02.09.2020

Tsering Dolma Gurung (54) and her husband Silnon live primarily off their own agricultural activities. Three daughters attend the local school; the eldest daughter, however, is needed to help run the household. The family's most important possessions: sheep, yaks and horses - and now a greenhouse. A meaningful project, we believe and have financed 1 of 12 greenhouses and donated an ORION II EXTREME

Upper Dolpo – WHERE THE HIMALAYA KNOWS ONLY SOLITUDE

Dolpo is the largest of 72 districts in Nepal. As "lonely" as it gets in Nepal. Even in the entire Himalayas, the area (somewhat as large as the Saarland) is considered one of the most remote regions of all. Less than 500 foreigners come each year. So far no road connects Upper Dolpo with the rest of the world. The journey from Kathmandu takes up to ten days. Traditionally, the Dolpopas therefore orientate themselves towards nearby Tibet. It is estimated that about 5'000 to 6'000 Dolpopas still have their homes here. Between mid November and early April, Upper Dolpo is cut off from the outside world due to heavy snowfall.

As a result of the extreme conditions, a functioning infrastructure is largely lacking: there are hardly any hospitals, state schools or mobile medical stations, and there is hardly any functioning food supply. Because of the short summers and cold winters, the extreme altitude (more than 50% of the area is above 4,000 meters) and the increasingly serious consequences of climate change, it is difficult to cultivate the fields. Barley, mustard, millet and potatoes are grown. Vegetables only grow in exceptional conditions.

DOLPO PROJECT – AID TO SURVIVE IN HARD TIMES

In 2017 the Munich based journalist Peter Hinze ran THE GREAT HIMALAYA TRAIL in 87 days; a trail that took the ultra runner from East Nepal (Kanchenjunga) to the west of the country (Darchula) over 1864 kilometers. During the adventure Hinze also crossed the Upper Dolpo.

Out of sporting enthusiasm and sustainable responsibility for the unique region and its inhabitants, Peter Hinze founded DOLPO PROJECT in 2019, a purely private aid project with the aim of improving the living conditions of the people in Upper Dolpo. Partner and organizer of the DOLPO PROJECT is Pemma Wangchen, a young politician who is highly regarded locally, as well as the "mayor" of Namdo and environmental activist, on whose expertise the project is based and who enables close contact with the Dolpopas (s. Video below).

DOLPO PROJECT followed the wishes of the inhabitants and first financed the construction of twelve micro-greenhouses for families in need.

Pemma Wangchen: "The greenhouses have a double benefit for the people: On the one hand, the time for planting vegetables can be considerably extended or even made possible in the first place. On the other hand, the greenhouses double as common rooms and school classes in winter, because they are much warmer than stone houses or monasteries".

The most complex part is the material transport for the greenhouses from Kathmandu (approx. 40% of the total costs), which takes up to six weeks. The greenhouses can only be built during the short summer period. The construction work is mostly done by migrant workers from Lower Dolpo, because the locals are at their the summer pastures together with their herds. Often only women, children and the elderly stay in the valleys.

Pemma Wangchen, the mayor of Namdo:

Poto credit: DOLPO PROJECT / Peter Hinze

Another 10 greenhouses are planned. More information about the Upper Dolpo project and the possibility to support it can be found here:

http://www.facebook.com/dolpoproject