Female Leadership Academy in Nepal
In late 2014, Shailee and her team started training a group of young female survivors of sex trafficking. The women were trafficked to India in their early teens and even as young as 12. The series of their epic battle continued from one horror to another: running away from their captors, finding their way back to Nepal, family reconciliation, emotional-physical-social recovery, legal battles, recovery of confidence and self-esteem. After fording such major challenges at a very young age, they were stuck in low paying jobs that did not promise any career or growth. Their social standing did not offer them dignity or power. All of this was because, in addition to their struggle they did not have necessary job skills and lacked formal education. Hence, the team started a long term program to mentor and train them so that their lives could be fully transformed. A few years later, we took another batch of young women that included survivors of trafficking, rape, child labor and similar abuses.
Two pilot batches of the program have been highly successful. Here are some testimonials from our trainees-
Miss TK: ‘I was weak, poor and the society looked at me with pity or disgrace. I met the Seven Summits Women Team when I was 19 years old. At that time, I was scared for my future. Today my life has completely transformed. I guide western clients on Himalayan peaks. I make more money than anyone around me can imagine. And young girls in my village tell me they want to be like me. I have found strength, financial freedom and true dignity. Because of the Seven Summits sisters I saw a path and I’m here today. It is now time for me to show the path to my other survivor sisters.”
Miss M: “No child should go through the terror that I have been through. I am still young. It took a lot of work for me to rebuild myself. Today my education has continued. Thanks to the Seven Summits sisters my academics have improved significantly. And I guide men much bigger and stronger than me. They trust me with their lives on the rope we share. I feel powerful, physically, mentally, & financially.”
Based on the success of the pilot batches, the team is now launching ‘Female Leadership Academy’, a two-year training and mentorship program. The program will provide training to 125 rural women in Nepal. Training includes English language lessons, computer classes, confidence building, trauma healing, self defense, introduction to outdoor industry, interaction with female role models from various sectors and more. In the second year, the trainees will be mentored towards specialized professional career development.
The project is led by the Seven Summits Women Team in Nepal and the US-based sister non-profit Courageous Girls.