On 5th August 2010, a massive cloud burst followed by flash floods devastated Ladakh. In order to support rehabilitation of Ladakh, the Club decided to take up the following projects:
With this in mind, funds were collected and the Rebuild Ladakh Initiative was successfully concluded.
On April 25, 2015 a cataclysmic earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Nepal. The quake and its aftershocks killed nearly 9000 people and close to 22000 were injured. Villages disappeared without a trace, heritage buildings and monuments crumbled to dust. Climbers on Everest were trapped on camps 1 and 2 and pinned under toppled blocks in the Khumbu icefall. The small mountain country saw devastation beyond imagining.
The Himalayan Club immediately launched a fund initiated by the local Secretary of the Pune section to help the victims of the earthquake. The fund received overwhelming support from members and then worked with the government of India for permission to send the funds. Unfortunately it was difficult to directly transfer money. So the collected amount was put into a bank FD and the interest will now be disbursed every year to three or four families affected by natural disasters anywhere in the Himalaya. The fund is now called ‘The Himalayan Disaster Relief Fund’.
The Sherpa Project was started in April 2012 to collect the oral histories of the community of Sherpa climbers in Darjeeling. Starting with the first death anniversary rites for Nawang Gombu, the project members have visited Darjeeling several times and stayed for periods ranging from ten days to over a month each time. The interviews collected from climbers, family members and associates and also from non-Sherpa climbers at the time of writing this report, total 116. Wherever possible, video recordings of the interviews have also been made. Along with the interviews, information is being sought from books, periodicals and other documents.
The full set of audio interviews and video recordings are being digitized at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. Travel Company, Cox and Kings has supported travel for a period of three years without which the project would not have been possible. Various individual donations have enabled the members to continue working on a frugal budget. The Himalayan Club has provided institutional support.
2016: An illustrated presentation on the Project was made.
2017: The University of Scarborough completed much of the work of matching the videos and audios as well as digitizing all the material.
2018: The Sherpa Project continues to be supported by the Himalayan Cub. The project is now in the final phase of culling out stories from the vast data base of oral histories.
Aspi Moddie was one of the Himalayan Club’s oldest members (since 1949); he was its first real Indian President, a man who loved and nurtured the Club. At the time of his death at the age of 92, he was the eldest, the longest and most respected serving member of the Club, covering a period of 65 years. In his passing In 2014 the Club lost its friend, philosopher and guide.
The Moddie family and The Himalayan Club have decided to institute an Aspi Moddie Welfare Fund (AMWF) in his memory which will be funded by the Moddie family and managed by the Himalayan Club.
While the Himalayan Club will manage the Fund, the recommendations of The Himalayan Club regarding the beneficiary (ies), together with the recommended Grant(s) from the Fund, and the purpose for which it is being awarded will be communicated to the Moddie family before finalization.
A corpus of Rs. 5,00,000/- has been set up and the annual interest from this fund will be donated to a deserving family of a support staff who has lost his life or means of livelihood due to an accident on the mountains or a mountain village or community that has been affected by natural disaster. The amount of money to be awarded is at the discretion of the Managing Committee of the Himalayan Club in consultation with the Moddie family.
In two much smaller initiatives, The Himalayan Club started the Nawang Topgay Fund and the Anand Ram Fund.
Nawang Topgay, Tiger medallist and respected Sherpa instructor at NIM, known fondly to his students as ‘Guruji’, was living in penurious circumstances in Darjeeling. When the Club was apprised of his situation a small monthly amount was assigned to pay for his medicines and welfare. The assistance continued till his death in 2012.
In 2007, during a Club sponsored expedition, one of the Kumaoni support staff, Anand Ram, expired due to high altitude sickness. He is survived by his wife, three children and mother. The Club has since, set up a fund to support Anand Ram’s family. His widow, Indra Devi is a school assistant.
The family of Anand Ram continues to be supported by the fund. The education of the children is being provided for and Indra Devi is being sent the funds via a direct transfer to her bank account on a monthly basis. The two older children, Laxman and Anjali, live in hostel and study away from home supported by the Club while the youngest child Saurabh still attends the local school.