Help us meet our goal of raising $50,000

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Change of Slideshow Date & Show Kelly Cordes Presents Climbs in Patagonia/Pakistan

We're changing the date of the slide show to Sunday, February 11, at 6:30 at the Estes Park Mountain Shop. And instead of me presenting a show on climbing in Pakistan, Kelly Cordes will be presenting his slides on his recent monumental ascent in Patagonia as well as a few slides on climbing in Pakistan. I'll be focusing on the main reason we're having this slide show--Girls Education International.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Update on the Slideshow (Now February 11)

I spent the last few days getting products to raffle for the slide show. So far I've got products from Montbell, Patagonia, Trango, Rock & Ice magazine, Statik Mountain, the Estes Park Mountain Shop (where the slide show is being held), as well as some local places, including Glassworks (they donated a gorgeous $150 pitcher), some nature photographs from Dick Orleans, soap products from Pangea Organics, wine from Rambo's Liquor Store, a gift certificate to Nepals (a Nepali restaurant in Estes Park), a book and posters of Longs Peak from the Longs Peak Coffee Shop and Paper Store, a gift certificate from the Wild Basin Lodge (in Allenspark, CO), and other stuff from a few other places in town. We're also planning on having beer from the Estes Park Brewery, which will be served starting at 6:30, and we've got a professional musician playing jazz and ragtime.
I'm also working on getting a good friend of mine who was in Pakistan this summer to make a guest appearance with some of his slides. We'll see if I can convince him.

Girls' School in the Village Khane, Baltistan, Pakistan

As I wrote in the previous post, since the website isn't up yet, I'm going to include a few posts that detail more about the GEI projects that we are currently working on.

Heidi and I went on a climbing expedition to Pakistan in 2006. We spent 10 days in the village Khane in the Hushe Valley. We spent a significant amount of time with the villagers, visiting the girls’ and boys’ schools in the village and discovering that the girls’ school was in deplorable condition.

The small building was in general disrepair and is about half the sizes of the boy’s school, despite the fact that there are equal numbers of girls in the village. Surrounding the boys’ school is a concrete wall with glass shards on top that keep vandals out. The girls’ school has no such wall, and subsequently villagers frequently hop the fence to go to the bathroom in the schoolyard. Heidi and I found piles of feces littered around the yard. The boys’ school also has an extensive garden, while the girls’ school has some dilapidated plots with a few scraggly flowers growing.

Although the overall condition of the school building was extremely poor, the school supplies were worse off. All books were ripped and stained and had obviously been used over and over again for years. Some of the pages were so ruined that girls had to share materials. Additionally, many of the poorer students would not have pencils or paper were it not for the generosity of some of the “wealthier” villagers. Finally, according to the villagers, the government won’t pay for a teacher for the girls’ school and subsequently the village pays a paltry sum to one poorly educated teenager who works with the girls. “She is like a baby sitter,” said one village mother, Zulie.

After being raised in a society that provides free education and supplies to all children, Heidi and I were shocked at the lack of qualified staff and materials for the girls in the village. It’s difficult to describe the glaring differences between what Americans have access to versus what the children in the Northern Areas of Pakistan have access to. Only in early 2006 did Khane get electricity; most homes don’t have furniture; most don’t have ovens or stoves, and the women cook over open fires, utilizing yak dung for fuel; few homes have plumbing; running water has only recently been introduced to the village; and, of course, few villages have access to medical services. The children have no playgrounds to speak of, no access to computers, and no access to books other than their outdated and ruined schoolbooks. They don’t even have toys! The poorest child in America has stuffed animals, games, and other things to play with, while these Pakistanis have nothing except a few marbles and balls.

On the other hand, the children in Khane have something that American children often don’t have. They have a tight-knit community, where the children all watch out for each other. When one baby cries, she is passed around from child to child; girls as young as five will carry around a one-year-old and rock her until she stops crying. And, best of all, these children are generally happy; they smile often and the sounds of their laughter and chattering can be heard constantly throughout the day.

More Info on GEI

Well, since the website isn't up yet, I'm going to include a few posts that detail more about the GEI projects that we are currently working on. The first is educating two Nepali girls.

Educating Nisa and Sonam Lama, two Nepali sisters.
Heidi and I went on an expedition to India in 2004. We befriended our cook, Jamling Lama, who has two daughters: 10-year-old Nisa and 9-year-old Sonam. The girls lived in a remote village in Nepal that had no schools. Likely, they would have been married off at a young age and never received an education, and so I offered to pay for a mid-range school in Kathmandu. Now Jamling, Nisa, and Sonam, and Jamling’s sister all live in a one-bedroom apartment in Kathmandu. Nisa and Sonam attend school. In 2003 and 2004 I paid for the girls; in 2005, Heidi and I organized a fundraiser that paid the $200 fee for the school; and in 2006, my father, John Scully, and Diana Laughlin helped me pay the $200 fee. I'd like to pay for the children all the way through college, which will require more funding that what I will be able to provide. Incorporating this project into GEI will hopefully ensure that these girls get that opportunity.

The photos are of 9-year-old Sonam, and Heidi with Sonam, Nisa, and their father, Jamling, and Jamling's sister (I'm sorry I don't know her name). They are in their one-room apartment in Kathmandu.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Article on Helping African Children

This is a really nice article about how superstars, specifically India Arie, help children around the world. Arie is a UNICEF ambassador. She travels around Africa meeting children, raises awareness by talking about and writing songs on the subject, and she donates money. In the articles she says, “The children were really the most profound part of my trip. There were so many. When I came back I would close my eyes and all I could see were the children looking at me.”

Thursday, January 04, 2007

JPEG of the Home Page!

For folks who are following our progress, here is the layout for the home page, minus the photographs I am looking for.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Finally, the home page for the website is designed. I still need a few new photos of young girls to add to the mix, preferably not photos of Pakistani girls, as I have plenty of those already. I'll put a notice up as soon as the website is activated. We still have a bit of work to do on it, but we're finally making progress.