Fort Fairfield charity hosts Himalayan guide
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A local nonprofit will host a Himalayan woman on the last leg of a speaking tour that began at Yale University on Feb. 4. Thinlas Chorol will be in Aroostook County Friday, Feb. 10, for a small gathering at Morning Star Art and Framing in Presque Isle at 7 p.m.
Our Ladakhi Sisters was founded by Pam and Gary Sayers of Fort Fairfield, their daughter Keely and others. OLS is a small 501(c)3 nonprofit that works to help the very poor girls and women in the Himalayas of Ladakh, India. It grew out of an experience the Sayers had while working there in 2011 as volunteers with Himalayan Health Exchange. They were exposed to a level of hardship that was nearly unimaginable and also realized how little it actually takes to transform the lives of girls in Ladakh through education. Thus, they formed OLS to see what they could do to help.
Since its inception, said Gary Sayers, OLS has worked with Chorol, whom he described as the most famous female guide in the Himalayas and the only woman to ever complete the grueling 135-mile Himalayan foot race that exceeds 18,000 feet at times. She is one of six women from around the world featured in a documentary called “Women of the Mountain: Six Women Who Have Risen Above,” which touches on six women from various mountainous regions who have left their mark on the world.
According to Sayers, Chorol broke through the glass ceiling in the all-male trekking industry and started the first all-women trekking business, a venture which now employees 30 women and has been wildly successful. Through her business she works to create economic opportunities for women in the most remote villages by arranging for trekkers to stay in their home, which is hugely consequential to those women who have no income.
However, her most important work is in pushing for social justice for women in northern Asia, where she has become the most powerful force through an organization she founded called Ladakhi Women’s Welfare Network, Sayers said. She has come from very humble beginnings as a shepherd’s daughter in the high Himalayas and at very young age has risen to international notoriety for her accomplishments.
For more information, see OLS on the web at www.olscharity.org, visit their Facebook page, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.