Travel as a force for good
Travel as a force for good
After leading a Duke of Edinburgh group to Nepal a curious 22 year-old Stephanie found herself in the backstreets of Katmandhu distressed by the sight of a heavily ladened disabled women. Following her into her tiny tin hovel she found herslf in the presence of seven physically deformed yet beautiful women who were all making soaps and candles for sale. Via broken English Stephanie learnt about their plight and their difficulty in selling their wares, since disability in Nepal carries immense social stigma. As Stephanie states “inequality in the world disturbs me. I don't believe it is fair that I can live a safe happy life free of restriction while others suffer when I have the ability to do something”. It was here that the idea for Seven Women was formed.
Since 2006, through education and enterprise, Steph has devoted more than a decade to changing the lives of over 5,000 disabled and marginalised women in Nepal. At Seven Women’s HQ in Katmandhu fair trade clothing and crafts are created and sold both locally and internationally. In addition Seven Women now operates a cooking school attracting many overseas visitors daily as an income source and important social exchange. Stephanie strongly believes that “the best way to help is to empower women through trade not aid”. In 2016 Steph was presented at the United Nations New York with the Rotary International Responsible Business Award, followed by the Woman of the Decade Award at the Women’s Economic Forum in New Dehli in 2017.
The relationship between Seven Women and Hands on Development
Hands on Development offers a tour program of life changing immersions into Nepalese communities for those that wish to help, share and grow through lived experiences.. Hands on Development supports the growth of Seven Women by training and employing local women to become tourist guides allowing diversification of employment pathways. During the immersions travellers participate in Seven Women's cooking school, literacy and craft classes that fund training, generates local income and confidence building opportunities for the women. In turn, travellers exchange personal skills with local Nepalese women, offering further empowerment to both.
At Hands On Development we are creating a more tolerant and compassionate world by providing life enriching travel experiences that benefit both locals and participants.
We use travel and connection to develop opportunities for local communities to gain the skills and employment they need. Our tours aim to inspire and equip travellers with lived experience to become advocates for issues they care about.
Our Tours are designed to create sustainable long term changes for both the participants and the communities they visit by focusing on social, financial and environmental sustainability.
Hands On Development Tours are part of an ecosystem of social enterprises developed by Stephanie Woollard, the Founder of Seven Women. These organisations are built with the mission to socially and economically empower women in Nepal through education, training and employment. These enterprises support each other contributing to the long term development of communities in Nepal.
Your impact when your travel with Hands On:
Our journey so far…
Our Local Leaders
Our Local Leaders
Seven Women Country Director
Anita is no stranger to the plight of women in Nepal. Being one of the 6 girls in her family, she has seen it all. Anita left home when she was 14 years old and has had experience in managing a boutique hotel before taking on the role at Seven Women.
Anita has a passion for cooking and loves welcoming visitors to our centre to participate in our classes and works part time as a guide at Hands on Development. Anita is passionate about the empowerment of women through literacy skills training and income generation.
Seven Women Logistic Manager and Treasurer
Padam Kumar Shrestha is our fantastic logistic manager and treasurer who has studied sociology, and is passionate about creating change. Padam has been working for Seven Women for 10 years now. Padam will be with the group for the entire duration of our tour.
He is a talented cook, has a background in business and a very well known volleyball player who used to play for the the National Team.
Seven Women literacy teacher, book keeper and tour guide
Sandhya is one of the original Seven Women and has been working with us for 11 years. Sandhya educated herself after leaving school in year 10 and is passionate about educating women and gender equality. Sandhya holds literacy classes at the Seven Women centre everyday for women who want to learn to read and write. She has also trained many women from remote villages, who have gone on to lead classes in their locations. She lives in Kathmandu, and brings local knowledge to our tour participants through tour guiding.