‘It’s Awesomely Awful!’ exclaimed Bette Chen in a blog post about Project EBC – her ‘Adventure with a Mission’, that was born from a few chance meetings of like-minded individuals in 2016. This mission, spearheaded by three other people – Mike Lowden, Fergus Flannery, and Tina Morell came at a time when Nepal was aching under the agony of its 2015 earthquake. This 7.8 magnitude earthquake – the nation’s deadliest-ever since 1934, shook it down to its core. About 9,000 people lost their lives, countless others were injured and more than 600,000 buildings in Kathmandu and other nearby towns were either damaged or destroyed. Many still haven’t fully recovered, particularly in the mountain regions where resources are limited.
Founded with a motto of ‘trekking with a mission’, Project EBC (Everest Base Camp) aims to help one family and inspire one person at a time. It was initiated to accomplish a binate mission of trekking to Everest Base Camp (at an elevation of 5,364 meters) and helping the household of Tshering Thundu (Sandu), a family of six from Khumjung village to rebuild their home.
Picture Source Projectebc
Sandu, a father of four has been working as a porter and guide for over 15 years, summiting Everest five times. An extremely hardworking person, Sandu and his family had been saving diligently for the past seven years to pay for their home, which was devastated by the earthquake. The fact that there is no government support, no EQC or house insurance in Nepal dealt a further blow to this family and several such who stood affected. The family has had to camp in the rubble ever since, facing unpleasant weather conditions with winter temperatures that can at times plummet to minus 15 degrees Celsius.
Photo source Linkedin
Through project EBC, the team aims to raise $25,000, the proceeds of which will go into rebuilding the home of the Sherpa family. Costs for materials including freight for repair of the home exceed NZD$20,000. The remaining funds will be passed on to aid the children’s schooling and any surplus will go to support the Project EBC team. The EBC team will also be working on-site in Khumjung for 2 days alongside local Nepalese tradesmen. To help to fundraise, the team has been challenging themselves both physically and mentally, putting themselves through various challenges and races such as running the Mount Cook Marathon on 23rd September 2017, through which they raised $1800. They also completed the CBD Stampede Obstacle Course on 15th October 2017, and on 17th February this year hosted a fundraiser gala dinner, raising more than $7000 in that event. The project has been sponsored by several organizations, some of which include Macpac, Trekking Adventures, and Christchurch Helicopters.
Photo source Linkedin
Bette Chen believes that those who have a Why can bear any How. Facing countless challenges with a never-back-down spirit, team EBC has come a long way in its mission. On 5th April 2018, the team successfully reached Everest Base Camp and have raised a total of $16,000 till now. The build at Khumjung continues, and so does our look out for such brazen souls. Team EBC, in every sense, are true assets to the Himalayas and we extend our sincere congratulations to them for their mighty efforts.