Three Sisters : Beyond the stereotype
"May 4,2023 Lucky, Dicky and Nikky, the 3 sisters, have been in the tourism sphere for 30 years now. In conversation with Paryatan Bazar, they talk about their journey - working at a lodge to founding two separate ventures; 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking Company and an NGO called Empowering Woman. They shared some of the most memorable experiences with us.rnrnThe Genesis:rnrnIn her pursuit of a master's degree, Lucky, the eldest sister, moved to Kathmandu from Darjeeling. This provided her with opportunities to travel extensively to various parts of   Nepal. She loved the experience. In order to explore further, she wished to enroll in a mountaineering training program. But most of her family members opposed the idea. As a child, Lucky had been quite delicate with a fragile health. Everyone tried to deter her citing the hardships she'd have to endure. However, her father supported her and convinced the rest of the  members to let her pursue her passion.rnrnLittle did she know that one day she would go on to establish a flourishing business in the trekking sector. rnrnThe Team:rnrnThe youngest three of the seven siblings, the sisters grew up and studied mostly in Darjeeling. They grew up as friends - always doing things together, so much so that even their thinking pattern grew similar. Early on, they'd grown accustomed to follow their elder sister’s lead. So, when Lucky pitched her business idea, the other two did not hesitate at all.rnrnTheir journey in the tourism sector began in 1993 with a lodging house. By the end of  1994, the lucrative environment and favourable circumstances in Pokhara led the sisters to start a trekking company with the slogan 'Mahila haru ka lagi, Mahila haru dwara'. They called it ""The 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking Company and managed all the work by themselves.rnrnrnrnThe TravelrnrnYou Experience, You Learn.rnrnA new startup business is never an easy feat. They were leaving their comfort zone and venturing into an unfamiliar territory, They had no clue what challenges lay ahead. Lucky recalls an incident where she was confronted with her inexperience. Lucky and her group were trekking in Jomsom, they reached their hotel, but their porters, who were supposed to reach the hotel before the guests, were nowhere to be seen. The guests were getting restless and the evening was growing cold. Later that evening, upon inquiry,  a member of new arriving group revealed that their porters had passed out on the river bank, all drunk. Lucky feels if she were experienced enough, she could have avoided several such undesirable situations.rnrnThe Pain, The GainrnrnThey were also not prepared for the physically-demanding nature of the job. Even their brothers were unhappy. They felt their educated sisters could have easily gotten less strenuous jobs. Some people pitied them because they were doing a job more suited for men. For others, it was a job suited for people in desperate financial situations because of the physical labour it demanded. For the sisters, however, what mattered was the end result  – they got to visit new places, travel through beautiful natural landscapes, meet new people and learn from them. They grew healthier and they were making good money. “We did not have anything to lose except toxicity, we were only benefiting in all aspects” says Dicky.rnrnThe Fair SexrnrnBecause they were the first females in the sector and were new, it was very hard for them to gain trust. It was difficult to convince guests and other stakeholders to believe in them.rnrnThe fact that they used to trek with strangers also brought much criticism and negativity. Sometimes people made hurtful remarks at them. Nikky shared one such incident. She was passing through Jomsom when a few men made lecherous comments directed towards her. She could not take her mind off it for a long time. It was hurtful. There are numerous instances where they were made to feel guilty getting involved in an activity normally meant for men.rnrnrnrnOn late arrivals to places with limited accommodation, the dorm rooms would be occupied by male trekkers. The sisters always had to adjust and spend the night in the dining hall. And this happened frequently.rnrnDespite the setbacks, they remained true to their course. They kept pushing forward with determination, courage, and faith and continued giving their everything to the business. Besides,, they had each other; if one was was in despair, doubt, or diffidence the others would come to rescue and restore hope.rnrnThe TouristsrnrnBeing female had some perks as well. Looking at their energy, courage and dedication, the foreigners empathised and helped them. For them, the sisters were pioneers and their venture quite commendable, one that is related to luxury holidays and recreation. They would constantly offer their help. This support from strangers made their hardships endurable.rnrnTogether We CanrnrnThe sisters were always available for each other. They endured, fought, won and celebrated together. They shared and empathized when there was despair, they encouraged and inspired when there was doubt . “Sometimes, to avoid piling bad news on my sisters, I would strenuously cycle long distances and return after sweating out the negativity” says Dicky. Going through difficulties together had its positive impact on their relationship. Their bond grew stronger with time.rnrnrnrnIn The EndrnrnThe positive outcomes of the job convinced them that they were on the right track. While they operated the lodge, they worked really long hours with no holidays. Trekking, in comparison, was way easier and comfortable; they were traveling to exotic locations, they no longer had to cook or clean by themselves, they were making friends and they were always learning. The positive aspects significantly outweighed the negative ones. They were proud of what they had accomplished. Their efforts were being rewarded. Even the family was proud of their achievements. It boosted their motivation..rnrnEmpowering Women of Nepal (EWN)rnrnEWN is an initiative they started along with the trekking company. It was established with a mission to introduce more females into the trekking and tourism sector. From its inception, this non-profit is largely funded by the profits from the trekking company. The NGO brings women from the rural areas of Nepal, provides them with accommodation and on-the-job training, and employment opportunities. They have provided training to more than 2000 women so far. The humanitarian enterprise of the 3 sisters is commendable.rnrnThen and nowrnrnWhen they started, there were no women in the sector. The role of women was limited to desk work. Their involvement in trekking or mountaineering was largely forbidden. Nowadays, however, it has become an attractive sector for men and women alike. There are fewer barriers to entry for women. There is no hesitation like before. The trekking and tourism sector have now created so many employment opportunities for women.  Today, women in this sector command no less respect than men.rnrnAnother thing that has changed significantly in tourism is its focus. Tourism is no longer restricted to mere scenery and sightseeing. In recent years, the development of adventure tourism has broadened the scope of tourism in Nepal. Moreover, Lucky feels that Nepal is doing much better in the tourism than many other Asian countries.rnrnMessagernrnLucky, based on her own life, advises the readers never to prejudge one’s own or other’s capacity. She herself had been a sickly child, requiring constant care. At first sight, she should not have been able to climb mountains! But, her intuition directed her towards it and that has been the turning point of her life. So, she suggests people to heed their intuitions and never to prejudge one’s capacity without trying. Our capabilities, given the chance, may surprise ourselves.rnrnIn addition, all the he sisters request the stakeholders in the sector to be considerate of the environmental concerns. There is no tourism in an appalling environment. Tourism is a great source of income, personal development, and learning. So, the current generation should not exploit the environment so much that it will not be tourism-friendly in the future."

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