In the Spring of 2003, Mary Morrell and Denise Prior, then members of a Medical Expedition (MedEx) to Nepal, impressed by the porters who looked after them, chose to visit the Porters’ Progress Nepal clothing bank in Lukla. They decided that the best way to help support it and raise awareness among trekkers and mountaineers, would be to hold a fund raising lecture in London.
That autumn, Doug Scott CBE joined Ben Ayers, the young American founder of Porters’ Progress in Nepal (PPN) and the USA, were on the stage at the RGS-IBG. The event proved such success that another was planned for 2004. The enigmatic Andy Kirkpatrick was the next speaker in what was to become a series of the most exciting young contemporary climbers.
It was obvious that a charity would have to be formed if the work was to continue. Ben Ayers introduced other UK based friends of PPN, and they joined the original fund raisers to become trustees, and PPUK was born and the charity was registered in 2005.
How we spend our money (in brief)
We provide support to two clothing banks in Nepal and one in Tanzania. The Himalayan Club manages our clothing bank in Lukla. The clothing bank provides a free service to loan sleeping bags, jackets, boots and sunglasses to hundreds of porters each season. Kit wears out due to the harsh environment in which porters work, therefore if sufficient kit is not donated, we purchase additional or replacement kit as required. We always strive to purchase any new kit needed from stockists and manufacturers in Nepal.
PPUK also provides funds to cover the running and staff costs of the Lukla clothing bank which is managed by a dedicated Nepali member of staff.
Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (http://www.keepnepal.org), a non profit making NGO, runs a clothing bank for porters in Kathmandu. PPUK assisted in establishing the clothing bank with financial and clothing support and continue to make regular grants.
We sponsor English language lessons and First Aid and Safety Training courses for porters. These courses are run by the Himalaya Club in Lukla. Porter education is equally as important as provision of clothing as porters can be uninformed on mountain safety, hygiene, environmental issues and their legal rights. Knowledge of English can assist porters to progress to guides and enable them to communicate with trekkers on expedition.
Nepal Diploma in Mountain Medicine
We have made a 3 year commitment to assist funding of a Nepalese Diploma in Mountain Medicine. This Not for Profit course will train Nepali doctors at a minimum cost alongside international doctors and is tailored to the needs of medics in Nepal. It will include sessions to promote porters health and safety, public health and working at high altitude clinics. For more information please visit Nepal Diploma of Mountain Medicine
We fund medical research projects to help raise awareness of medical issues relating to mountain porters and focus our ongoing activities. Our latest research project, carried out with Medical Expeditions / Medex, looked a porter mortality and morbidity in remote trekking areas in Nepal.