Derry men hoping to ‘change a life’ through epic Nepal charity trek

Local men Gareth Moore and Hank Henry are planning a charity trek to Nepal to raise money for educational resources for Nepalese children. DER2418GS064
Local men Gareth Moore and Hank Henry are planning a charity trek to Nepal to raise money for educational resources for Nepalese children. DER2418GS064

Two Derry men are preparing to undertake an epic trek to help raise funds towards a new educational facility for some of Nepal’s poorest children.

Computershare employees Gareth Moore (32) and Hank Henry (48) are gearing up to join an international team of colleagues for an ascent up through the Himalayas from November 20 to December 2.

'Poon hill morning' in Nepal by Prakat Shrestha

'Poon hill morning' in Nepal by Prakat Shrestha

The Trek Nepal 2018 initiative is a partnership between Computershare’s Change A Life charity initiative and World Youth International (WYI), with every penny of the £8,000 the duo are hoping to raise between them going towards the construction of a new live-in educational campus hostel for 50 young students through their Justgiving fundraising page and a series of charity initiatives.

The WYI facility they are raising money for will safeguard access to education for these schoolchildren in a country where over a third of children are engaged in child labour, and one in two girls aged 15 or older are literate.

Speaking at Computershare’s offices on Branch Road, Gareth and Hank said they were keen to do their part to help young people get a chance in life. Gareth said: “There’s around 30 people going from across Europe. We have a target of £8,000 between us and the overall group has a target of £135,000. The aim is to use the funding to construct an educational hostel to allow Year 11 and 12 pupils to live on campus. Nepal is a very mountainous region and you have got monsoons and landslides so often a big barrier to education is the ability to actually get to the place to get educated. The goal here is to set up dormitory hostels so they can live on campus and make sure they can still attend school.”

Over a quarter of people in Nepal live below the poverty line, and many already impoverished societies are still dealing with the aftermath of the 2015 Earthquake and last year’s devastating monsoon flooding, which displaced thousands of families.

Around 40 per cent of children in Nepal are unregistered and human trafficking, including sex trafficking, is a growing issue, with reports that some people are actually seeking out the traffickers because they are in such desperate straits.

“It has been said many times, but education is the greatest tool to bring people out of poverty, to give people a chance,” Gareth said.

Both Gareth and Hank have personal and professional ties to education and learning, and said that the trek had sparked their interest as a result.

Gareth said: “For me personally I have always had a passion for promoting education as a means of promoting social prosperity. Given the severe poverty within Nepal, it’s very clear that the only means through which children can have a decent life is through a decent education.”

Hank added: “There was two things that triggered it for me- the fact that it is linked to education and I have a daughter going through University at the minute. It’s all the opportunities and experiences here, and then you look at these kids not even able to get a basic education. The other thing for me is I am going to be 50 next year and I had been thinking to do an event for charity to mark that, and with the timing of this, I just thought this is an opportunity to tie everything together.”

While neither have ever undertaken anything of this magnitude before, both said they are looking forward to the challenge ahead, which will see them set off from Kathmandu on a 10 day straight hike up the 3,210 metres high Ghorepani Poon Hill mountain, located close to the epicentre of the 2015 earthquake.

The men said the fact that Computershare were covering the costs of their flights and accommodation meant that all money raised here will go directly towards the charity project. Both men will also receive their work pay while on the trek. “That means 100 per cent we raise goes to the charity,” Hank said, “so it’s a big commitment from the company.”

“We have had a lot of support from colleagues and people outside of here, and we have an walk up Mount Errigal on July 14 and we are asking people to raise between £50 and £100 each. We have got in the region of 45 people so far and Computershare is going to pay for transport down and up,” Gareth added.

The duo are hopeful local businesses and organisations will come onboard with backing or donations for raffle prizes for forthcoming fundraisers. If any local business can help, or if anybody is interested in joining the trek up Mount Errigal on July 14, they can contact Gareth on 07711792031 or e-mail gareth.moore@aegistheunion.co.uk

Local people can also donate via the Justgiving Page at www.gofundme.com/trek4nepal