After conquering Everest, Tamang aims to stop unsafe migration of women

Kathmandu, May 23

Kanchhi Maya Tamang, 28, summitted Mt Everest on Saturday morning, becoming the first woman from the Tamang community to climb on top of the world.

Tamang, a migrant worker, had returned to her village Yarsa, Sindhuupalchowk, two years ago. Seeing the pathetic condition of women who out of poverty were willing to be trafficked or work in dire circumstances in Gulf countries, she made a resolve to set an example for her community.

“There are nearly 200 households in my village and there is not a household with at least a member working abroad. As most women in my village are illiterate, the offer of employment is something they can’t deny,” shared Tamang, adding, “My achievement is a matter of pride for all women and my mission is to contribute to a discrimination-free Nepal where all girls and women have freedom and an enabling environment to realise their full potential.”

Not alone in her belief, the returnee migrant worker from Sindhupalchowk, was accompanied by 19 other climbers who found a fair weather to make final summit pushes, according to officials. Tamang and Pemba Dorje Sherpa, in association with UN Women, climbed Mt Everest to spread the message. Besides Kanchhi Maya and Pemba Dorje, there were 19 other climbers, including nine Nepalisin the team.

At 6:00 am local time after an 11-hour climb from Camp 4 on Everest’s South Col route, Kanchhi Maya, together with Pemba Dorje Sherpa, the fastest record climber to Everest from Dolakha district, and their Sherpa teammates reached the summit. “It was for the first time that someone climbed the Everest for gender equality and women’s empowerment,” said Pemba Dorje Sherpa.

Kanchhi Maya took with her a powerful message to the top of the world, stating ‘We are People, not Property’. Every year, several thousand Nepali women and girls are trafficked and forced to work in dire circumstances.

The latest national report on trafficking in persons released by national Human Rights Commission 2014-15 states that  8,000 to 8,500 people were trafficked in each of the FYs 2013/14 and 2014/15.

“My mission has first and foremost been to stop unsafe migration of women and girls from my district, which is listed as the top district for trafficking of women and girls in Nepal. I want to foster initiatives that create local employment opportunities and empower women, both those facing forced migration and returnees like myself. We must empower girls — give them a rope, show them a rock, then ask them to climb it,” Tamang opined during the press meet organised today.