This scholarship program is a project we’ve hoped to start since the beginning of Musa Masala.

The idea to help provide for the medical education for young people living in the area around the Wongchhu Sherpa Memorial Hospital has been brewing and stewing all through its construction. Now, as the hospital is open and offering quality healthcare, we are proud to say that we have three students in medical programs in Kathmandu who all are from the local area. (We apologize for the delayed announcement. Two of the students are now in their 8th month of school! We are so far behind in our events of 2022 — it’s been a busy year!)

The Wongchhu Sherpa Memorial Hospital Tapting. The students selected for the scholarships live in the general area, located in Khamding, Solukhumbu, Nepal. Please note the new birthing center on the far left. Look! There’s the one and only Rudra Rai, painting the name on the hospital roof. Jam Jam, Rudra!

We’re so pleased to present to you our two scholarships, and the background behind them.

The Gary McLean Scholarship

Our friend, Gary McLean, was going to be the captain of this program. A frequent traveler and teacher in Nepal, Gary was keen to get our program off the ground and get students into school. As a nurse and paramedic, Gary understood the good that this level of education could bring to a young person. And that the chance to get a great paying job virtually anywhere in the world would change not only the student’s life, but provide income to the student’s family in the Solukhumbu as well. On Gary’s final evening, before his sudden death, we spoke about this program and what it would offer. I am still shaken and have an overwhelming sadness that Gary is not here to meet and help the students. Part of the difficulties in getting this off the ground has been not having Gary here with his experience, empathy, drive and personality to make it happen. 

It is in respect to Gary, his wife Kim and all of the firefighters, hospital staff and friends that knew him, that we offer this scholarship, a complete diploma for a bachelor level medical degree in nursing.

Gary McLean was a frequent visitor to Nepal where he taught medical classes and trekked. Here, he was on his way to Everest Base Camp.

The Charlie Noxon Scholarship 

We asked Charlie’s father, author and painter Christopher Noxon, to tell us a bit about Charlie:

Charlie Noxon grew up in Los Angeles and majored in East Asian studies and economics at Columbia University. He loved to argue about philosophy, take long meandering walks through Manhattan and eat massive meals of Chinese food. At parties, he’d search out little kids and older people. As a kid he liked to lug around copies of impressive seeming books (“Infinite Jest” was a favorite – also the Henry Kissinger biography). He was curious, funny, cordial and kind, known for his silly sense of humor and intense intellect. 

He died on December 31 2019 while skiing with his family in Utah. His death was a shock – Charlie Noxon had so much more to give and his family and friends have been left to wonder what he would have done. While he was home in LA and his adopted home of New York City, he loved the mountains and was happy to join his father on hiking trips around Southern California. He’s remembered with the deepest love by his sister Eliza, his brother Oscar, his mother Jenji and his dad, Christopher. His family is honored to have his name associated with Musa Masala and hopes that his spirit and memory help carry those who participate in this program through their own journeys.

Charlie Noxon on Strawberry Peak in the Angeles National Forest with his father, Christopher Noxon.

Scholarship criteria

Each scholarship will be offered yearly to a student in the Solukhumbu District, where the Wongchhu Sherpa Memorial Hospital is located. The following criteria determine applicants,

  1. Born or raised in the area of the Wongchhu Sherpa Memorial Hospital
  2. Grades that will allow them to test for acceptance to a school
  3. Availability for room and board in the Kathmandu area for school
  4. A desire for a career in nursing or a medical technical specialty
  5. Passing the entrance exams
  6. Presenting a letter to the acceptance committee

The applicants will be chosen by the board of the Himalayan Yokpu Foundation.

The Himalayan Yokpu Foundation will find a suitable school where the student can be accepted and they will enroll the student and pay all appropriate fees with funds provided by Musa Masala.

At this time, the cost for one student to attend an accredited nursing program for the three year PCR degree, is around $6,000 per student. 

We are now in the process of creating a student support system that will be a place where the students can go for assistance and support with their curriculum and learning English. This system will also help the Himalayan Yokpu Foundation in choosing students and preparing those applicants for their entrance exams. More on that in a future post.

All of us at Musa Masala, the Himalayan Yokpu Foundation and Wongchhu Peak Promotion are thrilled to be able to help in educating students in the Solukhumbu. Bringing them into the medical community where they will be helping others adds to our excitement. The theme of one kindness spreading goodwill to others drives this program.

We thank our donors who made this possible, the parents of the students who made sure their children would get the education necessary to take this next step, and the students who are walking into a new world of possibilities.

If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to the Musa Masala scholarship fund, click here.

Coming up next month, meet the students and support team! Jam Jam!!

— Mike Ji