Photography exhibit at Higher Grounds to benefit Nepalese school children

Proceeds help fill backpacks with school supplies

Posted 7/23/19

Dawa Sherpa starting taking professional photos in 2013 while studying at the School of Creative Communications in Nepal. Today, he is selling his photography to benefit school children in Nepalese …

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Photography exhibit at Higher Grounds to benefit Nepalese school children

Proceeds help fill backpacks with school supplies

Posted

Dawa Sherpa starting taking professional photos in 2013 while studying at the School of Creative Communications in Nepal.

Today, he is selling his photography to benefit school children in Nepalese villages destroyed by the April 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks.

“I’m trying to make a big difference in small way,” Dawa Sherpa said.

Displaced because of the quake, Dawa Sherpa, 35, moved to Golden in August 2015, and recently relocated to Castle Rock. Higher Grounds Café in Golden is hosting an exhibition of Dawa Sherpa’s photography until Aug. 15.

On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. The World Health Organization reported that about 8,700 people were killed and about 22,000 were injured. On May 12, another 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit that caused an additional 200 deaths and 2,500 injuries.

The latter brought more disaster to Dawa Sherpa’s village, he said.

About 350 people, at least 90 of them were children, had to relocate to Kathmandu for earthquake relief, Dawa Sherpa said.

Since then, villages are beginning to rebuild, Dawa Sherpa said. But it is slow-going — in Dawa Sherpa’s village of Yarmasing-Tatopani, which is near the Tibet-Nepal border in the Sindhupalchowk district of Nepal — some families have begun to build small homes made of stacked stone, but some people still live in giant tents, Dawa Sherpa said.

“There have been many people who helped create a path for me to help the needy kids in my village,” Dawa Sherpa said.

Shortly after the quakes, his friend in the Netherlands, Maritee Onderdenwijngaard, contacted him because she wanted to help. Dawa Sherpa told her that he wanted a way to help the village overall — not just his family — so Onderdenwijngaard started the Dawa Sherpa Foundation to collect funds to benefit Nepalese school children.

Funds raised from Dawa Sherpa’s photography sales will benefit the Dawa Sherpa Foundation to provide backpacks full of school supplies to children whose schools were destroyed by the earthquakes. The backpacks are filled with a variety of basic educational needs — pencils, paper, notebooks, etc.

The first delivery took place in October 2018, when the Dawa Sherpa Foundation delivered 80 backpacks to a school in Tatopani. In April this year, a delivery of 200 backpacks benefited two additional villages.

Joe Cardajal and Bill Hasser of Denver met Dawa Sherpa in 2016 when he was working at the Sherpa House Restaurant and Culture Center in Golden. They started supporting the Dawa Sherpa Foundation because they enjoy helping charitable causes, and because of the impression that Dawa Sherpa left on them.

“When you hear his story, and see how much he’s giving from his heart, you can’t help but want to be a part of it,” Cardajal said.

The photo exhibit at Higher Grounds Cafe includes landscapes, cultural landmarks and people. All but a few were taken in Nepal and Tibet. Dawa Sherpa’s friend, Abishek Shrestha, who Dawa Sherpa met at the School of Creative Communications in Nepal, also contributed to the photography exhibition.

Hasser enjoys supporting the Dawa Sherpa Foundation because you know where the money goes, he said. But the best part is when Dawa Sherpa shows him and Cardajal the photos from the backpack deliveries.

“The smiles on the kids’ faces when they receive their backpack,” Hasser said, “makes you feel like you want to meet them.”

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