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Aussie Collaboration At The Top Of The World Helps Build #Sherpafit

May 31, 2017 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

A unique Australian collaboration is helping Nepalese Sherpa people to improve basic health and hygiene in their community.

Nepalese Sherpas who act as guides for adventurers and tourists wanting to climb the Himalayas also regularly miss out on income because of avoidable illness for the same reason.

The lack of awareness also has an impact on the broader community, including Sherpa families. According to the Nepal Centre for Environmental Action and Development, one-third of child deaths in Nepal are directly due to diarrhoea and infection caused by lack of basic hygiene.[i]

But through the collaboration of Australian filmmaker, Anthony Gordon of Nothin But Shorts International, and Jaimie Fuller, Executive Chairman of leading global compression wear brand SKINS, the Sherpas are learning how to better protect themselves and their families.

The collaboration came about when Gordon visited Nepal to film a television series last year and learned first-hand of the prevalence of avoidable illnesses such as diarrhoea.

Knowing of Fuller’s interest in the welfare of Nepalese workers through SKINS’ campaign on the ‘Hypocrisy World Cup’[ii]Gordon and Fuller decided on a #SherpaFit campaign.

Partnering with expedition leaders Lakpa Sherpa of Pioneer Adventure and Mingma David Sherpa of Himalayan Ski Trek, the #SherpaFit campaign was delivered to 50 men and 10 women Sherpas.

The #SherpaFit campaign includes practical tools to help Sherpas and their families, and complements the activities of local and international organisations in improving access to clean water.

“The men and women who rely on guiding people up-and-down Mount Everest to make a living – an inherently risk-taking venture that helps so many people from around the world – shouldn’t be prevented from pursuing an income and economic independence simply because they haven’t had basic health and sanitation education.”

Earlier this year, Gordon returned to Nepal with the #SherpaFit campaign.

Armed with a cartoon-style booklet on sanitation and hygiene, a travel pack that included first-aid anti-bacterial basics, and a health educator, the Sherpas were given a day-long education program on basic health and hygiene.

Each Sherpa also received SKINS compression wear comprising long-sleeve tops and long tights, with all Sherpa and Summit teams on Everest decked-out in SKINS for the climbing season.

The booklet and education class were also provided to local schools.

“We realised that what seemed like an enormous problem for the Sherpas was actually something quite small in terms of being able to help,” said Fuller.

“For example, just the simple act of washing hands regularly decreases the risk of diarrhoea by half.”

Mr Fuller said that the first-aid anti-bacterial pack is something that the Sherpas don’t normally have access to.

The SKINS gear gives the Sherpas the physiological benefits of SKINS superior compression technology. Because of the unique anti-microbial treatment of SKINS compression products, the Sherpas are also able to wear products for longer in the extreme mountain conditions.

“We were delighted to support Anthony’s initiative in taking health and education directly to the Sherpa community, and to help out with equipment. It’s a small, but highly practical and we hope effective, step that will have long-term benefits for the community,” Fuller said.

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