“In Nepal, women often feel unsure about traveling alone due to safety concerns. However, every year, we organize a special trip just for women to break free from the norm. Our yearly trip is not only a success but also brimming with excitement,” staff member of Rukmini Foundation.

An Annual Retreat

Last month, Rukmini Foundation (RF) organized an annual retreat for GLOW club mentors and RF staff members, giving the team a much deserved break to re-engage, educate, and feel empowered. An annual four-day excursion for the members and staff that seeks to provide an educational, inspirational, and collectivist retreat as well as an opportunity to travel and escape the patriarchal expectations for women and mothers. These annual outings have always served the purpose to empower and ignite the team as it did this year. The trip celebrated the success, the learnings, and the dedications of every team member and became an opportunity to celebrate oneself and other women in their community.

This year, a team of 16 women explored the northern region of Nepal, 385 km (~240 miles) from Pharping, Nepal. As the group set out on their expedition, the landscape of the mountains including Annapurna and Dhaulagiri rejuvenated and excited them. The fresh air invigorated their spirits and filled it with anticipation for the experiences that awaited the rest of the trip. Despite the journey’s fair share of challenges, the team navigated winding mountain roads and traversed rugged terrain and reached each destination safely. Their sense of accomplishment only grew stronger, fueling their determination to press onward. The team thoroughly enjoyed the multicultural and multiethnic educational experiences at each stop, feeling proud of the diversity of Nepalese culture, language, and food. “As we set off, the feeling of freedom engulfed us—free from our usual responsibilities, we chatted, teased, and laughed along the journey,” a member shared.

The trip included visits to some of the major highlights of Nepal’s northern region, both major landscapes as well as sacred destinations such as Rupse Jharana, Dhumbalake, Jerry Galli, Jomsom, Tatopani Myagdi, Baglung Kalika and the Muktinath Temple. The group included RF staff, GLOW club mentors, RF graduate bahinis, a Rukmini Pratisthan board member, and a Girl Boss Advisor. Every single person on the trip provided a unique and valuable perspective via their role in the Foundation and brought thoughtful insights into both work as well as stages of life conversations. Gathered around crackling fires, members shared stories and laughter, forging bonds that we hope to endure lifetime. Collectively, these women represented a diverse range of roles and backgrounds, united by a shared mission to empower girls through education.

Highlights of the Trip Shared by Members

  • “We went on a trip to feel good, relax, and connect better. It was all about having a good time, making memories, and getting to know each other outside of work and home. The trip wasn’t just a getaway; it was about taking care of ourselves, being a strong team, and enjoying the simple pleasures together.”

  • “This journey was simply delightful! Throughout the trip, everyone connected well, shared personal stories, and built strong bonds. The mentors and Rukmini Foundation core members developed deep relationships. It felt like one big family enjoying the pleasant atmosphere of the journey. In the end, the Mustang tour left us all in awe. Our companions’ experiences echo the sentiment that this journey was truly special.

Why This Matters

In a space where women are persistently cautioned to be vigilant, and rely on male companionship for safety, our team found strength and resilience within themselves and each other. Embracing the courage to prioritize self-care and assert own worth amidst societal pressures is an ongoing journey. This retreat is one of many examples of why every event, program, and effort matters to women’s empowerment and Rukmini Foundation continues to embark on this journey of joy and empowerment one step at a time. 

About Preeti Khanal

Preeti has a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard University and is seeking to leverage her experience and education to specialize in chronic disease epidemiology. She also seeks to leverage her experience to support the Nepal team in bridging healthcare gaps among women through leadership and management. Preeti Khanal has also worked as a clinical researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the department of Neurology and upon completion of her BS in Neuroscience and Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Dickinson College, she specialized in public health research. Preeti first joined Rukmini Foundation in 2019 and brings in her clinical experience of managing multiple trials surrounding COVID, Alzheimer's, and other chronic diseases. As a native from Nepal, she feels a deep connection with the Foundation and works with the Nepal team directly in supporting them with their programs and management. She currently serves as a Board Secretary to support the smooth running of the foundational internal operations.
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