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On Himalaya

Our project is located in Simikot, the administrative district of the region Humla, at an altitude of about 3100 meters above sea level.
Humla lies imbedded in the massive Himalayan mountains far from the popular tourist areas such as the mount Everest or Annapurna. It is the most north-western region of the country.
With 50‘000 residents, Humla has a very low population density for a district of the size half of the Austrian Tirol.



There are no roads to reach Humla. Steep mountain trails are the only connection between the villages, which are surrounded by snow-covered summits. There are two options to reach the headquarters of Humla, Simikot; Either one hikes for 14 days from the nearest drivable road or takes on a 5 days trek from the Tibetan boarder. The only other possibility is to fly in with a small aircraft, which can land during sunny and windless weather conditions. The majority of the local population though cannot afford the high airfare.

Poverty & Discrimination


The people from Humla survive on meager outcomes from agriculture or trade, making poverty omnipresent. Due to steep and barren terrain as well as long harsh winters, the local villagers suffer from hunger and malnutrition each year for almost 6 months.
Lack of education and superstitious believes perpetuate harmful traditions, suppression and violence. Mainly women and girls are the main bearers of such oppression and are exposed to daily discrimination in the forms of; labour exploitation, physical and sexual assaults, no decision making power, no access to schooling, and total dependence on the male head of the house.



Furthermore, mothers and their toddlers are banned from home during her period or for 30 days after having given birth. The women sleep during this time in sheds or makeshifts in remote places or the forest. This practice puts women at risk to become victims of rape or the tradition to be kidnapped for marital purposes. Apart from other infections and illnesses, temperatures up to minus 20 degrees can cause severe frost bites. In order to keep themselves warm, the ostracized females light fires in their little sheds. Consequently, some women experience carbon-dioxide poisoning. The tradition to ban women when she bleeds is called Chhaupadi. It is believed that a woman is impure in such a moment. It is the main reason for the widespread high mother- and child-mortality rate in the region.