WASHINGTON CITY — One woman with a passion for educating underprivileged children in Nepal is mixing her love for the extreme by hiking the equivalent of Mount Everest in just 36 hours as a charity fundraiser that will directly benefit children.
“Sending their kids to school in Nepal is really not possible for most because they’re just focused on putting food on the table and feeding their bellies and trying to survive,” Dayna Boshard said. “That’s why I’m so passionate about the cause.”
Boshard, owner of Benchmark Barbershop in Washington City and an avid adventurer, said that hiking, fitness and training have been a big part of her life since she was a child. From a love of sports that evolved into time spent in the great outdoors, she’s been known to push her own limits – and loves every second of it.
Six years ago, Boshard moved to Southern Utah, where she prepared to open her barbershop. When friends who owned a humanitarian organization knew about her interest in the Himalayas, Tibet and the culture there, they introduced her to Eternal Hope International, an organization located in Nepal.
“Eternal Hope International has a mission to help educate children who live in the slums, whose families live on less than $3 a day and don’t have access to the basic rights we have in America. In Nepal, education is a privilege, not a right,” Boshard said.
Inspired by the nonprofit’s mission, Boshard decided she wanted to give back through her barbershop business. She built a purpose-driven model into Benchmark, where she takes 1.0 % of all our haircuts, beard trims and shaves and donates that annually to Eternal Hope International.
The money goes toward school supplies, hygiene kits and dental and health camps, as well as menstrual hygiene and education. The organization’s program has grown from just five students to over 500, impacting the livelihoods of many generations to come.
“It’s been an amazing experience to be a part of that,” Boshard said. “The families that benefit are happy, humble people. Eternal Hope International does a really good job of keeping their donors and sponsors updated and showing what the kids and families are doing along with their camps. It’s awesome.”
In 2020, Boshard said she ran across an ad on Instagram for an event called 29029 Everesting. The event offers up to 250 participants an experience to hike the elevation equivalent of Everest without actually going to Everest – 29,029 feet in 29 miles.
“The basic gist of it is that you hike 13 ascents, each ascent is 2.3 miles with 2,300 feet of elevation gain – 1,000 feet of elevation with every mile,” Boshard said. “Then you ride the gondola down and repeat. You have 36 hours to complete it.”
As 2022 approached, Boshard was ready to take on the challenge and signed up for the upcoming event, which will take place on Aug. 19-20 at Snow Basin Resort in Ogden. She has been training for the event since January and also completed a mini, 12-hour version of the event to prepare.
Eternal Hope International founders Usha and Randall Wall told her their goal was to build a new job skills training center for their student graduates.
As the students moved through the school program, they wanted the ability to offer trades and career options for the first time. When she heard about the project, she was psyched and thought that experiencing something big while also giving back in a big way would be the perfect plan for the upcoming event.
The goal of the Everesting event is not only to complete the challenging hike but also to raise $30,000 to fund the new job skills training center in Nepal through Eternal Hope International. Because the dollar is so strong in Nepal, Boshard said that $30,000 likely will cover all of the costs to build.
The only item it will not cover is the land, but the organization already has land purchased. There are two main hubs headquartered in Katmandu and Chitwan, Nepal, which are where the students are educated, with a goal to expand into remote villages in the future.
“I guess I look at it like, we have so many opportunities around us. We have so many resources. Education is never a question, it’s just there. We have so much around us and these people are fighting for every little bit of opportunity, and that’s where the idea came to incorporate a fundraiser with my hike.”
The training center will be made of earthbag construction, a process that uses native soils and materials to create large bricks. The building is then stuccoed and finished, with a result that looks much like a nice house that is both earthquake and flood resistant. This type of build keeps the cost low while still maintaining the needs and longevity.
“I’m trying to get as many individuals and businesses on board as possible because $30,000 is a sizable amount,” Boshard said. “That is a challenge in itself – to raise that kind of money – but I also know it’s possible. There are individuals and businesses that care about giving back and want to make a difference.”
Currently, Boshard said she has been able to raise $6,410. With a goal to raise $30,000 by midnight on Aug. 20, she is looking for about another $24,000 to meet her goal.
“This isn’t really about me, it’s about them,” Boshard said. “I love nothing more than a challenge for myself but I also love seeing people reach their potential in whatever it is they are trying to do. And this way they will have an opportunity to probably exceed their potential of what they ever even thought was possible for them.”
To donate directly to the Everesting charity hike that will fund the new job skills training center in Nepal, click here. Eternal Hope International is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and all donations are tax-deductible. They also offer the ability to sponsor a child for $20 per month. These donations allow children to attend school, receive a school uniform, get a daily vitamin and also have lunch provided.
“I just want to get the message out there, share the story and hope that people will believe in this as much as I do and see the potential of making an incredible impact in people’s lives,” Boshard said.
Video clips courtesy of Jack Turner.
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