This three-year project’s purpose was to spread the benefits of tourism more equitably among the local people in the Everest region of Nepal, while preserving indigenous culture and environment through education and awareness-building.
The goals of the Building Livelihoods initiative included:
-a plan to teach Sherpa language and script to 1,000 school children from Khumbu and Pharak
-reaching more than 20,000 tourists visiting Khumbu through cultural information in the interpretive displays, brochures and films.
-making home-stays and cultural/ecological trekking available to more than 1,500 people in the target communities of Thame, Phortse, and Gyiphide
-training hundreds of households in off-the-trekking-route communities within the Thame Valley in Sagarmatha National Park in tourism/business enhancing practices. Extending training to residents of the Tate, Sengma, Lhawo and Gumela villages in the Pharak Buffer as well.
-recruiting non-local individuals, such as middle class Nepali people, to work and visit in the Park.
In 2009, at the completion of the project, TMI could count the following achievements as part of the success of the program:
-A Sherpa language dictionary was completed
-Several Sherpa folksongs were documented
-An interpretive exhibit at Sagarmatha National Park Visitors Center was installed
-A ritual arts exhibit at Kyarok Monastery was installed
-A visitor information center at Namche Monastery was created
-A Nepali-language version of the Beyul documentary film was produced
-Sherpa language educational resource materials were created
-Teachers were trained in the Sherpa language
-The Kathmandu International Film Festival (KIMFF) was founded
-A seven-day village tourism operators training was provided
-An interactive program on village tourism was created
-The Khumbu Mountain Center was constructed
-An income generation project was developed at Thame Monastery
-A Yak handicraft development training was held, along with a Yak handicraft production workshop