Girls Empowered by Travel.
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Our Hitaishi project

                          

  Successful Completion of the first phase of Hitaishi Project

The more places you experience, the more knowledge you gain. There are so many places unobserved within Nepal itself but according to our Nepali society, traveling is considered as a risky, not meant for girls. They are considered as a delicate treasure of the society who is supposed to be protected. Thus, we girls ourselves feel that travel is for physically awesomely strong people. But it's less to do with physical strength and much to do with mental strength. A girl becomes more independent and skillful after every travel but they have a very hard time convincing their family to let them travel and they need to tackle so many obstacles much more than boys do for traveling.

With an initiative to create opportunities for women to travel and get involved in various community work with like-minded women in a welcoming and safe environment, Girls Empowered by Travel – Nepal, the youth-led nonprofit organization has initiated a social project Hitaishi under Rural-Urban Exchange Programme. "Hitaishi"; is a Nepali word used to signify a close friend in Nepali society. This project consists of two major aspects i.e. travel and social work. Through this project four selected young girl (above 18 years): Vidhya Bista, Manisha Dhital, Sadikshya Poudel and Prekchhya Shrestha along with the program officer of GET, Ms. Pabitra Majhi has been provided with an opportunity to travel Terai Region, Sarlahi, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sindhuli, and Rautahat district. The five days (24-28 January 2018) of the trip includes the complete package of exploring new places, getting to know the social and cultural lifestyle of Terai communities i.e. Mushar, Majhi, Bishwokarma and other Madhesi communities from close up and experience their lifestyle as well as making new friends from the rural community. The participant had also involved in various social events like stationary distribution to Mushar children, awareness programme on menstrual hygiene/ health education, self-defense training for young girls, the importance of girls education, merits of timely marriage and demerits of early marriage.

Our journey began with an 8 hours jeep ride from Kathmandu to Sarlahi. While on the way we
enjoyed beautiful greenery landscape scenery of Sindhuli where Selfie Danda was the most exciting
place where we enjoyed the strong wind. We explored the local market Bayalbas and went around
observing the sales ranging from colorful bangles to fresh vegetables, sales of live stocks and a huge variety of fishes so on. Next day, we cycled around Sagarnath village and also rowed boats at Naadiban taal (lake). According to the local people, this lake is the holy place where Lord Shiva used to come here to get the bath. The most adventurous experience of the trip was the epic rock climbing we did on our third day at Nunthar, Bagmati with the scenery of the peaceful flowing rivers down the tall green hills. However, the most heart-warming incident happened mostly at Babarjung. This place is mostly inhabited by Dalit Mushar communities and we loved to experience their culture. We were invited to the marriage ceremony happening in their community, we also visited the nearby community school which consisted of the only one room, filled with more than 50 students of different age groups and we did a small contribution by providing stationary items (Copy, pencil, eraser, sharpener) to those students. The best thing about all the communities that we visited was the warm hospitality shown by the people. People used to come to our place and wanted to share their prevailing problems and so many stories. We listened to them very carefully.When you meet new people, you encounter new stories. Though one cannot live many lives at the same time, we can always listen to the stories of people from a new environment to get an insight of their lifestyle.

Conclusion:
Traveling teaches you to trust in ourselves, empowers us, compels us to decide for ourselves, shows us our real strength broadens our mind and helps us to accept other people, perspectives, and ideologies. Travel is an experience that sees no gender and we need to break this concept and encourage families and parents to allow their daughters to the world outside and experience the thrill of traveling. This trip began with five unknown people traveling together and we returned back as five close friends who had now shared an entire learning process together. We realized how empowering can traveling is, especially for girls in our country as we have a hard time receiving permissions to travel. In addition, We also learned that travel doesn’t only change the traveler but we can also change and help many communities through it. Therefore, we hope more girls get encouraged to travel and experience their own story of empowerment.
Girls Empowered by Travel Girls Empowered by Travel Author

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