Helping Young Women in Nepal
"My alarm went off at 5:30 AM, I shifted and the freezing Himalayan breeze poured over my body like ice water. It doesn’t take long to wake up in an ice bath. After dressing, I went downstairs to the mess hall of the Teahouse and saw 15 pairs of tired eyes filled with drowsiness and excitement. The sky was clear and the sun rise lit up the tallest peaks in the world with a golden orange and like honey spread slowly down their majestic faces. Today we summit. All our dreams and hard work will be realized."
I have worked with an amazing organization called Raksha Nepal for years. They rescue and care for women and children who have suffered from sexual violence, exploitation, and abandonment. Allow me to break down the beautiful process how the organization works.
When the children enter the shelter, they are given or choose new names by which they go by in the shelter. Due to the dangerous nature of these cases, if people come looking for them, no one will know the real names. This also gives them an opportunity to start over.
The new children often arrive days after their assault. They are still jarred and the trauma is freshly setting in. They may be aggressive or silent and stand offish. The rest of the children handle the new children with patience and grace. Even when experiencing lashing out or aggressive behavior from a new child, the other children give them their space, because they understand exactly what is going on inside of them. They continually invite, feed, and care for the new children until they acclimate to their situation and realize they are safe.
The shelter provides all their meals and snacks. It provides education and tutoring and even has a mini van that safely takes the kids to and from their school. They have opportunities for music, art, and martial arts in the shelter as well as many other on going programs like shelter-wide public speaking events. Currently, the kids are learning yoga and some are getting instructor certificates.
They live by a schedule in which they rise at 5am to do chores, meditate, taekwondo, and finish any homework. They eat a simple breakfast at 8 am. They then prepare for school and finish homework and leave by 9:30 am to be at school by 10 am. They return home around 5 pm for snacks and more homework, playtime, tutoring, dinner, reading, family meeting, and in bed by 9 pm.
The consistency of the schedule, the opportunities, the radical inclusion, and compassion found at the shelter facilitate the healing process as the children grow through their traumas.
The kids are limited in their opportunities outside the shelter as their safety is a constant issue. However, I wanted them to experience the world beyond as well. I had climbed to Everest Base Camp and the idea came to my mind, "What if we took the girls on an adventure like this?"
So a hop skip and two years of fundraising and planning later, we were able to raise enough to fund an adventure trek for the oldest 15 girls! We paired adventure with a personal development curriculum for a more empowering experience. We hiked by day and held personal and leadership development discussions at night. The girls developed tools to reframe their mindsets, as well as built confidence and resilience throughout the trek. Additionally, no one can refute the healing power of being in nature.
I turned the project into a for-impact organization called Raksha Ascent, with a vision to empower underprivileged young women in Nepal through the means of adventure along with professional and personal development training.
Raksha Ascent is a small for-impact organization still in its beginnings and Téo wants to be apart of its growth and impact. As Téo grows, it will contribute a percentage of its profits to fund these treks and support these powerful young women!
Adventure is the most effective way for a person to stretch outside their comfort zone. They can see their capabilities in a setting in which they must rely on inner strength and confidence.
You can watch the video of Raksha Ascent's first trek by clicking here.
We are working to build adventures of a lifetime for these amazing girls!
You can donate directly to the organization by clicking here.
Will you join us?
- Jesse Breffle
Co-Founder of Teo Cacao
President of Raksha Ascent