It’s been a week since we waved goodbye to these 9 brilliant women who joined us on our women empowering women trip, making it the 7th trip we’ve taken to Nepal.
We’re grateful that they chose to travel this way. Through the trip's contribution to our work in Nepal and through the women-led organisations we support through our tourism, the trip opens opportunities for women and girls, who have experienced adversity, discrimination, trafficking and violence.
But who is empowering who? It is our intention that it goes both ways, that the trips are a shared learning experience.
You can think of it a bit like Nepal’s roads where everything and everyone is going all directions (with the occasional cow added into the mix!). Despite the different destinations, the shared journey is the fun bit!
Emerging unscathed from the Nepali traffic, here's what we learnt on our most recent trip.
We have more shared experiences than those which set us apart.
We met with women from all walks of life - a high altitude marathon runner, women rebuilding from violence and trauma, successful business owners and women whose livelihoods rely on their skilled hands - weavers, silversmiths and screen printers. Whether it’s experiences with systems and traditions that hold women back, motherhood, the balancing act, navigating work or giggling about boys as teens, there is a lot we share!
Women’s work holds up families, communities and societies, yet it often goes unrecognised.
At a cotton screen printing workshop on the outskirts of Kathmandu, we learnt about a woman’s day in Nepal. Women rise early, often before the family to clean, prepare the morning meal of dal baht (a meal of multiple steps, no vegemite on toast here!), usually eaten mid morning, and get the children and her husband ready for the day.
Women have often done 5 hours of work before they’ve even arrived at work. Women shoulder more than 3 times the amount of unpaid labour as their male counterparts. They take on a significant share of the agricultural work, yet only 11% of women own land.
Run by 2 Nepali sisters, the screen printing workshop offered flexibility, training and a supportive community for women, encouraging them to bring their children to work if needed or take days off to work in the fields at harvesting time.
Not all women in Nepal would have this opportunity. At our partner organisation, we learnt that some women, with no education opportunities and driven to live free of poverty, had few options but to take jobs in Kathmandu’s sex industry, where they were vulnerable to violence and trafficking. We were reminded time and time again of the resilience of women that persevere despite the challenges.
And lastly....A heated game of Uno bridges all cultures and languages!
Want to join our 2020 Women Empowering Women trip to Nepal?
Let us know you're interested and we'll be in
touch when the dates are set.
Photos: Eliza Ackland