Coast muso funds Nepalese orphanage which opens today
A SUNSHINE Coast man's dream will be realised today when an orphanage funded by his charity opens its doors in Nepal.
Noosa musician Oz Bayldon has worked tirelessly to see his vision realised, even playing gigs high up Mt Everest to raise money.
The Dhulikhel Shelter, or "Our Home", funded by Mr Bayldon's charity Music 4 Children, will accommodate 32 girls orphaned by the Nepalese Civil War, which raged for more than 10 years from 1996.
The shelter, just east of Kathmandu, will provide not only a stable home-like environment but also long-term educational and vocational programs designed to break the cycle of homelessness and give the girls essential life skills.
Mr Bayldon said the plan was for Dhulikhel Shelter to eventually be self-sustaining as far as is practical, using renewable energy sources and locally sourced materials.
After working on the project for many years, Mr Bayldon has flown out to Nepal to oversee today's formal opening.
"It will be an incredibly emotional moment for me to declare Our Home officially open," he said. "This is a project that has been close to my heart for many years now.
"The fantastic team both at Music 4 Children and Help Nepal, our affiliate volunteer organisation on the ground, have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and worked so unbelievably hard, for no financial reward, to see this vision realised.
"I am immensely proud of everyone who has been involved in getting us this far and feel confident that the children who will soon call Our Home their home, will be well looked after and given every opportunity to live happy and fulfilling lives.
"This is a very special day for all of us."
Mr Bayldon spent 20 years in London building up his volunteer-based charity to help improve the lives of orphaned and homeless children in Nepal and offer free creative education to children in the UK.
He returned to the Sunshine Coast with his wife and family in 2012 and has continued to run his charity from Noosa.
"We aim to break the negative cycles of homelessness, poverty, crime and abuse through music and extreme events," he said.
"When I first travelled through Nepal as a musician and saw a young disabled boy, I picked him up and walked with him for 50 metres to buy him food.
"I then saw many more kids there starving and it cost me less than $50 to feed them all.
"That was when I decided this was what I wanted to do with my life."
Mr Bayldon has played two record-breaking gigs on Mt Everest, walking for 16 days to reach the site.
"It's the hardest thing I've ever done. I felt like an asthmatic 90-year-old climbing a very steep hill," he said at the time.
The enormity of his feat became even more impressive recently when the mountain flexed its mucles, killing 39 trekkers and leaving hundreds stranded.