Can trekking be a tool for empowering girls? I say yes!

Komal Bharam
Posted October 3, 2018 from India
In the lap of snowy himalaya (photo credit: kriya empowerment expedition)

I come form an middle class, moderately conservative Maratha family in Maharashtra state of India. Nobody in my entire family or community ever saw or heard of a girl climbing a mountain. Two years ago, I became that girl. I completed a Kriya Expedition - a monthlong Himalayan trek that culminates with an attempt to summit Stok Kangri (6,150m).

It shocked some people especially those who do not think climbing mountains is a feminine action.

But for me, it was a dream come true. I climbed though harsh cold and through deep snow. And with every feet that I climbed higher, I became more and more confident in my own ability. I felt, I have the power the change my destiny and to decide about my life, my future. I do not have to tell you that very few girls in our India use this power today because they never get a chance to do this.

I went up as a sports person. But when I came down, I was a leader - a person who can set example for others. That was the difference. 

Today, I am helping many other girls follow the path I took. As the coordinator at Kriya - an organization based in Pune. It is Kriya which organizes these mountaineering expeditions and I am training and preparing other girls for such expeditions. I am also recruiting girls for Kriya's sports-based events. I believe, I am actually helping the girls to move to a place in life where they gain self confidence, and discover their own inner strength.

Recently I became a fellow of the Collective Impact Partnership or CIP project (where World Pulse is a partner) and through two rounds of training, I learnt a lot about leadership, advocacy and digital empowerment. I am going to combine all the knowledge I have gathered to carry forward my next dream: to build a new society where all the girls are powerful, self-reliant and in charge of their own life. And yes, along with them, I will keep climbing new mountains myself.

Comments 17

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Jill Langhus
Oct 03, 2018
Oct 03, 2018

Hi Komal,

Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I'm glad you're breaking norms and speaking up about it, too! Such inspiring words, work and mission. What is your website and/or social media pages so we can like/follow them.

I'm looking forward to seeing more updates about your work, and more about your mission, too.

Hope you have a great day!

Komal Bharam
Jul 10
Jul 10

Thank you so much Jill for appreciation!! My page name empowerment throw action

Jill Langhus
Jul 13
Jul 13

You're very welcome, dear:-)

Is this a Facebook or Twitter page, or a website? Do you have a direct link to it, dear? I'm unable to find it. Thank you!

I hope you're having a great weekend:-)

Dawn Arteaga
Oct 03, 2018
Oct 03, 2018

Thank you so much for sharing this. I love the imagery of going up the mountain an athletic person and coming down a leader. The CIP program is so lucky to have your voice! I can't wait to hear what's next for you.

Olutosin
Oct 03, 2018
Oct 03, 2018

Wow wow wow Hey Komal, you are a trailblazer, a changemaker and a leader.
I just tove the paraphrase..... you went as a sportsperson and came back a leader. Amazing.
Keep on leading girl.

Minakshib
Oct 03, 2018
Oct 03, 2018

Very good to read this. Best of luck to you Komal

Shofali Agarwal
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

What an impressive accomplishment and use of your voice to empower others who need the encouragement! Keep up the good work!

Tamarack Verrall
Oct 04, 2018
Oct 04, 2018

Hi Komal,

I loved you story and especially "I went up as a sports person. But when I came down, I was a leader" as others have mentioned. I know the power of getting crampons and ropes together, with women climbers here in the Rocky Mountains. But the Himalayas! These are the Grandmothers of all the mountains. You have not only proven the power of a woman, you have proven what we are capable of doing. Anything! Congratulations.

Komal Bharam
Jul 09
Jul 09

Thank you Tamerack thank you for appreciation!! Now also we working on Frisbee game it's on gender bess.

Kathy Dixon Crowley
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

Thank you for sharing your vision! So excited to have you as a part of CIP! Looking forward to learning more about your work.

Komal Bharam
Jul 09
Jul 09

Thank you for appreciate my work Kathy!!

Beth Lacey
Mar 11
Mar 11

So glad you are part of VIP. Good luck!

Komal Bharam
Jul 09
Jul 09

Thank you!!!

Kika Katchunga
Apr 29
Apr 29

Without you lie you inspire me a lot with your determination despite the difficulties found; Glad to hear you again that you were a model for other girls; it's really awesome. Thank you for sharing with us; good luck in your project

Paulina Nayra
Jun 05
Jun 05

And I say, why not? Nothing could make one feel powerful than reaching the top of the world after overcoming the challenges of trekking and mountain climbing. It requires discipline, patience, resilience, stamina, preparedness, teamwork, courage, sense of humor, hard work and many more positive traits to be successful at trekking. Reading your story makes me wish I am younger so I can climb mountains. too. Imagining myself climbing and reaching the summit feels exhilirating. Wishing you blessings on your expeditions. And hope to hear about your next climb.
Huggs Komal!

Komal Bharam
Jul 09
Jul 09

Thank so much for your appreciation!! I will looking forward to post my story. Your message give me so much confident!!

SHILPA KASHELKAR
Jul 10
Jul 10

Dear Komal
You are young leader and you work really empowering young girls. I am also learning from your work and would like to connect with you. All the best for your work.
Regards
Shilpa