The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, May 19, 2014, Page Page 3, Image 3

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May 19, 2014
Women reach the top in Nepal’s trekking industry
ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. An instructor at the
3 Sisters Adventure Trekking Company wears a helmet
as she prepares to provide lessons on climbing a rock
surface in Pokhara, Nepal. When Lucky, Dicky, and
Nicky Chettri tried to break into Nepal’s male-domi-
nated trekking industry 20 years ago, competitors tried
to run them out of business. They say men threatened
them, harassed them — even filed bogus police re-
ports against them. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
By Binaj Gurubacharya
The Associated Press
OKHARA, Nepal — When Lucky,
Dicky, and Nicky Chettri tried to
dominated trekking industry 20 years ago,
competitors tried to run them out of
business. They say men threatened them,
harassed them — even filed bogus police
reports against them.
“The men said this is a business for the
men and we should leave it alone,” said
Lucky, the eldest Chettri sister in the 3
Sisters Adventure Trekking Company.
“They would even accuse us of trying to
take away food from their table.”
Now the sisters have a booming business
and a waiting list of Nepalese women who
want to join their six-month training
program for mountain guides.
The rise of the Chettri sisters’ business
in many ways reflects the increasing clout
of women in Nepal, which remains in most
ways a deeply patriarchal country.
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing
Norgay first climbed Mount Everest in
1953, but it was another 40 years before
the first Nepali woman reached the peak.
Since then, women have made progress in
politics, education, and business.
About five percent of Nepali politicians
were female in 1990, but women won a
third of the seats in the 2008 parlia-
mentary election. Some discriminatory
laws have been changed, including one
that allowed only sons to inherit parental
Shailee Basnet, who led a 10-member
Nepali women’s team to Everest in 2008,
said the number of women in trekking and
mountaineering has risen as well, and she
gave credit to the Chettri sisters.
“They have started a trend for women to
take up this profession. Women guiding
foreign trekkers in the region has become a
normal thing now,” she said.
The Chettris came up with the idea of
opening a woman-run trekking agency
when they heard from foreign female
travellers who were harassed, even
sexually assaulted and threatened by their
own male guides while trekking remote
mountain trails.
“These girls were really afraid and felt
insecure,” said Lucky, 48, at their office
next to the picturesque Phewa lake.
The sisters once led trips themselves,
but had trouble finding more women who
knew trekking, spoke English, and were
willing to spend days walking with
foreigners away from home. Their solution
was to bring the women to Pokhara and
train them for months.
“At the beginning it was very unusual
for the women to join our program because
they had to leave their homes for many
days, working with westerners,” said
AirAsia to use Interpol system to check passports
laysia (AP) — Top Asian
budget carrier AirAsia says
it will become the world’s
first airline to check the
passports of all its passen-
gers against Interpol’s
global database of 42
million stolen or lost travel
documents by the end of
this month.
The disappearance of
Malaysia Airlines Flight
370 two months ago re-
vealed a gaping loophole in
aviation security when two
passengers were found to
have boarded the plane
with stolen passports. In-
terpol said it had informa-
tion on the theft of the pass-
ports but authorities had
not checked its database.
AirAsia, which is also
based in Malaysia, said it
will use Interpol’s “I-
Checkit” system to screen
passports when passengers
check in. This will be done
for its 600 daily interna-
tional flights using 100
airports across the region,
it said.
“AirAsia has established
the new standard for air-
line security,” it quoted
Interpol secretary general
Ronald K. Noble as saying.
“This will raise the bar
across the industry for
AirAsia said no personal
Nicky, the youngest of the sisters. “Some
thought it was against our culture because
women are expected to be at home doing
household work.”
But soon the word spread. “These
women began to like the idea that they
don’t need to depend on their husbands for
money,” Nicky said.
Gam Maya Tilicha, 25, once planned to
become a teacher but is now a full-time
guide at the agency.
“I never imagined that I would be a trek-
king guide. But the income is very good
and I like what I am doing — meeting peo-
ple from all over the world and travelling
to new places in Nepal,” she said.
The sisters take in 40 students every six
months, giving them free housing, food,
and clothing. The money earned from the
trekking agency supports the training.
Once they graduate, they make about
$3,000 a year from guiding tourists, a
better-than-average salary in the poor
Himalayan nation. Monika Rai, a
19-year-old student, hopes it leads to
something better.
“I am here to learn the skills of trekking
and English language so that I can become
a guide and make more money than in any
other jobs,” she said.
The Chettris have 150 women guides
who lead close to 1,000 foreign trekkers
each year. They cater to those who travel
the lower mountain trails, not the
mountaineers who go beyond Everest’s
base camp and up to the world’s tallest
Mountaineering and trekking are big
businesses in Nepal, where half the
foreign visitors come to explore the moun-
tains. According to the Nepal Mountain-
eering Association, some 340,000 foreign
tourists ventured on treks last year.
Many of the visitors are single women
who prefer to have a female companion,
including Sophie Whitwell, a 25-year-old
marketing executive from London who
signed up with 3 Sisters.
“I would definitely want a female guide.
I am sure it would be fine if you went with a
male guide but you just don’t know, and
you are walking with them potentially
alone for several hours a day,” she said. “If
you are in a scenario where you need a
rescue ... a female guide is just as capable
of walking to the next town to get help or
make a phone call.”
Department of Consumer & Business Services
Office Helps Injured Workers:
What we do
State law entitles Oregon workers to certain benefits if they are injured while
working. The Oregon Office of the Ombudsman for Injured Workers is an
advocate for injured workers, providing information about workers’ rights and
helping resolve workers’ compensation-related complaints. Services are free.
Call 1-800-927-1271 (toll-free) or write to:
Office of the Ombudsman for Injured Workers
P.O. Box 14480
Salem, Oregon 97309
STRENGTHENING SECURITY. A ground crewman walks by
a fleet of AirAsia passenger jets on the tarmac of the low-cost terminal
KLIA2 in Sepang, Malaysia in this file photo. The top Asian budget carrier
says it will become the world’s first airline to check the passports of all its
passengers against Interpol’s global database of 42 million stolen or lost
travel documents by the end of this month. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul, File)
data will be transmitted to
Interpol other than pass-
port numbers and the
issuing nation. If there is a
positive match against the
database, local authorities
and Interpol will be
notified, it said.
Less than 10 countries do
systematic screening of
travel documents against
the Interpol database.
More than 1 billion times
boarded planes without
checked against the data-
base, the international po-
lice organization said.
“Airlines will no longer
have to depend solely on
countries screening pass-
ports to keep passengers
safe from terrorists and
other criminals who use
stolen passports to board
flights. Like AirAsia, they
will be able to do it them-
selves as well,” Noble said.
Malaysian police deter-
mined that the two men
travelling with stolen pass-
ports on Malaysia Airlines
Flight 370 were Iranians
seeking to migrate illegally
to Europe and were not
The Boeing 777 with 239
people on board was
travelling to Beijing from
Kuala Lumpur on March 8
said the plane’s last
position was in the middle
of the Indian Ocean, west of
Perth, Australia. It has not
been found.
Auditor seeks proposals for vehicle,
boat licensing in east County
Proposals for a contract to license motor vehicles
and boats are due by 4:30 p.m. June 13.
Detailed applications: online at and at
Clark County Auto License Department, 1408 Franklin St., Vancouver, WA.
Requires services in east Camas or Washougal area. Examples:
> Ownership titles and title transfers.
> Annual license renewals.
> Registration documents.
> Certain permits and special registrations.
Submit to Clark County General Services, Public Service Center,
Sixth Floor, 1300 Franklin St., Vancouver, WA. Fax or electronic
transmittal not accepted.
For other formats, contact the Clark County ADA Office: Voice (360) 397-2322;
Relay 711 or (800) 833-6388; Fax (360) 397-6165; Email