From Switzerland to Nepal on foot: A man’s journey for a cause

Published On: December 15, 2022 01:47 PM NPT By: Enika Rai

KATHMANDU, Dec 15: Switzerland's Kellenberger Thomas who recently arrived in Nepal on foot has dedicated his journey to the memory of his mother for charity. This very personal journey of his has been focused on 'Walk for a Cause'. He has now arrived in Nepal after going on a walk to collect financial funds for the charity organization 'Phil Island Kids International Foundation' which he founded. He started his journey from Interlake in Switzerland on August 25, 2021, and it has taken him about 15 months to reach Nepal.

Kellenberger, who is undertaking an ambitious trek of 15,000 kilometers, said, "If there are no unexpected obstacles during the journey, it will take me almost two years to complete the journey." During the journey, he will visit 22 countries. He started his journey from Interlaken in Switzerland on August 25, 2021 and arrived in Asia via Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Greece and Turkey. At present, he is in Nepal.

In 2007, Kellenberger, who turned 40 recently, opened an organization called Phil Island Kids International Foundation in the Philippines. Kellenberger said, "I started this organization at a young age, when I was 25 years old." This organization works for child protection, poverty alleviation and community development. It advocates issues such as poverty, human trafficking, safe housing, education, rights, and rights for children and adolescents exposed to domestic and sexual violence. In this way, while working for the organization, in 2020, when his mother was diagnosed with cancer, he had to return to Switzerland to take care of her.

He completely left the charity organization he had founded to return to the service of his sick mother in Switzerland. After he moved to Switzerland, the co-founder took over the leadership of the organization in the Philippines. 

After his mother's death, Kellenberger lived in Switzerland for a while. Then he felt he had to go back to the Philippines. However, he didn't think it was appropriate to go there and work again as the leader of the organization. He said that the organization was running well and he did not think it was appropriate to be actively involved in it, thinking that he would be interfering if he became the head of the organization again.

On the one hand, Kellenberger had to come out of the pain of losing his mother, and on the other, he had to get involved in some work. In such a situation, he wanted to travel. Thinking that this was the best time to fulfill his dream of a long journey, which was put on hold after he started the NGO at a young age, he decided to embark upon this journey.

At first, he made up his mind to go on a pilgrimage to the famous pilgrimage site in north-south Spain, which is considered a symbol of the struggle of Spanish Christians against Islam. However, he didn’t know what to do when he went to Spain. So, as he thought that he would eventually return to the Philippines, he decided to walk to the Philippines. Although the journey was long, he decided to walk from Switzerland to Vietnam. From Vietnam he went to the northern Philippines.

During this time, he decided to connect his journey not only with dreams but also with responsibilities. He wanted to combine the trip with charity work to raise funds for the Phil Island Kids International Foundation, which he had founded. Financial and other support to the organization was decreasing due to COVID-19. He said that in such a situation, he had to combine his personal journey with the interests of the organization.

Kellenberger has so far crossed 17 countries on foot. Now he is in Nepal. He said that he entered Nepal from Sunauli on November 7 and reached Pokhara via Butwal, Bardia National Park. He came from Pokhara to Kathmandu via Gorkha.

Currently in Kathmandu, he is inspecting and observing colleges and NGOs. He is busy meeting with organizations that work with children that are connected to the purpose of his trip. He informed people about the Philippines-based 'Phil Island Kids International Foundation' and the purpose of his trip.

Informing that he will be staying in Kathmandu for the next two weeks, he said that he will end his journey by going to Jiri and various mountainous regions from Biratnagar and again through India to Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines. He said that he has walked 10,200 kilometers so far and still has 4,800 kilometers to cover on foot.

According to him, unexpected things have happened in his journey. He remembers, "I survived dangerous places such as mountains, jungles, deserts, and I almost died when a stone fell from above while walking on a normal road." He said that even though he had to face various dangers during the journey, he believed in himself and continued to move forward, and was able to arrive in Nepal.

He said that walking is the best meditation for him. His travels have become a means of raising financial resources for charity. The financial resources collected in this way will be spent on the welfare of dependent children and adolescents in the Philippines. He has connected this journey which he started to fill the void of his mother to charity.


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