Founded in 1999, Namlo International was started by Magda King, the first woman from Spain to reach the summit of an 8000m peak. In appreciation for the help she received from the Sherpa people during her expeditions, she wanted to give something back and chose education as the best gift.
To make that gift a reality, Magda traveled throughout the US, talking about her experiences as a climber and her dream of improving the lives of the Nepali people. Her presentations raised $10,000 in donations, enough at that time to build an elementary school. After spending 3 months in rural Nepal helping the community of Yarmasing build a school, she returned to Denver and co-founded Namlo International with her husband, Dr. Hugh King.
Based on their experiences in Nepal, Magda and Hugh saw that the key to success was helping communities take responsibility for their schools — including participating in their construction, developing income generating projects to support their school, and working together to provide governance and support for good teaching and learning. Their goal was not just to build schools, but also to make them self-sustaining. They also saw an opportunity to connect American school children with Namlo schools, so that US students could experience the joy of making a difference.
They developed 5 interrelated programs to help empower communities to obtain the economic and social resources they need to keep their schools running smoothly, even after Namlo’s 10-year commitment to each community expires. Those programs are: school construction, school improvement, sustainable community development, scholarships, and sister schools.