Inauguration Day!

After almost 5 years of planning, working, fundraising, and waiting, Inauguration Day for the brand new buildings at Kailash Home arrived bright and clear.

While every other part of our trip to Nepal was looked forward to with eager anticipation, no day was quite as heralded at this one. We were finally going to be at Kailash Home with so many friends and supporters from around the world, and most importantly, with the children!

The two newest buildings here at Kailash mark the realization of a long dream to have a space where all 100 children can gather and eat at the same time. The new kitchen has plenty of room for cooking and storage, and upstairs there’s a music room, guest space for visitors & volunteers, and a study room just for the senior students to work without the youngest children running underfoot.

Next door to the gathering hall and kitchen is the new library, computer lab, and other study hall space. The buildings are full of natural light from large windows, there are even some new bathroom facilities as well.

After a bumpy bus ride out of the city [does one ever really get used to the roads in this country?] we arrived at Kailash and were greeted by students, staff, and alumni.

The next hour passed in a flurry of reunions, introductions, and first meetings. Everywhere I turned there were children leading animated tours of campus, sponsors giving hugs and gifts, alumni greeting new arrivals. Happy chatter in at least 5 languages filled the air in the courtyard. And I wouldn’t even want to guess the total number of photos, videos, and selfies taken. 📸

Eventually everyone assembled found their seats and with the arrival of the guests of honor, the US Ambassador to Nepal, Randy Berry, and his family the official program began.

The respective heads of Himalayan Children’s Foundation (the Nepali Foundation that oversees the day to day operation of Kailash), Himalayan Youth Foundation (US & UK), and Mountaineers for the Himalayas Foundation (our Andorran partners) each spoke to the history and community of Kailash and this newly completed project.

With an official ribbon cutting and blessing from the neighboring monks, the new buildings were inaugurated and open for business!

One of the best parts of the day was watching the performances of our #KailashKids!

They shared traditional Nepali and Tibetan dances & songs along with some more contemporary numbers.

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As a dance teacher (and professional dancer) back in the States, I absolutely loved watching these children perform. It reminded me, yet again, that despite the vast distances that might separate us, we’re really not so different at all and that dance – the arts in general – are a universal expression. For millennia, cultures around the world have used dance and music to celebrate the happiest occasions.

I can’t wait to get back home and share the photos and videos with my students.

Following the entertainment portion of the program, it was time for another highlight of the day, LUNCH!

All of the moments spent with the children and other visitors were easily the very best part of the day, and I know I wasn’t the only one who came away with a custom artwork to remind me of the joy and new friends I found at Kailash.

Inauguration Day was everything we could have hoped for — a celebration of 20 years of HYF, the bright future of Kailash, and the global coalition that makes it all possible.

Many thanks to HYF UK, HCF, MFH, Ambassador Berry, and every single person who has visited, donated, sponsored, and believed in creating a brighter future for the children of Kailash. We couldn’t do this without all of you!

❤️ Simone


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