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Mr. Pasang Sherpa

Mr. Pasang Sherpa is an inspirational leader, who believes in the power of education. He is a man with humble beginnings, who grew up in a village of 20- 30 households in Makalu, Sankhuwasabha. As he reminisces his school days, his eyes twinkle fondly remembering a time when he was a young boy, hungry for knowledge.

He shares, it was a different era when he had to walk 6-7 days from his village to reach the nearest government school. His grandparents had never seen a school and he was the first generation to have the opportunity to learn.

He remembers, “We were lucky enough to hire a private teacher who had passed 8 th grade, to teach a small group of friends. We made a small shed to study with a group of friends, and there started my literary journey, sitting in rocks to study ka, kha ga, gha (the alphabets). Over time we finally made a small school structure to study, and the Government of Nepal through the Village Panchayat gave us one teacher. This was a big win for us.”
As a young boy of 13, his first job was in the tourism sector as a porter. While he worked as a porter, he also came to Kathmandu. On one of his trips to the Langtang as a youngest member of the group, he had severe altitude sickness. During that time the camera itself was of 16 kg which he had to carry. The nurse in the group gave him medicine and also felt he should have the opportunity to study more and get more training rather than stay as a porter hence they encouraged him to come to their country. Mr. Sherpa went to Belgium to study. It was while he was here that one day; he had the opportunity to meet HRH former King Birendra, and Queen Aishwarya, as the only Nepali in Belgium at the time (1980).

Mr. Pasang had the opportunity to go to Belgium and learn carpentry and other technical skills, but unlike many of his time who would have preferred to live on in Belgium and establish his life there, he came back to Nepal. As he started doing social work, he was particularly motivated to bring quality education back to his district of Sankhuwasabha and his village.

Mr. Sherpa went to Belgium to study. It was while he was here that one day, he had the opportunity to meet HRH former King Birendra, and Queen Aishwarya, as the only Nepali in Belgium at the time.

“I grew up in a time where the barter system still existed- to study beyond Grade 4, I had to walk 4-5 days and needed shelter while studying. Hence, my education stopped at a young age, but I don’t want history to repeat and exclude my amazing community of the possibilities of growth and learning.”
It was when he was working with Belgian visitors that the culmination of Cunina Nepal happened; Dr. Louis met Mr. Pasang Sherpa and began to connect all those who wanted to help Nepali communities.After Dr. Louis was connected to Mr. Sherpa, they began to provide all the necessary stationary and educational kits for students. Cunina Nepal became a popular non-profit for Belgian and Dutch travelers to give back to Nepal. In 1997, Dr. Louis Germeys introduced Mrs. Sophie Vangheel to Pasang Sherpa. Cunina Nepal began working in 1997 starting by providing food and lodging support to 12 studnets. To further enhance the quality education, Cunina Nepal has now established their own schools which has over 500 students in Cunina Boarding school and over 400 students in Arun Valley school as well. Annually over 1500 students receive sponsorship from Nursery till Grade 12.
“Because I did not get access to quality education, my main motivation of establishing Cunina Nepal was to ensure acess to quality to education for upcoming generations who live in remote and mountainous areas.”
It is incredible that he had the foresight to come back to Nepal instead of settling in Belgium, and till date continues to give back to his home community with the gift of education and exposure.