Norlha was founded in 2005, in Switzerland, and today has delegations in several European countries. This secular NGO, whose membership consists mainly of private individuals from all walks of life, provides development assistance through various projects in Tibetan areas of China, in Bhutan and in Nepal, in cooperation with local partners, with an aim to help communities achieve self-sufficiency. Norlha works with Translators without Borders for the translation of documents mainly to and from French and English, as well as French into German and Spanish.
Norlha’s Partnerships Manager and Gender Equality Coordinator, Cosima Thommen, spoke with us about her work and the NGO’s partnership with Translators without Borders. “I seek out project financing and establish partnerships with organizations that share our vision and goals, in order to create a bridge of solidarity between the Swiss Alps and the Himalayas. My team and I also develop a regional program for Himalayan women which promotes gender equality, strengthening the role of women in the region’s development. Before my current position, I spent a year and a half in the Tibetan regions of China as Norlha’s Program Director for China. My degrees are in project management and Chinese, so being able to contribute to the improvement of living conditions in the Himalayas with Norlha is a great pleasure!”
Thanks to Translators without Borders’ work for Norlha, the NGO has been able to reduce their operating expenses, freeing up funds that may then go directly to Norlha projects. As Thommen explains, “Translators without Borders has helped us improve the quality of our communications and our financing efforts, thanks to well-written texts with correct terminology. Recently, Translators without Borders helped us translate a presentation of one of our projects in Nepal, and with that, we were able to gain initial financing for it! TWB also helped us translate our 2012 annual report from French into English, an excellent communication tool that we will be able to use to introduce Norlha to even more people.”
Norlha benefits from local personnel in the Himalayas for translation into regional dialects. “We mainly [request Translators without Borders to] translate from French into English, German, and Spanish, and from English into French. In the regions where we work, there are dozens of local dialects. With our personnel on the ground, we are able to translate documents for improving knowledge on hygiene, environmental protection, and so forth.” These communication tools are essential towards meeting Norlha’s goals of improved healthcare, nutrition, education, and the environmental conditions for indigenous populations.
By Anna Stevenson, Owner/Editor at Editions Amnis