Freedom Social Foundation is the social initiative taken by Freedom Adventures with the goal to share what we have learned over the years working within this industry. Adventure tourism is without a doubt a sector that is progressively growing in Nepal. However, the people that come into it do not come into the sector by learning about it rather work their way up from the bottom.

Our team has been serving international clients with tailor-made trekking and expedition trips, since we began in 2014, over the years we have been able to get a better understanding of the sector and feel that a more systematic approach must be taken to ensure that people want to work within the sector with better training and knowledge. Our work has also allowed us to create a strong network of people that specialize in various sectors within Adventure tourism such as trekking, rafting, rock climbing, wildlife, canyoning, wilderness medicine, mountain biking and mountaineering. This also puts us in a strong position to work with those expertise in various different projects.

The trekking and mountaineering region we operate in provides immense opportunity for the local to be able to work within tourism but at sadly many are not aware of the possibilities available and do not have good understanding what’s required to get into the profession. Just like any other profession people are at their best to develop the interest and desire at youth. However the youth of Nepal are not exposed to outdoor education in school as the educational curriculum is yet to accept that as a prominent topic in the syllabus, for a country like ours where the world comes in to visit as a Mecca of Adventure, doesn’t put the youth in a favorable position to accept adventure tourism as a potential career.

Apart from a potential career, Outdoor education allows youth to learn skills that just can’t be found in an indoor classroom. We firmly believe that introducing outdoor education will instill in students through hand on practice skills to work together as a team, to think independently, develop survival skills and strong appreciation for Nature.

Through Freedom Social Foundation we wish to take a tiny step to introduce outdoor education to the rural youths of Nepal. Our current work is an initial step to tackle the problem we believe that with this initial spark we will be able to light up in the young minds awareness and desire for outdoor so that they can make an informed decision to work in Adventure tourism should they desire to.

The outdoor education project was the brainchild of Jagan Timilsina, His inspiration came from his many adventures in tourism. He joined forces with like-minded professionals to form Freedom Social Foundation. The aim is to create an impact through education, training, awareness and health in remote areas that are deprived of services and access. The outdoor education project an initiative to open up avenues for local young adults who are unaware of opportunities in their own country within Adventure tourism where they can work as an outdoor professional

Through the Great Himal race, a 1600km race through the Himalayas of Nepal from west to east, Jagan found an opportunity to bring his passion for a challenge and the desire to start expanding the reach of outdoor education in remote parts of Nepal. He decided to run the Great Himal Race with the aim of raising funds to kick-start outdoor education for youths in remote parts of Nepal.

The race consists of a 50-day trail through the entire Himalayan range of Nepal, covering 1600km in total and averaging around 30km per day at very high altitudes. In total, there are more than a hundred high passes to traverse and requires not only an ability to run but also technical climbing and expedition skills. Food and accommodation will only be available in areas of settlement, for the rest of the race he had to camp and carry all my supplies, which presents an additional challenge at high altitudes of 5900m.

 

This is what Jagan says about the Great Himal race,“The main goal for participating in the race is to raise funds for promoting outdoor education for children in rural and urban areas (in collaboration with schools). This will be the perfect opportunity to fill the gap left by the current Nepalese schooling curriculum.”

I strongly believe this because Nepal’s current education system, consisting of 8 hours of back to back lessons inside a classroom, does not allow children sufficient environmental and outdoor education. There is no practical training on how to think independently, make decisions, take leadership, teamwork and most importantly, respect and appreciation for nature.

Outdoor education will establish skills and qualities via team building exercises, simulation scenarios, theoretical classes and field trips. An important goal of the project is to instill in the youth appreciation for nature by using the outdoors to develop qualities of leadership and teamwork. Most importantly I want them to gain basic knowledge, experience and skill sets needed in all outdoor based professions.

The course will be run by a team of outdoor professionals under the leadership of Jagan Nath Timilsina, who is a certified backpacking instructor and wilderness first responder from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in the USA. We aim to reach 50 schools with each course hosting a group of 20 students.

Leadership Skills Life Skills Environmental Skills
Teamwork Basic First Aid Ecology and Biodiversity
Self Awareness Basic Rock Climbing and Abseiling Swimming and River Crossing
Risk assessment Basic Ice Climbing Leave No Trace (LNT) Principle
Decision Making Hiking and Backing Skilling Waste Management
Self Leadership English for Outdoors Environmental Skills

A general overview of the project can be found here.

The funds collected throughout the project will be spent on purchasing equipment such as: tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, backpacks, cooking pots, stoves, tarp covers, ropes, garden shovels, water containers, first aid kits, GPS devices, radios and repair kits.

After a very successful fundraising campaign through JustGiving during the epic Great Himal Race, we raised £3040 of our £16000 target. The fund has been used to buy some equipment to start the training for 20-25 students per course. You can find the details of the purchase in the respective project pages.The first course was completed with an extremely positive impact. This has also enabled us to adjust the course for future implementation. The second course is set to start 21st Sept for seven days. The plans are already in motion for December for the third course. In between these for rafting and kayaking course are also underway.

About The Great Himal Race

The unique Great Himalayan Race will take place in April and May 2017. GHR will use the GHT (Great Himalayan Trail) route and cross the entire Nepalese Himalaya from East to West. The first half will be common with Himal Race 2017 from its start at Kachenjunga Base Camp to Helambu. After this, it will continue through Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Manaslu, Annapurnas, Mustang, Dolpa, Simli Valley and Humla Valley before ending at Hilsa, a village at the West border of Nepal with Tibet. Organised by the French running collective.www.leschevaliersduvent.fr

The race started on April 9 from Kanchenjunga Base Camp (5143m). Please go on to, www.facebook.com/greathimalrace for photos and videos about the race.

Please don’t miss watching this exclusive video prepared by Onward Nepal featuring The Great Himal Race

Map of The Great Himal Race