Moksha: Nepalese Women Find Freedom Through Mountain Biking

Nepal

Jennifer Killian

Moksha is a film that highlights three Nepali women who have dedicated themselves to spreading the joy that mountain biking can bring to women across the Himalayas.

MOKSHA is a film project designed to invest in the future of Nepali women, by connecting with and supporting female Nepali mountain bike riders with immense potential to thrive, and in turn, lift the nation through companionship and adventure. The film follows the long road of success and failure of women who push for opportunities to build skills crucial to personal development, increased employment potential, and Moksha.  

Our film follows the journey of Usha Khanal, Nishma Shrestha, and Roja KC as they compete in mountain bike races across the Asian continent, claim titles as the first female MBLA certified mountain bike guides in Nepal's history and most importantly, act as role models for other women and girls all around the world.


The title of our film, Moksha means freedom, from a male driven, patriarchal society.   

Most people still don't know that Nepal, a mecca for outdoor recreation and travel, remains a nation where almost half of the population gets married between the age of 14 and 19. This alone creates such difficulties that most women will never have the chance to seek opportunities outside the home. The leading cause of death of women of reproductive age is suicide, and over 12,000 women and children are trafficked to the Middle East and India every year, mainly for exploitation in brothels or as forced labor.  


Our two partners, Himalayan Single Track(HST) and the Ladies Mountain League(LML) are dedicated to supporting women in Nepal to find community, adventure and autonomy. Jenny, the owner of HST has provided an incredible opportunity for Roja and Usha by employing them as the first MBLA certified female mountain bike guides. At this very moment these young women are leading a group across the Annapurna circuit. Since launching our project and with support from HST and LML, the three women have created a bike library which offers free bikes for any women in Kathmandu to lend for a week. Additionally Roja, Usha and Nishma lead weekly morning progression and trail rides for other young women. These women are finding mental and physical health by overcoming obstacles on their bicycles within the beautiful Himalayas.  


This authentic and moving film celebrates Usha, Nishma and Roja as they remain true to their dreams of adventure and environmental stewardship. Balancing cultural and familial obligations and pushing for a much more gender and socially equitable society in their home country of Nepal.

This incredible team and project all came about through a collaboration between ASDT(Ogden, Ut), Ladies Mountain League(Nepal), Himalayan Single Track(Nepal), and WRKSHRTmedia(Jackson, Wy). The key women who made this film a reality include: Moksha film Director Francesca Weikert, International Guide and MTB Director Julie Cornelius, and 10 x Xterra World Champion Shonny VanLandingham.


These ladies served and fueled incredible inspiration for this project and dedicated countless hours in the details of it all. Our team spent four weeks learning from their Nepali teammates as this story came together abroad. The film also highlights the women on a week long, bike packing adventure through the lower Everest region, facilitating a confidence building MTB clinic led by Ladies All Ride founder Lindsey Richter, and competing in the Asian Enduro Race Series. These inspiring moments, along with many shared Nepali meals, customs, and dances have created long lasting sisterhood and love for one another, despite the age gaps and cultural differences of our team. In short, the journey shares a blossoming female community that few people even know about and in a dramatically male dominant society and culture.


We feel it's essential for our global community to come together to support women such as Roja, Usha and Nishma who are challenging cultural norms and acting as role models for many young women. 

This inspiring documentary about three brave Nepali women is so close to being done. Help us bring it to life and make it a reality! Please click this link to support this project. 

AndShesDopeToo(ASDT) is a world-wide collective created to help women pursue an active lifestyle of adventure, support one another & protect our wild places. Our MISSION -to Connect People and Planet with Perspective and Purpose.

Published: November 9, 2017

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