A LOCAL company has pledged £15,000 over the next five years to help a midwife programme at a remote mountain hospital in Nepal.
Digital marketing agency Fat Media, which is headed by Kendal-based David Durnford, is helping Kunde Hospital in the Solukhumbu area.
Kunde Hospital was founded by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1966 and is situated 3,840 metres above sea level in the shadows of Mount Everest and serves 8,000 villagers, including Sherpas and mountaineers.
The village of Kunde is one of the most isolated in the world with a punishing six-day (125 km) walk to the nearest road or a 10-hour walk (20 km) to a hillside airstrip.
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Kendal-based Mr Durnford, 46, is a keen traveller and mountaineer who has followed the story of The Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation for many years and has been inspired by its work.
He said: “The money will go towards training and paying for the midwives, specifically to pay for a midwife round because currently pregnant women have to walk two or three hours along rough tracks to the hospital to see the doctor.
“Our funding is to enable a midwife round to be established on a regular basis to the villages - saving women a long and potentially dangerous walk.”
From the early 1960s, Sir Edmund Hillary’s expeditions had a focus on improving the health and social welfare of the people of Nepal, including the improvement of water supplies, the building of schools, bridges and an airstrip at Lukla; in 1966 along with overseas volunteers and local people the Kunde Hospital was built.
Mr Durnforn explained why he chose to support the foundation through Fat Media.
“The work of the Kunde Hospital and the vital service it supplies to the local people is an incredible achievement in itself - it is effectively a hospital on top of the world!
“We wanted to support something different and this project demonstrates continued innovation, dated back incredibly to 1966.
“The hospital is now run completely by local people and with extra donations from supporters like ourselves, new projects such as the Midwife Programme can be realised.”
It is hoped that the ongoing support from Fat Media and other businesses in the UK and around the world will keep the Kunde Hospital running well into the future and allow them to advance even further.
To learn more about the project and the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation visit: www.thesiredmundhillaryfoundation.ca Fat Media has offices in Lancaster, London and Barrow.