Women Empowerment

By promoting homestay based tourism and the local handicrafts from these solar electrified villages, the Mountain Homestays initiative has not only connected these villages with the rest of the world but has also enabled the women of these villages to earn additional income and create a sustainable, scalable social enterprise.

The access to energy has played a crucial role in positively impacting the women of these communities who now not only maintain these solar microgrids that provide electricity for their homestay but they also promote the lighting and charging facility, as a feature of their homestay, to attract trekkers. An innovative approach which has enabled these women to be actively involved in the economic activities of their households.

The women from these villages are involved in a lot of activities like carpet weaving, cutting sheep wool, apricot and apple farming apart from many more activities related to handicrafts. Some of the more enterprising women try learning English so that they are able to communicate with the tourists and trekkers that frequent these areas.

Women homestay owners

Chrol is village head (Panch) at village Mahey. Though she could not study much in her childhood, she is a confident women and takes care of all village affairs. She also has a formal training in carpet weaving but due to lack of market this skill is mostly fading away in this village. She runs a small shop also to earn some income. There is no tourism in Mahey. Homestays based tourism can be a big boost for her family income and her handicraft work.
Jigmet is from village Shingo. Since solar electrification by GHE in 2015, her life changed forever. There are a lot more tourists visiting her now and she is able to manage well due to solar power. Her homestay is one of the best in the entire Markha region and has set example for other villagers as well who are now improving their homestays too.
Padma is a single mother in village Sumda Chenmo. Her daughter lives away from her in Leh. She herself manages her small homestay. A very hospitable lady, and her homestay is the only source of her income. Since solar electrification in 2013, she is able to provide better stay to tourists who otherwise would camp near the stream. She is able to handle some 15-20 tourists each season. We will engage more tourists in Sumda Chenmo from 2017.
Tenzing lives in the remote village of Sumda-Chun, which lacked electricity and hardly saw any tourists. In August 2017, the village was solar electrified by our team that brought a new hope to the villagers. A homestay room was set-up in Tenzing's house with all basic amenities. She is excited to host tourists in the coming seasons.

During the summer months, the men leave the villages to either work as taxi operators, as mountain guides or are out grazing their animals. The women stay back in the village and carry out basic household work. Through the homestays development, these women are given an opportunity for income generation while staying back in the villages.

There is multi-fold benefit from this entrepreneurial venture of theirs which not only encourages them to continue staying in their villages rather than look for opportunities in cities but also promotes a proactive behavior change in these women who form the backbone of this society. This gives them the power to control their own lives both within and outside their homes, empowers them in making choices and gives them an opportunity to hone their hospitality skills being a big income generator for them and their families.