FORT FAIRFIELD, ME– Besides being the most famous female mountain guide in the Himalayas Thinlas Chorol has also become the most important voice for social justice for women and girls in that part of Asia as founder and president of Ladakhi Women’s Welfare Network . Chorol, founder of Ladakhi Women’s Welfare Network, known as LWWN, will speak at Yale University on Feb. 4.
Her US tour is organized by Gary Sayers, president of Fort Fairfield, Maine-based Our Ladakhi Sisters.
“The main purpose of her trip is to raise awareness (and hopefully money) to build the first women’s shelter in Ladakh which, sadly, is needed,” says Sayers. “The shelter will be owned and managed by LWWN. Her life story is simply amazing and a truly inspirational.”
Chorol grew up in small Himalayan village of Ladakh named Takmachik. Her mother died when she was a baby and so she spent her childhood as a shepherd’s daughter tending flocks in the high meadows fearing something might happen to her father if he went alone. The incredible mountains of Ladakh are where she felt at home and so as she grew she decided she would like to be a trekking guide. However, it was a male dominated business and nobody would hire a woman and so she took her destiny into her own hands, according to her official bio.
Thinlas traveled to attend Nehru Institute of Mountaineering and then the National Outdoor Leadership School where she became a credentialed guide. She returned to Ladakh in 2009 and opened an all women trekking company called Ladakhi Women Travel Company in the male dominated arena and has been wildly successful. She now employees about 30 women and is ever expanding opportunities for women as she can train them. She arranges homestays for trekkers in remote villages to help impoverished women generate income.
Thinlas has won numerous awards for writing and rural entrepreneurship and in 2015 was named “Person of the Year” by the Indian New site “The Weekend Leader” for creating opportunities for women. Thinlas is a compelling speaker with an amazing life story and has spoken all over India. She is one of six women featured in an international documentary called “Women of the Mountains”
In 2012 Thinlas cofounded the Ladakhi Women’s Welfare Network and has served as president since its inception. In a few short years this very impressive group of women has given voice to women and girls that were not being heard. They counsel victims of sexual assault and other abuse as they help women navigate a tilted system to get justice and educate them about their legal rights. LWWN is currently planning a women’s shelter and a very ambitious Learning Center which will focus of social justice issues for women.
“Her organization is impressive by any measure and historic in nature. She also is owner of Ladakhi Women Travel company which has broken through the glass ceiling in the male dominated guiding arena and she now employees 30 women as guides as trains more every year,” says Sayers. “She is the only woman from India to ever complete a 135 mile foot race through the Himalayas which goes as high as 18,000 feet.”