In the lower Everest region, an average of one person per household works in the trekking industry – often in positions that can be dangerous but that provide good financial prospects for families – and many children leave school early in order to begin working to support their families.
In a bid to offer a compelling reason for the local children to stay in school and finish their studies, Phaplu Mountain Bike Club has built a pump track training facility. The entirely community-led initiative wants to give young people a safe, inclusive space to have fun, as well as train. They hope that it will slowly create a new mountain biking livelihood in the region which will provide alternative career prospects, whether that’s as mountain biking athletes competing nationally and internationally or helping them to become mountain biking guides.
In spring 2022, Joro made a donation to Phaplu to contribute towards their equipment, and we’re thrilled to see that they have purchased a new bike which is already being put to good use by the children. We’ve seen for ourselves how perfect the region is for mountain biking, and have organised multiple trips for clients to explore these dramatic landscapes on two wheels, working with our close friends – and fellow supporters of Phaplu Mountain Bike Club – the team at Happy House. Frequented by Sir Edmund Hillary, Happy House is a serene mountain abode near the village of Phaplu that makes the perfect base for exploring the Himalayas on foot or by bike.
Talking of the future of the organisation, Phaplu said: “We also hope to make the pump track training part of the local school’s sports curriculum, and use the track as a community centre to run other creative programs like arts and music. This vision is that impact is not directly related to one single action, but the combination of interventions from different stakeholders, each doing their part.”