Pair on Nepal aid mission

SARAH JARVIS
Last updated 08:54 30/07/2014
timaru nepal sherpas marg colleen winnington
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ
NEPAL BOUND: Marg Stocker, left, and Colleen Winnington will spend time in a remote village in Nepal helping Sherpas improve living conditions.

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Two South Canterbury women will travel to an isolated area in Nepal to help local villagers improve their health, education and basic living conditions.

Marg Stocker and Colleen Winnington will stay among Sherpas living in the remote Damar village.

The women have previously spent time in Nepal and their work is associated with that of members and affiliates of the Geraldine Tramping Club, who raise money to fund initiatives in the country.

Stocker said Damar village is at 3000 metres altitude and is two days travel from Kathmandu.

"Unlike other areas, the villagers don't make a living from people who visit Mt Everest," she said.

Living remotely has huge health consequences, but Stocker said thanks to the generosity of South Canterbury people the area's first mobile health clinic will help alleviate some of those problems.

"It's a mobile health clinic with a difference. There's no transport, so the nurse will visit the villages on foot," she said

The clinic will service 3000 Sherpas in the village and surrounding area and operate out of four houses in four different villages.

Stocker said the mortality rate in the area was high, especially among children.

"We saw a lot of children and babies with breathing issues, scabby sores and tuberculosis."

Stocker, who has a nursing background, said the pair would be well looked after by their friend and guide Ngima Sherpa, who is originally from the area.

"At the beginning of the year Ngima's sister delivered her baby in her village and later died so he knows all too well the problems they face."

Another project that the women will help oversee is the installation of fire boxes and chimneys into village houses to reduce smoke and fumes.

To date, 15 of the American- designed fire boxes have been installed but Stocker said they are hoping to install another 485.

She said the units could be sponsored for $150 each.

"We will take photos of the family with their new fires and bring the photos back to the sponsors."

Stocker will leave at the end of next month for Nepal and she will be joined by Winnington in October for three weeks.

Donations can be made at SBS Bank. Account number 0313 55 075 6012 01 (Please include a name as a reference).

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- The Timaru Herald

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