Through the years, people who have shared Sir Edmund’s vision in establishing the original Himalayan Trust NZ (now called The Hillary Himalayan Trust) , have set up “sister” organisations in their own countries.
These sister organisations either give an annual grant to The Hillary Himalayan Trust, or support particular projects directly.
The Himalayan Trust UK is the sister organisation in the United Kingdom. It came about as a result of Graham Wrigley, now our Deputy Chairman, who had raised money on a regular basis for some while. Sir Edmund put him in touch with his fellow New Zealand climbing companion, George Lowe, who was living in the UK, with a view to formalising this fund raising effort. In 1989, George Lowe, Graham’s father Ian Wrigley and friends started The Himalayan Trust UK. George Lowe was the founding Chairman, followed by George Band a decade later.
The Himalayan Trust UK has supported both The Hillary Himalayan Trust as well as funded separate programmes. It started with training teachers in Solukhumbu and in the last six years has been working in the foothills of Kangchenjunga.
The USA gives annual grants. The Canadians, support Khunde Hospital and clinics and a 25-year forestry programme. The German Stiftung supports Phaphlu Hospital in Solukhumbu. And the Australians mainly support a Teacher Training Programme that works in over 200 schools.
Currently, in Solukhumbu, there are 267 schools where we support teaching training – some 1,500 teachers and 47,300 pupils. All the Trusts/Foundations work in 5-year contracts with the Nepal Government and with NGOs in Nepal. Sir Edmund set up a Nepal Advisory Committee for Solukhumbu to receive petitions; this is now the Nepal Himalayan Trust (an official NGO).
Education is a major focus of the Trusts/Foundations, covering the training of serving teachers working with REED, resources for classrooms, maintenance, boarding scholarships, adult literacy/education, scholarships for 16-19 year olds and higher education in academic and vocational areas needed in Nepal. In 2011, the 50th Anniversary of Khumjung School with nearly 400 day and boarding pupils was celebrated with alumni and friends from around the world attending the four-day celebrations.