The Voice is Female · Empowering women in Nepal

Kilian Jornet Fundation
March 8, 2023
Kilian Jornet Fundation
March 8, 2023

Interviewing Lucky Chhetri. Empowering women in Nepal.

How did the idea of the 3 sistersadevnturetrek started?   

Tourism was rapidly booming in Nepal in 1990’. However women participation was rare and countable. During that time, we, three sisters, were managing our guest house independently where women trekkers and travelers shared their fun and threat travel/ trekking experiences. With their stories we immediately realized the possibilities of women’s involvement in tourism. However, it was not easy to bring women into a patriarchal society. Mountaineering training and my past visit in the remote mountain areas of west Nepal helped us to initiate a trekking company for women by women.

Which is the main goal of the organization?

The main goal of our organization is to encourage our fellow Nepali sisters to become self-supportive, independent and decision-making women.

In which areas are you based?

We are based in Pokhara, Gandaki province which is 200 kms away from Kathmandu. Pokhara is a beautiful touristic town, and foothill of Annapurna Mountain ranges. Most of the Annapurna trekking begins from here.

How is the situation for women in Nepal to study and work as mountain guides?

Nowadays the situation has improved for women in Nepal. The enrollment rate is getting better in the school, but the dropout rate is still high in comparison to men. Women have understood the value of education and are aware about their future. Most women are looking for opportunities to be self-reliant. So trekking guides are also becoming an opportunity for women to lead their better future. In the beginning mostly women that were socially disadvantaged joined us, but now even college girls are participating in our training program and willing to be mountain guides.

What kind of barriers do you/ women find when they decide to become a mountain guide?

Three decades ago, social and cultural issues were the biggest challenge to be a woman mountain guide. Nepal is a traditional and patriarchal society with no choice of their future. Women can’t dream to lead their own life. However, we paved a path for women who live in the mountain areas. We are providing free training and hostel facilities for women who want to learn skills and knowledge to be a trekking guide. After the training program every participant enters into the paid apprenticeship program, then slowly they become an independent trekking guide.

What would be your advice for a little girl that wants to become a mountain guide in Nepal?

Working as a mountain guide ourselves we have found this could be a very interesting job. Being able to explore our own country, this can boost up our physical condition, learn a lot from sharing our knowledge and experiences with many different trekkers, get an opportunity to learn different languages, can build up confident and same time we can earn money as well. So my advice to a little girl would be that this is a very good job to uplift your life in a short time in many ways.

How do you organize the courses? How much time does it take to become a mountain guide?

In Nepal there are four seasons out of which two are good for trekking. During the slow trekking season we do organize basic female trekking guide training, and many other different training programs plus regular english training. We also organize different refreshment training programs as per the situation and our senior guides’ requirements.

Nowadays a lot of people are going to the Himalayas to trek there, do you find this is creating some effect to the environment?

In Nepal, Himalayas are the main source of income and people are selling mountains as a tourism product and many people are coming to Nepal for trekking and mountaineering. These days’ even Nepali young people are trekking in the Himalayas. Unfortunately, we Nepalese, are not serious and aware about the environment, and this is also creating some effects to the environment. Another factor is that local villagers are desperate to build roads. Most of the Annapurna area’s road has been built without any plan. That’s also creating a major cause of soil erosion and landslides and floods. Because of all these factors, climate change is becoming a great threat for the mountains, people and the tourism entrepreneurs of Nepal.

Within your organization, do you have any protocols to follow in terms of sustainability?

We are conscious of these factors, we provide training to all our staff to know about our environment. And how can we regulate existing natural sources without damaging our environment.