Here are excerpts of the interview:
How did the team come together?
An organization called Climber’s club led by Da Gombu Sherpa and Pemba Dorje Sherpa were planning for a Nepali women’s Everest expedition in order to encourage more Nepali women into mountaineering. There was an open call for membership. Ten Nepali women formed the team. All members of the Seven Summits Women Team joined the expedition to climb Everest and decided to continue afterwards as well.
Why did you think of climbing the summits all over the world?
Everest was a great success. We returned with wings from Everest. We felt that if we could create history with one year’s commitment we could perhaps create something more meaningful not only for ourselves but for other youth and women as well if we continued as a team. Climbing being our passion we had discussions about which one to climb next. Very few people in the world have climbed the highest peak in each continent. There is no women team to have achieved that feat. We picked the 7 summits challenge as a way of taking the world. Coming from Nepal, for us it was crossing traditional boundaries as we crossed the international borders.
Which summits/mountains you have climbed and how many left?
Three members have climbed the highest peaks in all seven continents. I have climbed the highest in four continents including Mt Everest, Kosciuszko in Australia, Elbrus in Europe and Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa. I returned three hours shy of the fifth summit Mt Aconcagua in South America. My team mate, Asha Kumari Singh has completed six out of the 7 climbs. We plan to continue the climbs together with the message of Education, Empowerment & Environment.
What do you feel about Lions Clubs International?
LCI’s vision and mission resonates deeply with our team. It’s big, global, and extremely ambitious about changing the world for better, committed, determined and simply unstoppable. Seven Summits Women Team believes in big dreams and ambitious goals. LCI is a role model for us. It is for this reason we took the Lions flag to Antarctica last December, to mark LCI’s presence in the 7th continent. We now plan to take the LCI flag to the summits of remaining continents. We look forward to joining hands with LCI in social causes as well.
What do you feel about women empowerment?
There is no option to it. We are committed to doing everything to help make the world a better place for women starting from South Asia. We are starting with training survivors of women trafficking and vulnerable women to find economic empowerment in the outdoor industry.
What message you have for the Lions?
We couldn’t be more proud of our association with the Lions for we believe in the spirit of ‘We Serve’. We believe in the power of individual, team and leadership in changing the world. It’s great seeing an organization propelling change with all these strengths. Every single Lion and Leo member should be proud of themselves for being agents of change. We’re sure the path comes with its challenges. But if a team of ordinary women like us can climb the highest mountains in the world, every Lion has the power to keep going. It has been an honor to share our inspiration at various Lions forums from several clubs and districts to the Toronto International Convention. Let us know if you want to hear from us. Join our epic journey at www.sevensummitswomen.org. We are together with you with one objective, Together We Strengthen the Pride.
What message you have for men?
The world becomes a better place both for men and women when women become equal empowered partners. Mountains teach us in every step to work as a team. Men and women make one team. Only this team can fight all injustice, disease & poverty of the world. Let’s rise together.
Lastly, what message do you have for women on women’s day?
Women’s biggest enemy today is the social conditioning and our best strength is awareness of our true potential. I wasn’t expected to climb Mt Everest. I didn’t think it was my role or that I had the ability. But when I gave it a shot I surprised myself. That’s a reality not only for me or my team but for all the women in the world. Don’t subscribe to what the society expects you to be. Those, most often than not, only hinder a woman’s growth. We are told women are weak, that women can’t work together, that we have certain roles and the like. It’s time to question all that. The only truth is what you believe you are capable of. Don’t cater to any self-limiting beliefs for someone else’s sake. Realize the essence of your being. Use your talent, mind & body. Make everything come alive. Dare to dream, set goals and just go get it.