Friday, January 27, 2017

MEET THINLAS CHOROL: MOUNTAINEER AND MORE

Photo  ©Lars Lidström

Thinlas Chorol from Ladakh, India is simply remarkable by any measure. She is the most famous female guide in the Himalayas , the only woman from India to ever complete the 135 mile Himalayan foot race, and the most powerful force in northern Asia pushing social justice for woman as founder and president of Ladakhi Women’s Welfare Network…. and much more.

Thinlas is here as a guest of Our Ladakhi Sisters charity from Fort Fairfield, Maine and will speak at the Camden Public Library on Wednesday, February 8th at 12:00 noon.

Thinlas 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.

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 Mountain: Six  Women That Have Risen Above”. She is the only woman from India that has ever completed the 135 mile foot race through the Himalayas that exceeds 18,000’ at times.

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.


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