How are the children who are cared for at the Sagarmatha home chosen ?
The Sherpa family that manages the home gives priority to children who have lost a mother or father. But children from large or very impoverished families are also taken in.
Can families change their mind and collect the child who has been placed in care?
Yes. Even though all the children come from families that are in a precarious financial position and that can’t provide the child schooling, they’re always free to come for the child. This has happened in rare cases.
Can children at the Sagarmatha home stay in contact with their families?
Yes, in most cases, families collect the child once a year – during the Dashain Festival – so he or she can spend time with family members.
What’s the goal of the trips organized for Swiss students?
The purpose of the trips organized for youth living in Switzerland is both educational (to raise awareness about humanitarian challenges) and to raise funds.
Is the cost of these trips covered at the expense of funding for the Sagarmatha home?
No, we make nothing from these organized trips. We aren’t a travel agency; we’re all volunteers. Visitors pay the costs of their own stay (plane fare, accommodation, food).
Does your association have salaried staff?
No, we’re all volunteers. Counting committee members, approximately twenty people give ad hoc or regular help to our association each year.
Who can visit the Sagarmatha home?
Visits generally occur once or twice a year. The International School of Geneva makes trips, committee members visit and anyone who wants to can visit the home with the consent of the Sherpa family. Visitor interaction is limited to games, entertainment and outings with the children or to medical visits (by professionals).
What are these visits for?
We collect funds for this project, so it’s entirely appropriate that members of our committee, godparents and/or groups of young people are able to visit the project regularly. This allows us to see what environment the children we support are growing up in.
How is the home managed?
The Sagarmatha home (SASS) is managed by the Sherpa family, supported by a Nepalese committee (Board). The home is under the responsibility of the Nepal Ministry for Social Affairs. The home’s staff is exclusively Nepalese.
Do you feel the need to intervene in the home’s daily management?
No, we feel that the Sherpa family has the expertise to manage the children day-to-day and that this is their responsibility. However, we do take part in making certain important decisions such as, for example, the need to take in girls and boys.
Wouldn’t it be better to help the families beforehand rather than support a home like SASS?
Ideally, it would be preferable to help the families of these children meet their needs so the child isn’t separated from his or her family. But a rural development or income generating project is neither our goal nor within our expertise. In the absence of alternatives, we feel that our support for the Sagarmatha home is entirely appropriate.