Yoga For The Soul Retreats is committed to collaborating with environmentally ethical and socially conscious businesses which do good in the world.
That means you can be sure that your retreat is supporting people who strive every single day to make a positive impact in the place they were born, live, and work.
And 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking is doing just that — in a big way! 3 Sisters is a multi-faceted business and NGO which trains and employs Nepalese women as trekking guides. This kind of work is male-dominated in Nepal (and, in fact, around the world); but 3 Sisters is working hard to change that.
Who are the 3 sisters?
The sisters are Lucky, Nicky and Dicky, who grew up in a small town in Nepal. The three of them were a solid team right from the start. Now, they thrive on working together and sharing the experiences they each gained individually earlier in their careers.
I spoke to Lucky to get some insider knowledge on the story of 3 Sisters, and tell you more about the brilliant work these sisters are doing!
How it all began
The company was founded in 1998, by Lucky, Nicky and Dicky who ran a guesthouse and restaurant together. They were meeting visitors from all over the world — mostly women, who shared their tales of travelling and trekking in Nepal.
Some of their guests told them about bad experiences they’d had with male trekking guides. At that time, there were no female guides in Nepal — it simply wasn’t a profession that was open to women.
So Lucky and her sisters saw an opportunity: an adventure company which employed women as guides. A welcome change for female travellers who wanted to feel safe and at ease.
Although Lucky had already completed mountaineering training, she wasn’t sure if it would be possible for women to become successful trek leaders in Nepal. But, resourceful and determined, she set out to discover whether it could be done.
She headed into the mountains and shared her idea with people she met along the way, and received an incredibly positive response.
Her plan was welcomed and encouraged — especially by women.
Why did they want to work with women?
The sisters’ plan wasn’t only to provide a better service to female travellers. It was also a way for them to provide opportunities to Nepalese women from remote areas and poor families.
In her early 20s, Lucky had spent time travelling around her country. She’d met women in remote areas all over Nepal who had no access to education or work opportunities. Responsible for taking care of families, domestic work and farming duties, they had few choices and no facilities to support them.
Women in Nepal in general aren’t often expected to go out and have fulfilling careers. But the least financially and socially privileged women are particularly restricted.
Lucky thought, “How can I help?”
But she was young and only just beginning her own career; she didn’t know what to offer at the time.
“Women should support women,” Lucky told me. And she’s right: if we’re able to, we should help other women understand their strength and potential. Help them understand who they are.
So, when the sisters embarked on their trekking venture, Lucky knew that it was those women she wanted to bring on board — women who, by coincidence of circumstance, didn’t have lots of opportunities available to them.
And she knew they’d be capable: they had the physical strength, experience of working outdoors, and the ability to move through the environment with skill.
Supporting the Development of Women
The first employees of 3 Sisters did well — but they struggled due to lack of education. Lucky knew they had the stamina for the job, but she realised they would benefit from more support.
So, she and her sisters launched a training program and registered an NGO called Empowering Women of Nepal. The focus was on supporting women and offering them opportunities and new skills — leading to choices, and the freedom to take control of their own lives.
Today, more than 1000 women have gone through their training program. Over 100 of those women are working for 3 Sisters. And others have become freelance trekking guides; started working for other adventure experience companies; or even started their own businesses.
This is new in Nepal — and it’s being replicated elsewhere, too.
What do the customers think?
The feedback that 3 Sisters has received from its customers is overwhelmingly positive. And indeed, past Yoga For The Soul Retreats attendees have told me how much they enjoyed their experience with the trek leaders and porters!
The guides and porters are helpful, encouraging and supportive, and fully engaged with their groups. They’re interesting and interested.
There’s something special about having women as guides. There’s a more personal and caring relationship which isn’t muted by gender stereotypes or prejudice, or by discomfort on one side. Everyone can be themselves.
In Lucky’s words, “At the beginning they are strangers, but when they come back from the trek they’re like family.”
Proud to work with 3 Sisters
Lucky says she and her sisters are “more and more inspired” the more they work with women and see powerful changes taking place as a result of training and trust.
The business and NGO have grown organically; with each step building on the last. The sisters took note every time a need presented itself to them: a need for female trekking guides; a need for training; a need for nurturing support. And they’ve acted to answer those needs.
Three sisters stepped up to empower women of Nepal. And the result is a brilliant business that recognises the value of women.
The sisters are proud of the women they work with — and Yoga For The Soul Retreats is proud to work with 3 Sisters!