Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nepali girls kayak

Here’s a project I love the story behind—something my sister Clio put me on to.

A small team of female raft guides and kayak instructors from around the world, including NZ, Sweden and the US, have come together to undertake a project in Nepal. The rafting and kayaking industry in Nepal is booming, which is great for the nation, however currently there is 0% Nepali women working in the industry as they are not given the same opportunities as the local Nepali men. And so the project is to set up a Nepali Girls Kayaking Club and to teach them how to paddle safely. The will also put these keen Nepali women through a comprehensive raft guide training programme in order to give them a helping hand and equal opportunities into the local rafting industry.

The plan is to take over from NZ, and elsewhere, a bunch of kayaks and equipment to kickstart the Nepali Girls kayaking Club into action. Sophie Hoskins and her NZ team of instructors needs as much support as they can get—and it’s great to see such notable companies as Kokatat and Icebreaker as sponsors. They are currently looking for any donations (and financial aid or second-hand white water kayaks and equipment are all a big help!).

The story resonates—in 1996, when I spent a few weeks tramping in Nepal with one of my idols Doug Scott, and his company, Community Action Treks, a handful of our sherpas were young women—we called them "sherpettes"—around 15 to 18-years-old. We were told that having this opportunity to work was huge for them—many of them had been "given" away as young brides from poor villages, who now found themselves living in squalor in Kathmandu, abused by older husbands. Working as sherpettes gave them new lives. You could tell that they were happy as they snuggled together at night, giggling and chatting away, from carrying loads over long days that were as heavy as the men's.


1 comment:

Ginger Travis said...

KiwiBird, glad you're back!