Mountain Climber Um Hong-gil Builds School in Nepal

      May 05, 2010 10:23

      Um Hong-gil

      Korean mountaineer Um Hong-gil, who was the first person in the world to climb the world's 16 highest peaks standing over 8,000 m, will open an elementary school in a remote town in Nepal located over 4,000 m above sea level.

      Um's charity organization, the Um Hong Gil Human Foundation established in 2008, announced on Tuesday that it will celebrate the completion of Pangboche Human School to mark Children's Day on Wednesday. The village of Pangboche stands 4,060 m above sea level, at the foot of the world's highest peak, the 8,848-m Mount Everest.

      The school is the first in the Foundation's educational support program for those in need. Construction of the building, which consists of four classrooms and a school hall, began on Children's Day last year. "Now some 50 village children will be able to study in the well-equipped facility," a foundation official said.

      Um has special ties to Pangboche, as it was the home of Sulin Dorugi, a Nepali sherpa who died during Um's second attempt to conquer Everest in 1986. Dorugi's wife and mother still live there. "Um chose to do his first overseas project in Panboche and build a school for the village children in memory of Dorugi and his family," the official said.

      "Setting up a school was as hard as climbing the Himalayas," said Um, who will attend school's completion ceremony. "But thanks to the help of many people, I was able to keep my promise to build it. I feel so energized just thinking about the children who will able to have bigger dreams at school now." The foundation will continue to support the school by supplying stationery and providing help in recruiting and retaining teachers.

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