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While on a recent trip to Nepal, I was given the chance to do the In Focus: Handmade Kathmandu tour.

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Fair trade in Nepal: view of Nepal from above
Photo courtesy of Seven Women Organization

This tour gives you full access to a local nonprofit called Seven Women – an organization working to improve the lives of disadvantaged women in Kathmandu through work training and literacy opportunities.

Touring the Seven Women Facilities

The purpose of the Handmade Kathmandu tour is for you to learn all about fair trade in Nepal, social enterprise and how Seven Women has changed the lives of countless women throughout its eleven years of existence.

Fair Trade in Nepal: Seven Women tour
Anita (country manager for Seven Women) participating in the workshop

The tour consists of:

A walking tour of the Seven Women facilities

A few years ago, the organization moved into the space they currently call home. They chose the neighborhood it is located in very carefully – quiet and residential – as to create a safe space for disabled and outcast women.

Fair Trade in Nepal: view of the Seven Women facilities
Sewing area

They’ve also recently expanded their facilities on site to include a classroom building where they can teach cooking classes.

An oral history of the organization

This discussion is centered around how Seven Women built a responsible, sustainable social enterprise that is locally run and completely optimized for the local community.

Fair Trade in Nepal: story telling at Seven Women Organization
Getting a tour of the facility

A handicraft workshop

Most of the tour is spent in a classroom, learning how to make the fair trade handicraft souvenirs that these women are trained to make during their apprenticeship with Seven Women.

Fair Trade in Nepal: breakfast and crafts
Breakfast and crafts both made with love!

The workshop is run by one of the original Seven Women (but odds are a handful of other women working that day will come in, chat and craft with you!).

My Experience with Urban Adventures and Seven Women

Though the organization is owned by a woman based in Australia, the headquarters are run and maintained by local women exclusively. The organization is meant to help elevate disabled, disadvantaged and discriminated against women.

Fair Trade in Nepal: Seven Women Tour
Our teacher for the handmade souvenir workshop

Their energy and positivity were contagious. I enjoyed my time with them so much that day that I immediately booked a spot in their cooking class the next morning!

As someone who travels full-time, I go on a lot of tours. And truly, this was one of my favorite tours I’ve ever been on. It was simple, sure. But it had heart!

Fair trade in Nepal: cooking at Seven Women
Photo courtesy of Seven Women Organization

For people who are on the fence about voluntourism but really want to positively contribute, visiting local projects like this one is an awesome option.

Taking an afternoon to support local entrepreneurs and businesses enables them to create and sustain financial independence that doesn’t rely on tourism. Tours like this aren’t making a spectacle out of their adversity, it’s spotlighting what they’re doing to overcome that adversity.

Intrepid Travel & In Focus Tours

I recommend everyone go on an In Focus tour with Urban Adventures somewhere in the world. Urban Adventures describe these tours best, saying that it’s like having the most inspiring story you’ve ever heard come to life in front of your eyes.

Fair trade in Nepal: Nepal women empowerment
Photo courtesy of Seven Women

They’re quick to point out that it is not a form of voluntourism, and it’s not an act of charity. It’s your chance to support local social enterprises in a sustainable way – through learning and understanding.

The In Focus tours are available all over the world – from Thailand to Israel to Chile – and focus in on a range of different topics. Each tour is a spotlight on a local nonprofit, NGO or small business that is giving back to their community in a big way.

Visiting the Seven Women facilities was a unique experience, and all of In Focus tours are equally worthwhile and epic!

Disclaimer: The In Focus tour was offered to me courtesy of Urban Adventures but all opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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