Tsering Dolma Sherpa: Invest in and Educate Women Entrepreneurs in Nepal

Tsering Dolma Sherpa: Invest in and Educate Women Entrepreneurs in Nepal

Tsering Doma Sherpa is a Communications and Program Coordinator at Daayitwa in Nepal. Daayitwa (translates as ‘self-responsibility’ in English). The organization aims to enable a thriving Nepal where all citizens embrace their responsibilities to collectively transform societal challenges into innovative opportunities.

Tsering and I met at Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, Maine. She was 15. Unlike the rest of the international students who had known at least a few others from the same country, Tsering was the only one from Nepal. She worked several jobs and was a straight-A student.

Instead of chasing after financial advancement and pursuing a comfortable and stable life in the US,  Tsering's wants to help others,  especially people who are underprivileged and underserved. She worked for several organizations including Equal Access Nepal and the United Nations.

In 2014, Tsering became a fellow at Daayitwa. In 2016, she began focusing on a program called WREAP, which stands for Women's Rural Acceleration Enterprise Project. This program didn't exist until recently.  Tsering and her team discovered that out of the 60 applicants who applied to the regular REAP program, only seven were women. When one woman became one of the five finalists, she expressed this very statement in a video: "Now it's not just my turn, but 500 other women in Palpa, Nepal."

With the support of grants and donations today at WREAP, many more female entrepreneurs can participate in leadership programs, technical training, networking, and facilitation of investment.

This episode is not fueled by call to actions for your donations. Instead, we hope to tell a story of how a small group of young people can truly make a lasting impact. Seth Godin often uses the phrase "edges". Great companies and programs are built around the edges.

"Build something that people will look for, something that people will talk about, something we would miss if it were gone." - Seth Godin

WREAP has not reached tens of thousands of women in Nepal, but I'm sure it will, just a matter of time and determinations by people like Tsering. Starting with just a few hundred women in 2016, I look forward to seeing many more lives that will be changed by this program.

WREAP l Bimala Bashyal's Story

Show Notes:

  • [05:20] As someone with the potential to achieve much success on Wall Street, how did you end up working with United Nations and NGOs instead?
  • [11:25] How did you plan your finances when you were 15 and living in the Fryeburg Academy?
  • [14:05] What were some of the challenges you experienced when you moved back to Nepal after living in US (for over 10 years) ?
  • [19:20] What advice would you give to other young women to manage cultural pressure and expectations (getting married, raising a family, the idea of being a "good" girl)?
  • [23:00] How and why were you involved in the rescue process during the earthquakes?
  • [12:15] How did it feel to be in such a position to help people during the earthquake crisis?
  • [32:05] Tell us about your most recent project, WREAP.
  • [32:05] What can a Nepalese businesswoman do with the start up money you grant her?
  • [46:55] Where can listeners find you and your organization?

Links and Resources:

Favorite Quotes from Tsering Doma Sherpa:

It was so important to my parents to give me the opportunity to have the most advanced degree as possible.

We are setting the example that you can go anywhere in the world for advanced education and knowledge, but the most valuable thing is, what do you give back to the community and how can the community grow along with you at the same time.

I try to balance between being a career orientated woman and traditional at the same time.

The top ten applicants receive $250 to support their businesses. They can expand their businesses by getting a loan, they can use it in installments, such as a buy a goat for farming, or invest in land. $250 is equivalent to 250,000 rupees in Nepalese currency. That’s a large sum.

When you go the remote parts of Nepal, you see many young men, even young women nowadays have left their villages for greater opportunities. What Daayitwa tries to do, is show them the possibilities that you can do something in your home country if they have that enabling environment.

WREAP l Purnamaya's Story

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