Karma Project: A Synopsis

The Karma Project is a non-profit organization that creates locally owned sustainable tourism companies to provide employment, education, medical services, and job training to people living in remote Himalayan villages.
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Many mountain communities cannot afford to send their children to school, or to transport loved-ones to distant medical clinics. Money from tourism can make these services affordable.

Two kids

This project currently has four objectives:

1. Provide medical scholarships for villagers to work as community doctors.

People living in Sibuje Village, located in the eastern Everest Region of Nepal, have no access to medical services.  As a result, common medical problems such as bacterial infections and complications of childbirth cause the death of many villagers.  Karma Project provides scholarships for Sibuje residents to study medicine in Kathmandu and then return to the village to provide services.

2. Reduce deforestation, landslides, and respiratory problems

In rural Nepal wood is the main source of fuel for cooking and heating below 14,000 ft.  This has resulted in deforestation along hillsides adjacent to settlements.  In Sibuje Village, the lack of trees along slopes has resulted in landslides that have killed local people, and the burning of wood in homes is contributing to respiratory ailments.  Additionally, as trees are more scarce villagers must travel further from home to find wood.  In Sibuje, it can take as long as four hours a day to collect wood from the closest grove of trees, which has resulted in a loss of agricultural productivity.  At the request of the Sibuje Village Council, Karma Project is raising funds to route electric cable from an existing hydroelectric dam to Sibuje so villagers will be able to use electric stoves for cooking and have electric heat.  Electricity will also allow villagers to have light so children can study for school during the winter months.

3. Provide training, equipment, and support to locally owned businesses

In 2013 Glen Young, a mountain guide from the United States, helped Sibuje resident Karma Geljen Sherpa build his own tourism business.  Through the business Karma is able to employ local people as porters, cooks, and guides in the surrounding area.  Glen also helped Karma develop a home-stay program so tourists can come to Sibuje and contribute to the local economy directly without the need for Sibuje residents to travel far from home.  This has been especially beneficial for women who previously had little access to the monetary economy.  Karma Project supports Karma’s business by helping him develop environmentally sound practices, giving him access to client pools in the United States, providing mountain guide training, and donating clothing and equipment so staff are prepared to work in a mountain environment.  The business also provides money for a project fund that is used to pay for needed infrastructure in the village.

4. Promote supporting companies and organizations.

The mission of the Karma Project is carried by hundreds of leaders around the world who want to provide economic opportunities that benefit local people and fight the causes of poverty.  By promoting socially responsible and environmentally sustainable companies and organizations, Karma Project hopes to give back to a community of people who are creating a better world.

Completed Phases

 Create a locally owned tourism company.

Glen Young, a mountain guide from the United States, helped Karma Geljen Sherpa create and register Nepal Alpine Guides in the winter of 2013.

✓ Partner with international tour companies to provide employment to Sibuje villagers.

Karma Project has partnered with KAF Adventures, Crooked Trails, Yexplore Global Adventures, Miyar Adventures, and Nepal Alpine Guides to bring tourists to Nepal in order to provide employment for Sibuje residents.  Many of the trips offered include a homestay in Sibuje Village, which directly benefits those who are not able to leave to find employment.

 Start a scholarship fund for students in Sibuje

Karma Project has donated thousands of dollars toward school scholarships, language training, and job training to Sibuje residents.  Sibuje residents must walk six to eight hours round-trip to attend school in Karikhola.  Because of the distance, villagers must pay for their room and board to stay in Karikhola while attending school.  Karma Project is helping families afford this expense.