In 2008 the small private children's project in Thankot, Nepal was launched by Som Bahadur Gurung and Therese Bänziger. To date the project has grown, thanks to many donors and sponsors.
In order to guarantee the future of the youngest children, Therese Bänziger, together with Margrit Gyr and Nadja Kramer, also founded the Friends of Singla Foundation on 13 May 2016. The foundation has a non-profit character and does not pursue any business purpose.
Therese was born near Bern, Switzerland. After her formation as a qualified nurse, she worked in the areas of long-term care, Spitex and adult education for many years.
In 2007, she visited Nepal for the first time together with a Swiss group. There she got to know the trekking guide Som Bahadur Gurung. Deeply impressed by the country and the people, Therese decided to get involved in Nepal to help people in the most difficult life situations.
In 2008 the small, private children's project was founded in Thankot by Som Bahadur and Therese Bänziger in the small private house of Som.
Therese has been visiting the children's project twice a year to support, guide and advise the management team (Som and Maja).
Margrit Gyr was born in Aargau Switzerland and grew up in a beautiful region called “Seetal”. After working as a cook, she worked as a chef in various places and passed her knowledge on to other cooks and young adults.
She met her husband on the “Seeburg” in “Iseltwald”, married him in 1994 and moved to the “Berner Seeland”. From 1996 onwards, Margrit first worked as a substitute for the home management in a children’s home in Lyss before she took over the management of the company together with her husband in 2002. The “Chinderhuus” is a small children's home with a family-like structure and accommodates 10 socially disadvantaged children.
In 2012 Magrit met Therese Bänziger at a multicultural event in Lyss. Since then the couple Gyr, together with the “Chinderhuus”, have supported the project of Therese and Som with an annual bazaar. They sell handicrafts from the children or pastries and often collect donations in the village.
In spring 2015, Margrit and Therese visited the children's home in Nepal and went on a trek to Singla and Khorla with the children. Deeply impressed, Margrit returned home and was shocked when she heard about the earthquake in Nepal a week later. Thankfulness for not having lost anyone, a burning heart for the need of the poor and great joy about the cooperation in the foundation council of "Friends of Singla" remained.
Is from the village of Singla. The village is located near the Himalaya at 2400 m above sea level and belongs to the region of Gorkha, northwest of Kathmandu (capital of Nepal). It is a very poor region, without road connection, without a hospital or an emergency aid point. It has a small village school. About 200 families live in this remote village. At the age of 13, Som moved from Singla to Kathmandu to work as a carrier in the trekking business and earn some money. In many years, he has worked his way up from carrier to Sirdar and finally became a French speaking trekking guide. He has taught himself French and English. Thanks to his own life story, Som has realised the importance of good school education for the future. For many years, he has supported his family, his three siblings and parents, who still live in Singla and earn their living as miners.
Nadja grew up near Biel. Today she lives in Bern together with her husband and her son.
After her apprenticeship as a commercial clerk at a municipality, she decided to study to become a teacher. After 3 years of training, she started teaching in a 5th grade class. Since then, she is a passionate teacher at the intermediate level.
In 2014, she decided to take a break. In Globetrotter magazine, she drew attention to the project of Therese and Som. After several meetings with Therese and a first meeting with Som in Switzerland she decided to travel to Nepal as a volunteer. There she got to know and love the project. After coming back from Nepal she supported Therese when necessary.
Since 2016 she is part of the foundation and responsible for the redesigned website.