What was the motivation or defining moment that led to create this innovation? Tell us the story.
In 1993 I and my sisters were running a restaurant and lodge in Pokhara. A group of young female trekkers from Australia and Denmark came to us and told us of difficulties with male guides—drunkenness, sexual advances, and an uncomfortable atmosphere. Later in the guesthouse I saw those guides pushing the young women to trek even though they were not feeling well. They went out anyway, under pressure from the guides, and later came back ill, crying, and frightened. I thought, how can this situation be changed? I had been trained in India as a mountaineer, so I had some idea of how the situation could be improved for those women. Years earlier, during a field visit to the far west, I had seen the harsh lifestyles of the women there. With their husbands and brothers gone to India, women were abandoned in the dry, uncultivated landscape of western Nepal. I dreamed of working to support them. It occurred to my sisters and me that training female guides would not only help the female trekkers, but provide employment for those Nepalese women.
Please tell us about the social innovator behind this initiative
Working for an NGO (1986-87), I was assigned to work in western Nepal and was shocked to see how miserable and destitute the rural women’s lives were. I longed to do something to support them. Later I attended the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute’s program which changed my life. Running a guesthouse in Pokhara with my sisters, solo women travelers complained of harassment from male guides and porters. They asked me to guide them in the Himalayas and 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking was born.