Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nepal: School meals girl conquers Everest

Source: World Food Programme

It was a long route to the top of Everest for Nim Doma Sherpa, but she reckons it started when her parents sent her to school simply to get the free lunches supplied by WFP. Nim Doma finally achieved her dream of climbing the highest mountain in the world in 2008.

KATHMANDU -- On May 22, 2008, Nim Doma Sherpa became the first recipient of WFP school meals to reach the top of Mt. Everest.

Born in a remote village on the foothills of the Himalayas, 20-year-old Nim Doma credits WFP’s school feeding programme for igniting her interest in education.

“At first, my parents sent me to school so that I could eat lunch, but gradually I became interested in learning,” said Nim Doma. “WFP’s school meal programme encouraged me to focus on my studies and helped me to grow strong in mind and body.”

“I am very much thankful to WFP because it opened the door of educational opportunities for me and helped me to pursue my dream of climbing Everest.”

Mountaineering history

At the age of 17, Nim Doma was the youngest member of the “First Inclusive Women’s Sagarmatha Expedition” (FIWSE) – the WFP-supported expedition that made mountaineering history after all ten female Nepali members reached the highest point on earth.

Today, Nim Doma continues to break new ground. She is the first person in her family of seven to receive a high school diploma and is still continuing her higher education.

Nim Doma along with her teammates are also telling the story of the historic achievement at schools across Nepal, reaching out to thousands of students in the hopes of inspiring them to pursue their studies and dream big.

Many of the students she meets live in very remote villages where poverty, hunger and discrimination against girls are a part of daily life.

Nim Doma talks to children about the importance of education, her journey to Everest, the obstacles she had to overcome and the effort she had to put in to reach the summit.

"Follow your dream"

“I give the message that if you follow your dream with dedication and hard work, you will be successful in whatever path you choose. Our objective is to instill confidence among young students," said Nim Doma.

“Through my own experiences, I have learned that education and hard work can take you places. I hope our story will inspire girls to continue their studies and to believe that nothing is impossible to achieve.”

"Compared to men, women have poor status in our society. There is a huge gap between men and women in terms of education, health, participation in decision making and policy making issues. I believe educating children is the first step towards bridging that gap,” said Nim Doma, who apart from being a mountaineer aspires to be a social worker in the future.

Nim Doma along with her colleagues have formed Everest Women Seven Summits Eco-Action team with an ambitious goal of climbing all the highest peaks in seven continents.

The team has already scaled Mt. Kosciuszko the highest peak of Australia and Mt. Elbrus in Russia - the highest peak in Europe. In 2012, Nim Doma and her team are planning to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro - the highest mountain in in Africa.