Tree of Life Tour, Nepal, Ali

“We are proud to make a difference in the lives of others.” ‘The Tree of Life’ Tour was specifically cultivated for women to take a journey from their head to their heart. This tour was led by local entrepreneur Ali Villani and Katrina Webb, Para-Olympian from Adelaide. Ali tells us more. “We took two groups of about 10 women, back to back, in October to Nepal. Our aim is for the women to learn leadership skills through helping others by using their time, their talent and their treasure.

Ali - Kopan Monestary Visit - Trip 2 (002)

“The trips are 8 days and technologies are put away so the women learn to be in the present moment. A lot of reflection takes place as we talk extensively about what we’ve seen and felt for the day.

“Initially we learn about the culture, Buddhism and Hinduism and visit temples. Then there was a leadership day involving us and Nepalese entrepreneurs. It is based on the book ‘Ali the Shiny Sparkly Unicorn.’ We talk about the issues that we are facing and find they are the same for both cultures. Dr Tshering Lama spoke and we create a way to continue supporting each other.

“Then we headed up to Shermathang Village in the Sindupalchowk District of Nepal. It was very affected by 2016 earthquake and families are still living in make shift houses. We spent time at both schools there. ‘The Tree of Life’ fundraised to support a Childreach Nepal Project called ‘Project Daughter’. With the money raised we bought a machine that makes biodegradable sanitary pads. This is creating a social movement. The students at the school are making the pads. The kids are stoked their friends can stay in school and learn. The aim is to fundraise the 26k needed to purchase 2 more machines.

“UNICEF estimates that 1 in 10 girls skip school 4-5 days a month when menstruating, or drop out completely, because of the social stigma attached to menstruation. This project is supporting education and keeping girls safe in schools.

“A highlight was that we shadowed the women in the village. We worked with them and connected on a much deeper level. I loved singing with them in both Nepalese and Australian.

“These are organic women and we learnt resilience from these beautiful women who had lost their houses and are having to rebuild.

“Then we trek as there is so much that can be learnt from nature and the mountains.

“Everything we do engages locals. Our values are Hope, Love, Compassion, Education and Fun. We are proud to make a difference to the lives of others!”

Ali - Meeting the Holy Men - Trip 1 (002)

Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photos: Supplied, Kopan Monestary, Meeting the Holy Men.