Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) today announced a grand relief program to COVID-19 affected mountaineers and leprosy affected people.
Minister for Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation honorable Prem Ale digitally launched the project by clicking on the banner of project implementation office amid a function organized at Kathmandu.
NMA is distributing relief packages to three thousand (3000) COVID-19 affected mountaineers with the financial support from THE NIPPON FOUNDATION of Japan.
President of the Foundation Mr. Yohei Sasakawa said that the project would be helpful in fighting against coronavirus. ‘‘Nepal and Japan have good friendship. I have also visited Nepal in various occasions to lead the leprosy eradication movement,’’ said President Mr. Sasakawa in a video message, ‘‘I hope our help would come handy in fighting against coronavirus.’’
From the Foundation Senior Director Mr. Seko Masato, and other delegates had also joined the program virtually through Zoom.
Having $201,600 in budget, the project will run three major activities to help COVID affected mountaineers survive the pandemic.
Relief distribution program is one of the major activities under this project. According to NMA President Mr. Santa Bir Lama, 15,000 people from mountaineering areas will be directly benefited from the project.
‘‘Mountaineers are one of the most affected groups of people from the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to eke out for daily meals as COVID-19 stole our job’’, said President Lama. ‘‘Many mountaineers are still facing an economic crisis. So, we are trying to help them with the financial support from the NIPPON Foundation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank respected president of the foundation Yohei Sasakawa and all the foundation family for accepting our proposal.’’
NMA will distribute warm clothes to 200 leprosy affected people sheltered at Khokana leprosy camp. NMA will also be helping isolation centers with oxygen cylinders and health essentials like Hand Sanitizers, Masks, and Hand Soaps.
Honorable Minister Ale also hailed the project as a crucial support to Nepal´s tourism sector to help COVID affected mountaineers.
‘‘We know the Nepali tourism sector was hit hardest by the pandemic. Almost all the mountaineers lost their jobs and were stranded between hand to mouth problems,’’ Minister Ale said, ‘‘the impact of the virus is still visible in Nepal's tourism industry. I would like to thank Mr. Sasakawa, president of the foundation and the entire foundation family for supporting Nepali mountaineers. I would also like to thank NMA for initiating this program.’’
NMA has over 11,000 registered mountaineers. NMA will start a survey on the impact of the Covid-19 on mountaineers to find out the real needy one.
According to NMA General Secretary Kul Bahadur Gurung, the survey research will start soon. ‘‘We are pushing it fast. Survey questionnaires are almost ready’’, he said. "Our surveyor and enumerator will start the survey from next week. If all the things go as planned, we will be starting to distribute the relief packages from the 1st week of January 2022.’’
NMA Secretary Mr. Tikaram Gurung requested all the mountaineers to be involved in the survey. ‘‘NMA is trying to be very fair and transparent while running this project. We are seriously trying to find the needy for the relief packages,’’ said Secretary Gurung. ‘‘For this, I would also like to request all the mountaineers to be involved in this survey.’’
Heads of the other tourism umbrella organizations, board members and advisors of NMA were present at the program.