1. INTRODUCTION

This proposal is to request for USD 20,000.00 to rebuild and restore the Saisima Beyul Community Building as requested by local people that will serve the cultural and social service. The establishment of Saisima Beyul Community Building is to strengthening of community groups that are capable of ensuring cultural preservation of Saisima village of Yaphu VDC in Sankhuwasba district in eastern Nepal. Cultural conservation imparts not only the heritage but also the social structure of the local communities, traditions, and their indigenous knowledge on protecting the environment they live in.

2. BACKGROUND OF SAISIMA

Saisima is a tiny monastic settlement located in a remote wilderness area of the Apsuwa valley in Sankhuwasabha District, eastern Nepal. It is the only permanently inhabited village within Makalu-Barun National Park. Saisima’s 34 residents include two Buddhist lamas (monks), twelve Buddhist nuns; and five families of lay Buddhist Practitioners. Saisima is one of the most beautiful villages located at the altitude of 2,513 m from sea level in Yaphu VDC ward no 9 of Sankhuwasabha District of eastern Nepal. This remote village can only be accessible on foot. It takes about four days on foot to get there from Khandbari the districts headquarter of Sankhuwasabha.The lamas of Saisima are caretakers of the nearby Khembalung Cave, a religious pilgrimage site located in one of the most important beyuls (hidden valley) in Nepal, about 10 km upstream from the confluence of the Arun river and Apsuwa Khola (river tributary). The nearest settlement, Dobatak, is a two-hour walk from Saisima. Saisima is a relatively new settlement, established in the 1950’s by members of the Sherpa ethnic group. The gomba at Saisima-Dechen Cholen Monastery-was established even later, in about 1973. The name “Saisima” refers to the wild beehives once found in the area.
Saisima is sometimes called “Heleng Kharka”, a reference to its relatively abundant production of maize, the principal agriculture crop. Saisima village has a very great historical background.
It lies inside the Khembalung region of Yaphu at the lap of Mount Chamlang 7,323 m. The region has a wide area which is historically founded and established by Buddhist teacher named Padmasambhawa around 7th century.

3. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF SAISIMA

Local interview indicate that Saisima was first inhabited in the 1920’s by a small group of Sherpas who eventually abandoned the settlement because of its extreme isolation. Approximately during 1950s some Sherpa residents migrated to Saisima from Chereme, in Solukhumbu District, possibly to be near the Beyul Khembalung Cave for research about the importance of this holy place known as “Beyul ” Khempalung. This monk who went 1 there for a research he also practiced meditation for a few months.
The first t emporary gomba ( monast ery) ,constructed in 1973 by Saisima residents, became the present Denchen Cholen Monastery, in institution affiliated with the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.! The establishment of the
monastery was largely due to the efforts of the head lama, the Hon. Nawang Thaye Lama, a Buddhist monk who was previously educated at Rongbuk Monastery in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The Hon. Tulsi Rimpoche of the Solukhumbu supported and encouraged this effort.
Although most monasteries exclude women, then nuns and six monks were recruited as founding members of the monastery.

Beyuls are natural valleys considered as sacred by Buddhist people living on the southern slopes of the Himalaya. They are believed to have been “hidden valleys” concealed by Padmasambhava – an 8th century Buddhist saint who was credited to have introduced Buddhism to Himalayan and the Tibetan Plateau region.
The purpose behind these beyuls of hidden valleys was to provide refuge to followers of Buddhist faith at times of difficulty.
According to local interviews, some of the recruits chose a celibate monastically life because of their physical handicaps or because the lack of suitable partners diminished their marital prospects. ! Later the monk decided to shift from the lower Everest region to Saisima Beyul Khembalung village with all his family members. After that they first built a small
monastery where they all slept, ate and prayed all together in one monastery before they built the individual houses for each family members. Later the Monastery was used as a community house. The holy people conducted many different activities such as regular prayer, meditations, teaching Buddhist education, community meeting, and guest home etc.
The Beyul Khembalung region consists of Saisima, Dobatak, Gongtal, Yangde n, Tamku, Walung and Tas higau. The total population of this area is about 4200. Since few years this region has started to see few tourist from around the world but with very limited numbers only, and peoples from this region is hoping to develop this place as a tourism destination for national and international tourist.

4. CHALLENGES OF SAISIMA BEYUL KHEMPALUNG

Since this village is located in the remote area. The only means to get there is narrow foot trails. There is neither motor able road nor airport, telephone and medical service till now. The local residents had requested for Government assistance in improving the trail from Gongthala to Saisima via Dobatak which is dangerous during monsoon season, due to frequent landslides. Small effort has made to improve the trail that is passible only during the months. The bridge at Magang Khola is a chronic problem. Temporary structures are periodically built using local logs and bamboo rope, but sometimes last only a week before they are washed away.
The nuns find it difficult to cross the river, particularly during monsoon months, and are subsequently unable to conduct pujas (religious offerings).However, recently 27m long suspension bridges have been constructed over the Saisima River with the help of Swiss NGO named Nepal ko Sathi. The bridge has been very helpful and important to link the areas with district headquarter Khandbari. The Swiss organisation has also distributed metal oven for 27 households of the area.

In addition to the access problem in this tiny Saisima village, the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April 25, 2015, struck central Nepal with devastating widespread damage many parts of Nepal including Saisima Beyul Khembalung area in Sankhuwasabha. The impacts from the earthquake were immense on the life of people especially where Government’s approach is limited due to physical shocks of earthquake from time to time for over a month making their life more panic and tense.

5. GOALS

The project goal is to provide space to conduct their social festivals, community interaction, meetings and to strengthen local institutions.

6. PROGRAM OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE

Although most people are economically poor, the people of Beyul Khempalung maintain a rich culture of customs, festivals, architecture, dress and social values. Since Saisima village has been located on the mountain slope, we can see many big cracks above the village and below the village. So the people of Saisima are very much concerned about the people living in the monastery area, as there is danger of landslide at any time during the rainy season. Keeping this situation in mind, the local nuns and the local expressed their desire to shift the Gompa to Khasapar area safer place approximately 30 minutes from existing site. !This is completely safe from the landslide and monsoon.!!

With this project, the local people of Beyul Khempalung region such as Saisima, Dobatak, Gongtal, Yangden, Tamku, Walung and Tashigau. Beyul Khembalung region consists of Saisima, Dobatak, Gongtal, Yangde n, Tamku, Walung and Tas higau hopes to rebuild earthquake resilience buidling structure as an alternative for earthquake and other natural disaster including landslide and erosion preparedness or response which will then use cultural purpose. The main objectives of the project are
1) to preserve natural and cultural heritage of Beyul Khemaplung,
2) to provide an alternative shelter during the natural disasters,
3) to provide place for all the villagers for meetings, praying or also for meditations and for religious educational events, education purpose, 4) provide free education to the students from the disadvantaged groups

7. PROJECT OUTLINE

 Proposed to build one community house (Gompa) in the designated site. The community house will be used by all villagers for meeting, praying or also for meditations and for the study purpose.

  1. Proposed to 18 one-story houses with students class room, one room for English study, one room for Nepali study, one room for computer training and another room for the students to sleeping.
  2. Aim to provide free education to the students from the poorest families as well as those orphaned, abandoned and helpless children of the area.!

8. PROGRESS MADE SO FAR

Realising the need to rebuild the Gompa or the community building of Saisima monastery, with active motivation and strong commitment from Beyul Khempalung community, a special meeting was called on 2nd September 2016 and consequently formed the rebuild and restoration committee under the leadership of Mr. Tendi Sherpa a local resident from Saisima in order to rebuild and reallocate for safer place.
The Sherpas of this region are Buddhist by religion and have a rich cultural life that plays an important in performing ritual ceremonies. In recognition of this situation, the local monk was consulted and performed ritual ceremony to begin the trail repair work in the area.!

In order to rebuild and restore the monastery or the community building, permission was obtained from Makalu-Barun National Park and also from local VDC level and the stone breaking and collection began September and October and continues breaking the rocks.
With funding from the NepalkoSathi, Nepal in Need UK and Priyanka Agrawal from the USA, the local committee responsible for this project was able to built 8 one-story building for the nunnery living in this tiny village.

9. BUDGET

The initial budget estimation done was 125,600.00 to complete the Gompa relocation, construct and restoration of the Saisima monastery or community building. Out of that, the 8 nunnery building has been completed and 10 more nunnery building is pending, this is the budget for complete project. The committee has already collected approximately USD 30,000 from different sources that the Sherpas had collected during their trekking and mountaineering expeditions. They are still short of less than 100,000 in order to complete this project and the committee had requested The Partners Nepal to consider finding potential donors to support this unique project in the Beyul Khempalung.