Mountain Fund Staffer Featured on Yahoo's Hot Zone

Jul 04, 2007 -- Christine Egger read a story about a boy trapped in a troubled life. Then she did something remarkable. She helped set him free.
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More Than Talk --

After reading our story (Hot Zone's) about Yubaraj Khakada, a Nepalese teenage boy who dropped out of school to support his family as a parking attendant in Katmandu, Hot Zone reader and Mountain Fund staffer Christine Egger made it her personal mission to find a way to get him off the streets and back into school.

She reached out to other Hot Zone readers and through partnerships with the online philanthropy group GiveMeaning and the anti-poverty organization Mountain Fund she created a program which has already raised more than $7,500.

Christine has been relentless in her efforts to create sustainable assistance for Yubaraj. The program not only has put him back in school but may also expand to help other children from his village.

Christine visited Yubaraj in Nepal in March and sent us the following letter and photographs. We thank her for this wonderful example of commitment, perseverance and success in helping to change the life of another.

"Dear Hot Zone Team,

In February we wrote to let you know we were ready to enroll Yubaraj in school and were hoping to raise the funds we needed to do that. It is such a thrill to tell you that we reached that goal and Yubaraj is now a full- time student!!!!

The enclosed photos were taken in early March, when I had the chance to meet Yubaraj and our volunteers in Katmandu. It was thrilling, and surreal, to be actually talking with Yubaraj after thinking about him every day for almost a year!

We gathered at the Mountain Fund office just a few blocks from where Yubaraj had been parking motorcycles last year.

Yubaraj gave the immediate impression of being just a really nice kid, incredibly grateful for what we were doing, and more than a little overwhelmed by it all. Aid workers Basu Gnawali, Scott MacLennan, Puskar Gurung, Sudhir Lama, and Phurbu Thokra were there too. Each of them have played a key role in this project and it was just wonderful to be able to see them with Yubaraj and to be able to say thank you in person for everything they'd done.

Dinesh Wagle was there, too. He's the Nepali journalist and blogger who was with Kevin Sites when they met Yubaraj last May. Yubaraj was really happy to see Dinesh again and you should have seen the HUGE smile on Dinesh's face - he was obviously thrilled for Yubaraj that the Hot Zone article had had such an impact on his life.

While we talked, Dinesh helped us explain to Yubaraj how all of this support for his education had come together. Yubaraj knew that his conversation with Kevin Sites had started a chain reaction, but he hadn't really understood just how many people had been affected by his story and how the Internet had connected all of them.

We explained that the people who were helping him weren't wealthy or extraordinary, but that many people were giving what they could so that together we're able to support his education.

Several people had written messages to Yubaraj on the GiveMeaning site, and we had them translated into Nepali so he could read their words of encouragement as he began the work of preparing for school."

Read the rest of the story and see the pictures here:

About The Mountain Fund --

Our mission is to organize grassroots non-profit and non-governmental organizations from a diversity of disciplines, and to support and coordinate these organizations' efforts to eliminate poverty, its causes and symptoms, in developing mountain communities.


The Mountain Fund
Scott MacLennan
phone: 800-743-1929