We're carrying everything ourselves that we need to survive including 2,000 metres of safety lines, ice screws, snow pickets, biners, stoves, gas and personal climbing gear, not to mention a whole whack of camera gear as my other responsibility is to film and photograph this climb every step of the way. Why you ask?
At these one-year-later moments, headlines inevitably reappear. There's no denying the challenges are real, and there's no doubt we can expect more. But let's not allow ourselves to become cynical. As donors, we need to be patient, flexible and think long-term. To do the most good in the long run, Canadian support needs to allow for the ups and downs of an unpredictable recovery in Nepal.
Even as a kid Tamara had ambitions of "saving the world," with visions of travelling abroad to help vulnerable people. A proud Canadian, Tamara says she feels so fortunate to have been born here: "It's like winning the lottery, being born in Canada. So we owe it. As Canadians we have an obligation to help others."
It's not easy to be a girl here. And it's clear to me that it's not the strangers who are the biggest threat. It's poverty. It's the lack of good options. It's the prevalence of sexual violence, especially for Nepal's Dalit and Indigenous girls. And it's something else, too. It's the lack of programs for men and boys.
The aftermath of Nepal's devastating April 2015 earthquake is easing, and there's no better time to visit than now. Sure, some of the country's most famed stupas and monuments will take years, or even decades, to be repaired, but the country's picturesque natural beauty, infectious culture, and welcoming people will always remain.
Five years ago, the world's tiger countries came together in the face of drastic tiger population decline to set an ambitious goal. With as few as 3,200 wild tigers remaining, a 97 per cent decline from historic populations, governments agreed to double the number of wild tigers by 2022 -- the next year of the tiger. Five years into this ambitious campaign, we have started to see some extremely promising results in Nepal, a country which is becoming known for its innovative work to protect charismatic species like the tiger, rhino and elephant.
The minute an earthquake (or any emergency) hits, women's organizations are responding. Before the humanitarian machine kicks in, before food aid drops, before reconstruction efforts get started, women's organizations are creating makeshift shelters, finding and preparing food, protecting girls and caring for the sick. They are an essential part of recovery and a huge asset in relief and reconstruction efforts.
Life in Nepal is nowhere near returning to normal, and will not be for many years to come. If your house and place of business had crumbled to the ground, and you were sleeping under a tent in the local park, croissants and gasoline wouldn't mean much -- especially if your children were coping with emotional distress like the children in Nepal.
At 23 years of age, Nasreen Sheikh radically redefines what it means to be a Nepali woman. She is a Sunni Muslim living in a predominately Hindu community and is the founder of a fair-trade sewing collective called Local Women's Handicrafts. Nasreen is an outlier in her community. Typically, most Nepali girls marry between the ages of 15 and 18. The pressure to have a married daughter began to increase with each year Nasreen remained single however, and in 2014, Nasreen's parents decided that they had to take action. For Nasreen, this arranged marriage would have meant the end of Local Women's Handicrafts.
Poonam Thapa, a former sex slave in Nepal, is a jurist and educator for the World Children's Prize, a global initiative that teaches children in all parts of the world about their rights. Each year the WCP brings together a jury of 15 young people from all parts of the world. These children are experts in child rights thanks in part to training they receive, but more importantly, for many of them, because of their own life experiences as former child slaves, soldiers, refugees and street kids.