My meeting in Switzerland in 2011 – a month before I left for Nepal, where I was going to spend some holidays – marked the beginning of my commitment. In Kathmandu, I joined the students’ group led by Olivier Revaz. I discovered the Sagarmatha center, I met the great Nepali family and the children. I was very moved by the generosity of heart of Phinzo and Beena and decided to become a sponsor for one of these children. I wanted to participate, in my own way, in this adventure.
The association founded in Switzerland touched me because it is a small organisation. Everything is done with respect, transparency, generosity. Friendly bonds bind all the people who, here in Switzerland, volunteer their time for Sagarmatha.
Francis Laune founding member
The Sagarmatha home was created in 2002 to take care of children from the streets and countryside of the Kathmandu valley. Phinzo, Beena Sherpa and I quickly decided to create a place to welcome these children and provide a future for these disadvantaged children. Sagarmatha has an interesting particularity when compared to other centers for children in Nepal as we recreated a family environment as Phinzo and Beena are surrogate father and mother. They also have big brothers and sisters, uncles, aunts, etc.
What it means to me
If I look back and wonder if I would start all over again, the answer is yes. It’s such an intense and rewarding experience that is worth living. The smiles of the children more than make up for the time that we invest.
Sylvie Nahum founding member, treasurer
I joined the Nepal mission in April 2010 after having financed the building of showers and toilets for the orphanage.
It brings me lots of joy and peacefulness on a daily basis as I discover a philosophy that was quite new to me. I met an extraordinary family there that was unlike any other, with whom I now share the joys and difficulties of everyday life.
Olivier Revaz founding member
Since 2005, I have been involved in supporting this project. As head of the French department at the Geneva International School, I organized several on-site trips for the students of the Châtaigneraie Campus. I then decided to set up a charitable association in Switzerland to support the orphanage.
This is an incredible journey of sharing between the students and the Sagarmatha family. The solidarity between friends and sponsors are a constant source of reflection on our world and it motivates us in our commitment to our work in Nepal.
Nadine Barreiro International School of Geneva
I discovered the project when I accompanied the children of the Geneva International school on one of the trips organized for the students.
I have been active within the Swiss association for many years. I take care of the links between the association and the International School.
Catherine Christ Revaz
I went to Nepal for the first time in April 2012. It was a turning point for me. Meeting Phinzo, the Director, and his family and the orphanage children was fantastic. I then decided to fundraise for them and enable this home for children and teenagers to continue its work.
The richness of the relationships that we have with those on-site convinced me of the usefulness of collecting funds. Thanks to our efforts, 100% of the funds we collect go to the orphanage. It’s a useful and efficient way to help out.
I heard about Sagarmatha when I met Olivier and Catherine Revaz. I had always been interested in the lives of orphan children and so I decided to become a member of the association and to sponsor one of the young girls at the orphanage.
I was part of the April 2012 trip in which many sponsors of the association decided to go and meet the children of the orphanage. We spent several days at Sagarmatha, west of Kathmandu. I especially wanted to meet the young Nepalese girl that I sponsored.
My trip to Nepal was a voyage of discovery in this very poor but very welcoming country. Meeting the children really encouraged me to do more for them. I saw lots of joy and happiness at the orphanage, lots of kindness and affection and I was especially surprised to see the level or energy and the courage of these children and teenagers. They are aware of the chance they have had to be taken in by this association that provides them with a home, food, care and education, they work hard to put all the chances on their side and become participants in the development of their country. I am proud to be able to help them accomplish their goal.
I wanted to sponsor a child and establish a connection with her that transcended money. A childhood friend told me about an organization that sounded promising. I typed the address that she sent into my browser, read the site, and made a donation before I completed the sponsor application. A short time later, I told my friend excitedly that I’d found the ideal organization, but she didn’t grasp what I meant. I had actually contacted a different organization than the one she’d suggested! I’m not sure what happened, and consider this an online mystery, but a happy one. I found exactly what I sought.
The results of my experience
The results have been positive in several ways. I needed to find this child whom I thought about every day. I didn’t doubt that she existed, as I was sure that the organization was legitimate. I simply needed to fulfill my commitment by seeing the child and talking to her.
Our meeting was powerful…I was filled with emotion as I entered the gate in front of the house. A group of children came out to meet us! Kalpana hesitated for several minutes before she ventured forward…we were laughing and smiling…I filled my memory card with photos of the meeting! What a joy it was to arrive, after spending hours on the plane, in the country that had filled my dreams and find myself among these children.
I was so pleased to find these children living happily together, in a safe place, even though their hearts concealed terrible scars. It made me happy to witness how the children enjoyed playing with simple toy cars or blowing up balloons, without the ever-present technology that we can’t escape. I still cherish the memories of that trip, and tell my friends about it. My stories have convinced others to consider sponsoring children themselves…
I was told of the existence of the Sagarmatha home by Olivier Revaz and immediately wanted to know more. As I was passionate about the subject, my interlocutor convinced me to sponsor one of the young people from SASS. Impossible to help a young girl of 13 without first needing to meet her! So it was that the first visit allowed us, Sanju and myself, to get to know each other.
The Nepal bug has bitten and it seems not to want to leave me! How can we not take to heart, constantly, the laughing eyes of these children who welcome us with so much pleasure and joy? Every face is imprinted in our memories and everything that touches them affects us! What a lesson in life!
Our Nepalese friends do not have much to live on, materially speaking, but they give us everything! Incommensurable love, unfailing friendship, reflection on the very meaning of life … It is not for them to thank us, but for us to extend to them an immense “THANK YOU!”
From my first visit to the Sagarmatha Centre in Kathmandu in 2014, I was profoundly moved by the devotion of the Sherpa family, but also by a dozen unknown persons that contribute on a daily basis to the future of these children. Their involvement is not often directly visible, but the result is on a gigantic scale. It has the effect of giving meaning to the life of these children. It has given me such enormous pleasure to be a part of this project.
In memory of Cathy David-Raphoz
Who passed away on 24 January 2019
50 children, abandoned due to the circumstances of their life, and later taken in to become a family with a mother, father and son along with the others who run the place, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles (you, us), all driven by the same energy, wanting to bring love, support and the necessary structure for the development of the children and help them achieve the independance and self-sufficiency adulthood expects of them.
My role as aunt has evolved to become one of sponsor of young Dolma, who arrived in April 2014. Is it not a wonderful coincidence to later discover we were both born on the same day? But you know, all the children of Sagarmatha are in a way our children – an indestructible bond has been created, a bond made of love, care and concern for them.
For me, getting involved in Sagarmatha, is making a committment to what is good in life, what is grand and generous, for us and for others. This experience enables us to actively participate in slowly changing the course of life and bring a wonderful human touch, with joy and happiness to all those who participate in it. It is a joyous experience!
I can only urge you to take part in this enriching experience, as much for you as for others.