Talks in the Himalayas: patent project ensures justice

The two have known each other for 17 years. They come from very different circumstances. Their friendship has created something special: a project that has made the world a little bit fairer and hundreds of people a whole lot happier. And still.

Jagat tamang, around 50, nepalese, is a guide in the himalayas. There he shows visitors the beauty of his homeland. Margret thalmann from marktbreit, 81, loves the mountains. In 2002 – thalmann's four children had long since grown up, she already had grandchildren and finally had time to fulfill a dream – the frankin traveled to nepal for the first time. From kathmandu they went to the himalayan mountains.

"It was a ten-day trek," jagat tamang remembers the first time he met margret thalmann. As fundamentally different as they were, they got along very well despite the language barrier – tamang had taught himself english by communicating with tourists. Currently, jagat tamang is outside of nepal for the first time – namely in germany, with margret thalmann. Together with the director of the setidevi school, ram kumar basnet from kathmandu, he learns about life in europe at the invitation of the thalmann family – but more on that later.

At first, the friendship between the market leader and the nepalese man developed slowly. Jagat tamang, a strong man with happy eyes and a loud voice, tells in english that "maageet", as he calls margret thalmann, came back to nepal several times after the first mountain tour. It had been her dream to reach the base camp of mount everest by her own efforts one day. "Their condition was very good."Together, the two finally made it – in 2008, they were standing at the site of margret's dreams.

That, but above all the language during the long ascents and descents, "were great gifts for me," says thalmann. "And for jagat, i think, also."

Jagat told margret, among other things, that he would like to give his five children – four daughters, one son – a good education, but that his money was not enough for that. He also explained to her the school system and the discrepancy between expensive private schools, which no normal nepalese can afford, and the state schools, where little education takes place.

Then margret thalmann met ram kumar basnet. The director of the setidevi school in kathmandu is a quiet man with a soft voice and kind eyes. "He is a wonderful teacher and lives for his school," says the market leader. And although she had no intention of supporting the school at first, she eventually did just that. "I must have received an order from above," she says today, shaking her head with a laugh. "I'm not the type to go begging or ask people for donations. But because i told them about my encounters back home in germany, many of my acquaintances wanted to help on their own initiative."

So the market leader put "project nepal" on a solid footing. In order to be able to give all donations to the setidevi community with almost no deductions, she joined a non-profit organization and developed a sponsorship system. Since then, helpful germans have been able to finance the education of a nepalese child – and thus enable him to live a life far away from poverty.

Jagat tamang's children were also able to learn a lot this way. His son is currently studying in hamburg, and jagat will see him again for the first time in four years during his stay. Margret thalmann has now been to nepal ten times. After the devastating earthquake in 2015, she even took specially collected donations as far as a "forgotten" mountain village and an orphanage. The support for the setidevi school did not suffer from this. "Between 13.000 and 15.000 euros in donations are collected every year," the frankin is pleased to report. Director ram basnet emphasizes: "without this money, we could never be such a good facility. We recently received an award for education."253 children, both boys and girls, are studying in the setidevi school, which employs twice as many teachers as purely state schools. "All of our former schoolchildren got very good jobs or were able to study – and most of them, as soon as they earn money, take on the sponsorship of a schoolchild again themselves."

Basnet, tamang and thalmann, who are otherwise in close email contact, now sit opposite each other every day over breakfast. Together they meet school child sponsors, visit german schools, get to know the country and its people. On 22. August the two men will return to nepal with many new impressions and ideas. Jagat tamang says: "I have guided many people in the himalayas. Many wanted to push for improvements. But margret is the first and only one who has really done it."