Last year, my partner and I were trekking in Nepal with our wonderful friend and guide, Sunil Tamang.
Sunil operates an independent trekking company, completely reliant on the tourism industry for his income. Without the safety net of the UK’s furlough scheme, Sunil is now jobless and unable to provide for his family which means he cannot send his children to school. He hopes to take his family out of Kathmandu to the village where he grew up so he can provide for his family through farming. However, due to the 2015 earthquake, and landslide, the house is inhabitable.
Sunil has reached a point where he believes his family may die from starvation rather than the Coronavirus.
We wanted to help: On May 4 2020, over seven days, we ran 141.5km, the return distance from Lukla to the summit of Everest. Before this challenge it’s safe to say I was not a runner. In fact, I was mid-way through the Couch to 5K app! so committing to 8km every day was pretty daunting. My partner had more running experience than me, but he hadn’t trained for months.
We created a Just Giving page and hoped to raise £250 for Sunil; the generosity we encountered soon increased our target to £1,000. News spread through local papers and social media, resulting in donations from across the world. It was staggering and overwhelming to see the kindness of others towards us and Sunil.
We got ourselves into a ‘challenge mindset’, rising at 6:30am each day to run the distance. The aches, pains, blisters and heat certainly added to the mental challenge, but thoughts of Sunil and the difference this could make to his family’s life spurred us on to the very end.
We’re thrilled to say we’ve raised an incredible £1,575 an amount Sunil is completely in awe of. Just hearing from him and knowing what this will do for his family in their time of need is so rewarding.
Our Just Giving page is open until 27 May, any last minute donations are very welcome!
Author: Francesca Gallone, Distance Learning MSc Responsible Tourism Management student