

ACTION PLAN (and status - latest news)

Before the end of 2006 : To identify a competent local NGO who would be able to help to help to put in place and undertake the day-to-day running of the programme in collaboration with La Maison des Himalayas; the local NGO was identified in August 2006 and meetings held to discuss collaboration (HPHVA, Shimla)

to negotiate the nature and conditions of a partnership (agreement letter signed in December 2006).
2nd half of 2006 :

To set up a fact-finding mission on the ground, in the villages and in liaison with the social workers and teachers in the area in order to identify the types of handicap and the various needs. The conditions of the survey have been discussed and agreed upon. The survey has been realized by a team of local university students in the Kullu block of Kullu district, during the months of January and February 2007. A detailed questionnaire has been set up and discussed with specialists and students have received a 3 day training on January 2-4, 2007.

2nd half of 2006 or
1st half of 2007 :

Land in Pandra Mile

To contact local authorities in order to obtain an available plot of land for the future construction of the Handimachal centre and to make an estimate of the building and equipment costs which would be involved to complete the centre. December 2006: Various contacts have already been taken by the local NGO with local government representatives in order to introduce the programme and ensure necessary authorizations will be granted. A plot of land was visited in October 2006 but was unfortunately not suitable for the project.
Summer 2007:
discussions have been engaged with local authorities to try obtain a free plot of land.
April 2008:
a free plot of land has been allocated to the project by the local administration, between Kullu and Manali (subject to clearance of all necessary formalities...).

Summer 2007 (advanced to January & February):

 

 

 

A fact-finding mission on the ground has taken place during the months of January and February 2007, a season when villagers are not working in their fields.

Summer 2007: the data collected during the survey have been analysed by a team of French specialists (Dr Sylvie Tison, CHU Bordeaux, and her students) and have given the basis to various studies to better assess the status of disability in the area.

The Survey has identified 1,242 disabled persons in the Kullu block of Kullu district (1.1% of the populations), the different types of disabilities and various associated and underlying problems.

This Survey is complemented by the Observation Mission carried out in August 2007 in some selected families of disabled people:  beyond data, this mission could highlight disabled people's practical difficulties and expectations and allowed us to adapt the Handimachal project to real needs.

The "Disability Survey Report and Handimachal Proposed Pilot Project" (document available in pdf format here) details the results of both studies and gives the outline of the proposed Handimachal project, which has been designed as a "pilot" programme for the Kullu district.

2nd half of 2007:

To set up partnership projects:

- at local level, by means of information sessions, meetings, etc, with doctors from the public and private sectors, social workers in the villages, the teaching profession, government health and educational institutions in the district and the State of Himachal Pradesh;


- at national level, to attract the attention of specialised doctors and occupational therapists in Delhi (principally) and to encourage them to participate in the programme, particularly in the cases of children afflicted by a very serious handicap and to help locate manufacturers of specialised equipment;

Summer 2007: the various contacts made during summer by HPVHA and Dominique in Himachal and in Delhi have allowed some national institutions to declare their interest in joigning the programme. Such partnerships will be discussed during the coming months.

26 November 2007: the Handimachal survey and programme have been presented to the Governor of Himachal Pradesh and representatives of local government commissions in Shimla.

3rd quarter 2007:

In France, to present the final project to various organizations and/or associations in order to obtain funding. December 2006: thanks to some private initiatives we are already able to begin raising funds for this project. April-May 2008: the presentation of the project to various potential institutional sponsors has been intensified.

 

1st half 2008:

At international level, to install training and medical exchange programmes in the field (associations, medical and occupational therapy students and special needs teachers). December 2006: contacts have already been taken with various organizations in France and Europe and look very promising.

 

2nd and 3rd quarters
of 2008:

 


 

To carry out construction of the centre in the Kullu Valley, in an easily-accessible area (ideally between Manali and Kullu, which remains an important passage from the more isolated valleys of Lahaul-Spiti and beyond from Zanskar, Ladakh or from the southern valleys). Winter 2008: a first draft plan for the contemplated building has been designed and will be finalised during summer 2008.

 

Status of project as of
15 October 2009:

 

 

Kullu Unit

The Handimachal Kullu Therapy Unit
opened at the beginning of March 2009
on the ground floor of this magnifiscent traditional house in Kullu town.

Address:
House no. 75, near Ram Bagh,
Akhara Bazar, near Gurudwara,
Kullu - HP India
Tel: +91 1902 222 847

Nikil and his mother at parallel bars

 

 



Explanations on equiment given to DC Kullu

Discussion with DC Kullu and CMO Regional Hospital

HKTU team

Evert, Yuv Raj, Dominique and Kanika,
ready to welcome officials and families on inauguration day

Due to "administrative delays", the land allocated by the local government could not be made available during autumn 2008. After discussing with several local actors in the field of disability (local NGOs, physiotherapists, doctors, government bodies), it was decided to set up a physiotherapy and occupational therapy unit in Kullu town in order to be active without further delay.

The "Handimachal Kullu Therapy Unit" opened in Kullu town centre at the beginning of March 2009, with one local physiotherapist full-time and one physically-challenged young man as unit manager. This small therapy centre is devoted to disabled children in a first stage, premises have been taken under rent for a period of two years until completion of the future Handimachal centre to be built in Pandra Mile.

A full set of physiotherapy equipment is now available in the Handimachal Kullu Therapy Unit for treatment of physically-challenged children.

In September 2009, a volunteer occupational therapist from the Netherlands joined the project for six months (until end of February 2009). Evert Veldman's mission, in close cooperation with Kanica, our physiotherapist, is to (i) set-up specific OT programmes for visiting children and children at home, and (ii) train local social workers to CBR concepts and techniques in order to establish relays in villages and develop rehabilitation initiatives in the community itself.

In the meawhile, information about services provided in the Handimachal Kullu Therapy Unit is being circulated among the population and various disability & awareness camps are being organised, in order to increase awareness of families and better interact with the local community. Around 50 children have already visited the centre for check-up and treatment and daily attendance is increasing day by day.

Dominique was in Kullu for two weeks in April-May 2009 and from mid-July to beginning of October to assist the Handimachal Kullu Therapy Unit team in developing the project, in cooperation with HPVHA Shimla.

9 September 2009 will remain a happy milestone for our association, for the HKTU team and for local families of differently-abled children: the new DC Kullu, Mr Nanta, and other local officials attended the inaguration of the Unit, together with some families, local NGO representatives and the local press.

Following the visit of the Unit and usual introductory speaches, a fruitful discussion was initiated by Mr Nanta, Deputy Commissionner for Kullu District, in order to support MdH's wish and efforts to work hand-in-hand with local NGOs and government institutions for the benefit of children.

Nikil and Kartik

We are actively looking for volunteers (occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists and psychotherapists) willing to join the project for long missions, i.e. six to twelve months. Please contact Dominique Dufau (domidufau@free.fr) if you are interested in taking part in this challenging programme.

You can now follow the day-to-day progress of the Handimachal Project on our blog: http://thehandimachalproject.over-blog.com/

   

Long-term perspectives

2009-2012: To manage the centre and its associated programmes during a period of three years, with the participation of the local NGO.
End 2012: To carry out the transfer of responsibility to local government or the local NGO (this could be done earlier according to the progress of the project).

THE ROLE AND INVOLVMENT BY LA MAISON DES HIMALAYAS (MDH)

· Co-ordination of all the different stages of the project, with the presence of Dominique on site for four months of the year and the visit of foreign benevolent doctors, technicians and students, following a time schedule to be defined.

· Making contact with the local NGO and the authorities or local representatives.· Organisation of the fact-finding mission planned for the summer of 2007 (will take place in January-February 2007).

· On the French side, drawing up of applications to obtain financing.

· Preparation of applications in conjunction with the local NGO with regard to the Indian authorities.

· Putting in place the various partnership projects, in conjunction with the local NGO.

· Financing of the construction of the centre in 2008 – overseeing the various agencies involved in the construction (by the local NGO with the help of engineering missions).

· Dealing with legal aspects of the project in conjunction with a competent body (for example the offices of the French Embassy).

· On the long term: ·Running the operation of the centre for a period of approximately three years before the transfer of management to the local NGO or local government.

Contact: Ms. Dominique Dufau, e-mail: domidufau@free.fr
Mobile in France: +33 6.79.11.02.23
Mobile in India: +91 95 8272 6588 (June to October)

Sponsorship programmes

For the amount of 15 euros per month, sponsor a child or an old person from various Himalayan communities
Objectives: Financial support for education or health purposes
Duration: A minimum 3 years’ commitment is required from sponsors
Budget: 15 euros per month, transferred by MdH once or twice in the year to local sponsorship programmes administrators, depending on the commission
MdH Sponsorship commissions
Sera & Kollegal monasteries (South India) Tibetan monks Contact: Agnès Barbier -
agnesbar@orange.fr
Chauntra, Bir, Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh, India) Tibetan children and old people in exile in Tibetan settlements of HP Contact: Chantal and André Poiré - mamadji@hotmail.com
Manali (Himachal Pradesh, India) Children from isolated villages of (1) Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur districts of HP and (2) of Zanskar valley (J&K) Contact: Dominique Dufau -
domidufau@free.fr
Dah Hanu (Ladakh, J&K, India) Dard children from the isolated villages of Dah Hanu valley in Jammu-and-Kashmir

Contact: Martine Bouteille and Nelly Gest bouteille.m@orange.fr / nelly.gest@laposte.net

 

Pour toutes informations complémentaires concernant ce programme,
veuillez contacter Dominique Dufau

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