Chay Ya was founded throuh a small twist of fate. In 2007 Sabine Klotz, the later foundress of Chay Ya, decided to go on a trekking tour in Nepal during the Monsoon, not thinking about the dangerousness of her venture. In that time of the year, it is usual, that all the hiking trails are flooded and so she got lost because of landslides, which made it impossible for her to go back because of the impassable trails. After some failed attempts to find a village, many more gone kilometers farther and hours later she was saved by Kamal Thapa und Santosh Silwal, two later founding members of Chay Ya Nepal. That rescue mission was the headstone of an important friendship, which grew out of a common interest in nature conservation and the urge for a better life of the rural population in Nepal.
After long and intense discussions our austrian-nepali circle of friends decided to conduct a study about the potential of ecotourism as a strategy for poverty reduction in Nepal, as numerous people especially in rural Nepal live in catastrophic poverty, have health problems and are faced with a lack of education.
No sooner said than done, two years later – in autumn 2009 – Sabine travelled with her friend Lea Katharina Pichler into the remote Tsum Valley, located on more than 4000 m above the sea level where the Tibetian border is reachable in 5 days of walk. There, together with Kamal and Santosh, they wanted to compose a study on sustainable ecotourism – see project report 2009 for details -. With the support of the government of Vorarlberg and private donors it was possible for us to take 120 kg of school material like note books, pens and books on mules in three schools there. But the name “school” does not really fit for these buildings as it was only huts.
To us it became clear very fast, that an ecotourism project can only be the last step in poverty reduction there, as we saw the degrading conditions in the mountain villages. Health care, clean drinking water, enough food and education was much more urgently needed.
The impressions of the Tsum Valley provoked Sabine and her friends from Vorarlberg to found an association for those people there. They founded Chay Ya Austria- in the Tibetian language the term means: “let’s start”- an association for global poverty reduction and promotion of social and educational development.
In 2012, 2013 and 2014 we organized free mobile health camps for the inhabitants of the Tsum Valley, each lasting for three weeks and about 800 patients. Furthermore we supported nine schools with 400 pupils. They got teaching material and we held hygiene trainings, which improved the health-consciousness of the region enormous.
Since autumn 2014 we started with the construction of a small health post in the village Lar (Tsum Valley, 3250 m above sea level) as well as the installation of a hygiene infrastructure –sanitation, clear drinking water, and smokeless kitchens- there. This was possible through the support of the scouts of Austria and the government of Vorarlberg. Unfortunately the opening of the health post was delayed because of the hard winter and the catastrophic earthquake in spring 2015. But from autumn 2016 on the health post will guarantee medical help all-the-year for the inhabitants of the Tsum Valley.
The year 2015 was a big challenge – two extreme intense earthquakes in April and May as well as more than 300 aftershocks claimed more than 20.000 dead and 3 Million homeless. Our team could help thousands of people fast and non-bureaucratic in the weeks after the quake with the most necessary things, like tarpaulins, CGI-sheets, medication, warm blankets and food – this was only possible through your donations, thank you!!
In September and October 2015 our team from Austria, Nepal, India and USA found the way to the area of Langtang to treat more than 1100 people medically. Some doctors, a dentist and nurses gave their best over 2.5 weeks in remote mountain villages. Simultaneously we could visit the villages, in which we will rebuild the schools. We from Chay Ya are convinced, that education is the only way to overcome poverty and we plan to rebuild as many schools in Nepal as it is possible from your donations.
Our amount of work had decupled in 2015, therefore our employee Kamal Thapa had to find amplifying – now Swornim und Santosh Silwal oversee together with him our projects. In May 2015 they founded Chay Ya Nepal, our sister organization, which operates already in eight districts. Not only in emergency relief Chay Ya Nepal has achieved incredibly much, also in reconstruction, in the districts Gorkha and Rasuwa/Langtang six schools have been already rebuild, and three more are on the go.
In October 2016 our dream came true – we opend our Healthpost and Birthing Clinic in Tsum Valley – finally the people of Tsum have a year round health care!
As well, the very remote areas of Dolpa and Gorkha have been our next target for free healthcamps in 2016 – our doctors went above 4000 meters altitude to bring medical services to the mountain people!
Since 2016, we are also supporting the Supa Incluisve School, where disabled children get free education – we supported them already with y new kitchen and wheelchairs, now we are planning to build toilets, showers and a schoolgarden – more at “Projects”.
There is much to do in the following years and people with experience in health care, teaching Englisch or the building industry are warmly welcome in our team.