Women comprises of 52 percent of the total population (195,159) in the Bajhang district, the district of Mt Saipal. The situation of women in the Saipal region is very deplorable as they are subject to Chaupadi (a cultural practice where girls and women have to stay in animal shed during their menstrual period and are not allowed to touch other family members), violence against women, early child marriage, social discrimination, excessive workload, domestic violence, sexual harassment and trafficking and many forms of social injustice, among others. They are also denied of basic needs of life, for instance, proper food and nutrition, health care, sanitation and hygiene, education, economic self-reliance, and on top of everything, the sense of dignity, liberty, rights and social justice.
Though they live all their life by the side of Mt. Saipal, the women in this region are not allowed to climb it because of a superstition that women who scale up the mountain will disrespect the God and they will be cursed by the Almighty and consequently misfortune happen to them, leading up to the death.
While the women in this region are forced to live a wretched lives, yet on the courtyard and backyard of their homes, there stands Mt Saipal stands will all its magnanimity. While the women are downtrodden and victimized, the peak brags all its superiority and glory. While the women here are hapless and live in scarcity, the alpine is profuse. While the women of this region are perceived impure and second-class citizens of the society, the pinnacle is the symbol of purity. While these women are meant for disrespect, the peak claims reverence. In this same region and living in the proximity with each other, the situation of Mt Saipal and the women represent two opposite poles. This project dwells on the theme of women empowerment of the area on the lap of Mt Saipal and concentrates on the mission to uplifting the status of women to the height of Mt Saipal where, as indicated by the name, Mission Saipal: A Summit of Emancipation, they would be able to secure and enjoy dignity, freedom, respect/self-respect, purity and profoundness for themselves. It is hence, the project is bringing forward world’s most adventurer and toughest of mountaineers to reach atop of the peak and celebrate womanhood as well as harbinger the message of women empowerment of the region.
Mountaineering is a sport done with personal motive. Summiteers choose to climb the peaks for various reasons- sometimes to test their courage, to challenge their own selves, to seek thrill and fulfill their desire of adventure and to keep records, among others. As an unique event in Nepal’s mountaineering history, some world’s renowned summiteers (majority are female) are going to scale up Mt Saipal in October this year with a social cause, which is to challenge the mindset of the local people that women are in no way inferior or lesser to men as well as to herald the message of women empowerment in the region.
Most importantly, four local girls from the south region of Saipal will also be a part of this expedition. It is hence, the mission is expected to bring about considerable amount of impact in the lives of women and change the existing social perceptions toward women in the Saipal region.
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