The project

The word Janma is Nepalese and means 'birth'. The idea for this project was born on an evening in November 2013 in Lukla (Nepalese Himalayas) over a diner with Nicole Niquille, founder of the Pasang Lhamu - Nicolle Niquille Hospital Lukla. The topic of discussion was the high maternal and infant mortality in Nepal. Since its opening, the hospital also offers maternity care and child delivery services. Therefore, the guiding question was: how can expectant mothers be convinced to give birth in the hospital? The answer was simple: through a system of godparenthood. For every child born in the hospital we find a godparent, through whose contribution the school fees for the child are covered until the end of the 10th school year.


Since the beginning of Janma we were able to find over 267 godparents.

The godparents support our project and help through financial contributions to disburden the parents and guarantee the school education of the children. The godparents receive the birth certificate as well as pictures of their godchild. Through a personal login on the Janma-Website it is possible to monitor the godparenthood as well as the status of the payments at all times.


Already 329 children born at the PLNN-Hospital are part of the project.

For these children we were able to find godparents, which cover the school fees for over 10 years. This relieves the families that are often living in poor conditions significantly and contributes to keeping the children at school by avoiding them to drop out early due to the lack of finances.


Sponsorship Contributions – The Janma association guarantees that 100% of the sponsorship contributions reach the families in the Himalayas.

The families receive CHF 220.- per year starting with the school enrollment of the child. The sum will be handed over in cash after the child turns four at the beginning of each school year by the administration of the Pasang Lhamu - Nicole Niquille Hospital and the representatives of the association.


1. Reduction of maternal and infant mortality in the Himalayas.

2. Motivation of the parents to give birth in the PLNN-Hospital.

3. Guarantee of the child's school education

Nepal has still one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. This can be traced back to poor medical care (especially in the Himalayan region) and through the often catastrophic hygienic conditions during home childbirth. Long journeys and the fear of costs are reasons for the high rate of home childbirths. The project covers per family a maximum of two children.

Sponsorship COMMISSION

The project was launched in 2013 by Rob Lewis and Rolf Loepfe. In February 2014, the non-profit association Janma Children's Education Fund Nepal PLNN Hospital Lukla was founded. In summer 2019, the association was dissolved and Janma was fully integrated into the Fondation Nicole Niquille.

Janma is run on a voluntary basis by the Sponsorship Commission. Frédérique Répond-Bütikofer, Vice President of the Fondation Nicole Niquille, is responsible for the project within the foundation.

Founder, coordination and administration Nepal - Switzerland, photography and film

Founder, Strategic Communication, Media

Head of Administration Sponsorship Management (FR)

Administration (DE) Sponsorship management and communication

Co-founder, Fundraising

Co-founder, Fundraising

PLNN – Pasang Lhamu Nicole Niquille Hospital

Former climber and first Swiss female alpine guide Nicole Niquille founded and built the hospital together with her husband Marco Vuadens. The hospital opened in 2005 and is run with Nepalese personnel.

The PLNN Hospital makes an important contribution to the medical care of the people in the Solukhumbu District. Patients walk up to three days through rough terrain to arrive at the hospital for medical treatment.

Locals in poor financial situation receive treatment for free at the hospital.

Nicole Niquille

Nicole Niquille grew up in the region of Charmey in the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. She completed her studies as a secondary teacher. 1975 she took up climbing. Together with Erhard Loretan she undertook demanding tours in the Alps and the Himalayas, among others climbing K2 and Mt. Everest from the Tibetan side. In 1986 she received the mountain guide diploma as the first Swiss woman. The documentary film „Faces of Switzerland“, 1991, portrays her as a mountain guide climbing the Zinalrothorn with a client.

In May 1994 she suffered cerebral injuries impeding her mobility. After spending 20 months in rehabilitation she passed the examination as innkeeper and for the next 14 years she managed the Restaurant Lac de Taney in the Alps of the canton of Wallis.

Together with her husband Marco Vuadens she opened in 2005 the PLNN Hospital in Lukla. She is honorary member of the Swiss Mountain Guide Association.