Born in 1919 in New Zealand’s small farming town of Tuakau, Sir Edmund Hillary’s family held such high morals as peace, equality, and helping others. He worked with his father and brother as beekeepers and, although a conscientious objector of World War II, his moral compass and passion for adventure led him to enlist in the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1944. Upon his safe return to civilian life, Sir Edmund Hillary and his fellow climber Tenzing Norgay became the first to reach the peak of Mt. Everest. After conquering the South Pole next, he led a research expedition in Nepal and, upon his descent, built the first school for the Sherpa children in the Khumbu region of Nepal.
He founded the Himalayan Trust, providing schools, health care, and forest nurseries for the Sherpas, along with planning, conservation, and natural disaster relief. Sir Edmund and his wife Lady June kept their focus on long term benefits for the Sherpas, the locals who live in high in the Himalayas and support climbing teams as porters, guides, rope-fixers, and more. As his friends, we support the Trust, providing access to higher education grants to more than 100 students annually.
The Trust also plants, nurtures, and protects nearly 100,000 trees. With several Sherpas earning degrees in forestry management, a few of them now serve as wardens of the Nepalese National Parks. When Sir Edmund and Lady June became founding members of our Board of Advisors, we felt deeply honored by our friends’ support. Today, Lady June continues to serve on our board, giving us the privilege to pay tribute to their service by establishing the Sir Edmund Hillary Club for people who explore the world with Overseas Adventure Travel. We recently reached out to her to ask how we could help after the devastating earthquake in Nepal. In keeping with her values, our support will rebuild schools for the Sherpa children.