Sixth-generation Sherpa Dawa Geljen had the chance to speak to the team of 17 Fire cadets and nine leaders going out to Nepal in late October 2015, where they will finish off building a school for village children.
Dawa told the team about his experiences as a Sherpa, including once climbing to within 50m of Everest's summit, and also what they should expect to face on the two day trek to get to the village of Thulodhunga in the Basa region. Alongside his Sherpa heritage, Dawa is a qualified mountaineering guide and trustee of Classrooms in the Clouds, a registered National Government Organisation working to build classrooms for village children.
The Sherpa was also introduced to people from across the Service and given a tour of the Incident Command Training suite, before being put through his paces on the training ground and finally presenting Chief Fire Officer Paul Hancock with a Buddist prayer scarf.
Speaking about his trip, Dawa said: “It’s a great honour for me to come to the UK and meet the team in person. It’s the first time that Classrooms in the Clouds will have worked with such a large group.
“The young people have worked really hard to raise this money for a country and people that they don’t know, but they will leave with a better understanding of different cultures and most importantly they will leave knowing that they have made a real difference to many young lives in Nepal, both now and in the future.
“These Cheshire Fire Cadets are a fine example of their generation and their parents and leaders should be very proud of their commitment and dedication to the project.”
Ahead of the Classrooms in the Cloud rebuild, a 25-year-old building is being used as a school but with no glass in any of the windows, poor lighting, old wiring and a generally unsafe environment for learning.
Commenting on the trip and Dawa's visit, Youth and Community Cohesion Manager, Nick Evans said: “It’s been great for the cadets to meet Dawa and hear about his experiences. His visit has made the trip real and we remain determined to raise the £60,000 to enable us to build this school.
“The money will be used for flights and to buy all materials to build the school and finish it to a good standard. The children need a better and safer place in which to learn and we can help with that. Dawa’s visit has been a great boost for us all.”
For more information or to donate to the trip visit the cadet section of www.cheshirefire.gov.uk