Nepal is a world away in terms of both physical distance and lifestyle from the day-to-day running of a beauty salon in Port Macquarie … Khym Mountain, co-owner of Serenity Makeup and Beauty in Murray Street, has a passion for helping others. Her work with International Mission Ministries has changed the way she sees the world, and she’s determined to help in whatever way she can …
Hi Khym. Please introduce yourself and your family.
I’m married to Troy; we have four daughters and two grandchildren. Life is busy, but the best kind of busy! I’m very blessed to be able to fill my days working in an industry I love and to be surrounded by family and friends.
I moved to Port Macquarie with my parents and three brothers in 1987. My parents started Port Patios and are now retired, my brothers started Holiday Coast Patios and now Mark owns Flynns Beach Laundromat and Matthew owns Studio 3 Espresso, next door to my beauty salon.
What’s your day job?
My daughter, Amber, and I own Serenity Makeup and Beauty in Murray Street; we’ve had the salon for four years. We absolutely love what we do. We offer everything in beauty, from massage and facials to acrylic nails and pedicures.
Why are you passionate about helping others?
I have always been compassionate and empathetic, and I think travelling to countries where people are not as fortunate as us definitely got me thinking there has to be more I can do. I made some contacts in Thailand and after a couple of trips last year, I realised that teens and young adults really are at such risk; with a lack of education and skills for employment, these kids have limited futures. I have plans to help facilitate such education and skills through scholarships, which will also be delivered with practical guidance to see them into adulthood.
Also locally I would like to connect with youth and young adults who may be in need of some guidance/mentoring to change their current situation. I have some more planning to do, but when that is up and running I will give you an update!
Recently you went to Nepal; how did that come about?
After a conversation about my thoughts for helping youth overseas with Ross Nancarrow, who is the founder of International Mission Ministries (IMM), I was fortunate enough to be invited on a trip to Nepal to work alongside both Ross and Janelle, who handles all the administration for IMM. Janelle and Ross have spent many years involved in missionary work and have massive hearts for Nepal.
It was an amazing trip; the work that IMM is doing in Nepal is truly making a difference to the Nepali people.
Tell us more about IMM.
IMM exists to facilitate education and support for people disadvantaged by isolation, poverty and limited life choices. As a Christian based group, we facilitate training and education for community leaders, funding for community health and clean water projects, churches and sponsorships for children who are genuinely orphaned or abandoned and “at risk” of being trafficked into slavery or prostitution.
IMM’s current focus is in Nepal, where we are partnering with community workers and a number of children’s community homes to provide safety and protection for children and life options for people in isolated communities.
Describe your personal experience in Nepal.
To me, Nepal was beautiful, decrepit, dry, spectacular, sad and breathtaking, all wrapped up in one. It really is another world! We travelled from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi in the far west; we were there to visit children’s homes and to interview children who needed to be placed in homes that are supported by IMM.
It was definitely not a sunbathing, cocktail drinking holiday break from work; it was heart wrenching to see the desperation in the eyes of a mother wanting to hand her children over to you, because her husband had died and she had no job, no food, no money, no options but to give her children up.
I will never forget the look in a little boy’s eyes as he sat in front of me, knowing that he was not going to go back home to see his mother and siblings again, because being handed over to this children’s home was his better option … his dry little hand in mine, as I tried to console him, tore my heart out. This feeling will push me forward to try to bring hope to as many as I can.
IMM is offering hope, supporting 80 – 100 children across Nepal. Ross personally delivers any money from supporters to the homes, which is reassuring for anybody wanting to support IMM in its mission to change the future of these young children.
On returning home and attempting to connect my experiences and my heartache for the people in Nepal or Thailand, or wherever on this Earth life does not feel just or humane, I realised one thing. We have become way too immune to the story, the images, the reality that some people are living, whether it be in our neighbourhood or across the water, and if we can love just one person, make their life better and give them hope – we should.
Who’s the young boy you’ve sponsored?
Aashish is 11 years old. His father died eight years ago, when Aashish was just three. He was killed in a Maoist uprising, fighting for freedom for the Nepali people (over 17,000 people lost their lives). Since his death, Aashish’s mother, Sharati, has struggled to take care of Aashish and his two sisters. There are no family members to help them. They live in a small wooden house, and Sharati finds work labouring on the roads carrying rocks and stones, or working in people’s fields. Sponsoring Aashish enables him to receive a good education and provides him with greater opportunities for the future.
How can readers assist IMM in Nepal?
Readers can assist IMM through contributions and sponsorships of our programmes. Current community programmes include a sewing education programme for impoverished women and resourcing a very poor school in Far West Nepal. We are also involved in delivering women’s health education via the “Days for Girls” programme in Nepal. Visit: imm.org.au
Interview: Jo Robinson.