National Geographic News
A Bon monk of Lubra holds his Mala during a skull cup ritual used to divine the future of the coming year.

In one of the photos for sale to help the Sherpa community, a Buddhist monk holds a mala (prayer beads).


Published April 24, 2014

The deaths of 16 Sherpas in the April 18 avalanche on Mount Everest have spurred an outpouring of sympathy, particularly in the climbing community. Many people are looking for ways to help.

These five nonprofit campaigns assist Sherpa communities in Nepal. Some are raising money directly for victims of the recent tragedy:

1. The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation

Individual donors can help this foundation, which has been teaching Sherpas mountaineering skills since 2003, by purchasing photos of the Everest region and its people donated by professional photographers, including National Geographic's Aaron Huey. (To see and purchase photos, click here.) All of the proceeds will go to the Sherpa community.

2. International Avalanche Nest Egg Foundation

This nonprofit will match donations (up to $1,000) to the Himalayan Trust to provide scholarships to children impacted by the tragedy.

3. The Juniper Fund

This fund, started by mountain guides Dave Morton and Melissa Arnot, "provides assistance to individuals, families and communities in underserved countries adversely impacted by their work for the mountain-based adventure industry," the fund's website says.

4. The Sherpa Support Fund

The American Alpine Club created this fund in the wake of the avalanche specifically to help victims. The website says "the AAC is working to identify the necessary partners and guidelines to most efficiently and effectively distribute these generous gifts."

5. Sherpa Education Fund

This fund finances education for Sherpa students in the Khumbu region near Mount Everest.

Ningma Sherpa
Ningma Sherpa

I think donor must donated directly  to family. otherwise whole world know how Nepal authorities treat us even they collected billions of dollars from our contribution. So please I know very well, I hope it will go to right families and will help them.

Aaron Ferber
Aaron Ferber

In the wake of this terrible tragedy it is important to remember, it is the people who make adventure travel in this region possible. After having just returned from the Khumbu valley and a trek to Mt. Everest myself, I was able to see first hand how hardworking, kind, knowledgable, and friendly the people of Nepal are - specifically the Sherpas, Guides & Porters. It is appalling how terribly the government of Nepal treats the very people which keep them financially stable. 

This was the deadliest accident in Everest history. It is important to give thanks, respect, and support to the individuals and their families who make it possible to even set foot in this majestic place. Their families deserve better than $40 and an insulting pat on the back from the government of Nepal. 

It's true. This place is dangerous... There are constant threats of avalanche and altitude sickness, among other very deadly scenarios. Sherpas in this region do this work to support their families, to make a somewhat decent wage, to better their community - and they are no doubt under paid and over worked. Their lives are in constant peril, and they are continuously exploited by a disrespectful government. I don't pretend to comprehend what they go through on a daily basis, all for a few bucks. But you can see it in their eyes - aside from the need to support their families, it is clear that they love to be outdoors, they love to bask in the shadows of this beautiful place, to climb mountains, to experience nature in the most grand, most breathtaking, most monumental place in the world; they are infatuated with the enigmatic giant known as Mount Everest. They love the adventure as much as you and I. They respect this place and cherish it's magical qualities, they have the same feeling as I did every time they reach base camp or the summit the tallest point on earth...  Ultimately, climbers will climb because, as Sir Edmund Hillary said "It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." 

Please do what you can to support - please help remember those who were lost on this tragic day and please help support their families. 

Sean Nolan
Sean Nolan

Expedition organizers  could take a cut in their massive profits to give them a decent standard of living. after all, the sherpas are the ones that keep the mountain climbable !

Rose Lee
Rose Lee

The American Himalayan Foundation is related to the Himalayan Trust and has an excellent rating from Charity Navigator. The plight of the Sherpa community in Nepal is horrendous. The pittance they earn compared to the $100K charged by the guide services is evil. There should be economic development for the region. The Sherpa people do not benefit from millions of dollars spent there. There is plenty of opportunity for tourism that does not put lives in danger. None of the Sherpa people interviewed on NPR yesterday wanted to be guides. They did it so that their children could be educated and not be forced to be guides. I have no respect for Everest climbers. They do it on the backs of exploited people

Ningma Sherpa
Ningma Sherpa

@Sean Nolan government has to be responsible because the colleting billions of dollars from our contributions. but they doing nothing that's way Nepali people always poor.

Ningma Sherpa
Ningma Sherpa

@Rose Lee yes I am agree with you. example from my village rolwaling valley almost every villager working as a climbing Sherpa and trekking guide, 

as a working this line its very fun, love it and we like it. May be beside this we don't have other choice may be lack of  opportunity, education and job. no education system like we have primary school in village but no teacher, don't talk about healthcare and doctor ect.  we need tourist and we need foreign climbers to earn for support our family and daily life.    

Seif Patwa
Seif Patwa

@Rose Lee  i agree the company which bring rich clients  and pays pittance to Sherpas are also to  be blamed for Sherpas predicament ...these foreign own companies hide by saying they have paid climbing fees to Nepal  Goverment  and therefore its the Goverments responsibility ...thats codswallop.....  they must pay much higher to Sherpas ....without  the Sherpas they will not make any profits  and never get anywhere  near the summit  of Everest .

Loann Le
Loann Le

@Ningma Sherpa @Sean NolanI wish I could donate to the families directly, particularly Ang Kaji Sherpa's family-he left behind 6 kids. I saw a recent video where they were in need of rent money and other expenses. I'm a little skittish about donating $$$ through various organizations.


@Ningma Sherpa @Rose Lee Ningma, have you and the sherpas thought about forming a union to help protect the rights of the sherpas?  And as other sherpas have suggested, could avalanche prevention barriers be set-up to help?

God and Buddha bless you all.  Many prayers for your safety in your dangerous livelihood. 

Ningma Sherpa
Ningma Sherpa

@Seif Patwa Nepal government should play big roll to protect us they should be responsible for it. because they collecting billions of dollars from our contribution.


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