First Steps Himalaya (FSH) is a charity providing early years education for rural Nepali children through early childhood and school support projects. It transforms dilapidated, run down classrooms into stimulating learning environments, run by enthusiastic teachers. The organisation trains and supports teachers while working with schools to ensure improved educational outcomes.
FSH was set up in 2008, by Scottish/Nepali couple, Fionna Heiton and Durga Aran who wanted to make a difference for Nepali children. Durga, as a child, experienced Nepal’s deprivation and lack of access to quality education. After seeing how children have such a good start in Western countries, Durga wanted to ensure that Nepali children could receive the same start in life. Together, Fionna and Durga created a Nepali run organisation that gives children their first steps to a life of education.
Durga now returns to Nepal each year to oversee the charity’s projects, and run unique yoga adventure holidays. These tours allow participants to experience the real Nepal, whilst deepening their yoga practice and seeing first-hand the charity’s work. International yoga teachers volunteer their services to co-lead the tours, which provide vital funds to support the organisation’s work.
Since its inception, FSH has expanded its programme significantly. Hundreds of children in over 20 communities now benefit from learning in classrooms that were once bare and dirty and are now furnished and painted. The smiles on the children’s faces say it all.
In 2015, First Steps Himalaya is building an earth-bag teacher training centre, which will allow them to train hundreds of teachers in child-friendly methods. The charity is supported by project sponsors from around the world where as little as £20 a month makes a substantial difference to communities in Nepal.