Chai Lai Sisters Thailand
Karen hill tribe women seek to empower their communities with boutique trekking tours
Nukul, a graduate from our hospitality training program has launched the first tour company run entirely by indigenous women in Thailand. Named Chai Lai Sisters, the new company invites guests to help empower indigenous Karen women and their communities through enjoying authentic jungle experiences which promote sustainable, ethical tourism.
Chai Lai Sisters offers premium trekking tours led exclusively by female guides, where women travelers can feel safe and comfortable (in the wake of several attacks on female travelers). A wide array of tour packages include overnights at secluded waterfalls or traditional Karen farm stays. Chai Lai Sisters will also offer volunteer opportunities where travelers can help host art workshops with local children.
The new company seeks to combat the harmful effects that tourism can have on indigenous culture. Karen traditions are slowly disappearing as Thailand catapults itself into the modern age, but Chai Lai Sisters offers tourists a chance to help preserve this rich and unique culture. By supporting Chai Lai Sisters, travelers are both empowering women and ensuring the continued prosperity of Karen communities.
The Chai Lai Sisters themselves, guides Nukul, So, Bow, Golo and Chompoo all come from rural karen hill tribe villages in the border region between Thailand and Myanmar, where proper schooling, employment, and even basic rights are scarcities. All are graduates of the Daughters Rising training program, which empowers women at risk of human trafficking – an all-too-common threat for indigenous people in Thailand – through education and employment.
Chai Lai Sisters is a social business that gives back three-fold. For each guest who goes on a trek, three trees are planted in the jungle. Proceeds fund higher education for Karen girls who want to study at university but otherwise could not afford to. And the tour provides the sole support to care for elephants who are disabled, elderly and cannot work. Although there is no riding or show you can actually live with the elephants and support them.
“I want to help Karen people like me who want a good job. If they stay in the village to work they have to stay there all the time and work so hard, but not for much money,” says Nukul. “I think Chai Lai Sisters can help more women become independent, reach their potential and have more opportunities.”
Alexa Pham, founder of Daughters Rising and Chai Lai Orchid, the eco-resort that helps fund the nonprofit, has provided seed money to get the Chai Lai Sister project started. She is also helping the women through the process of setting up the company. “This is why Daughters Rising was created: to empower women to make decisions that benefit themselves as well as their communities,” says Pham. “These women entered the program being told their whole lives that they could not accomplish anything, and now they can make history.”
This entry was posted on Friday, September 23rd, 2016 at 1:25 am
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