Whatever your dream, we believe in making tomorrow more promising.

These are stories of ambition and hard work. They have inspired us as we move forward with our new promise: Today. Tomorrow. Together.

The girl who stood on top of the world - Dawa Yangzum Sherpa

What do you think of when you think of a Sherpa? High altitudes and a ruggedly built men ascending them, right? Well Dawa who was 21 when she summitted Everest is proving the world wrong.

As a nine-year old, Dawa’s teacher asked the children what they wanted to become. While the rest of the them said the usual ‘teacher’, ‘nurse’, ‘doctor’, Dawa replied “I want to climb Mount Everest.” Everyone laughed!

“I grew up and spent most of my childhood in Rowaling. Life there was not easy as we didn’t have basic things like electricity and running water. We didn’t even have a road. Seeing my village surrounded these awesome rocky mountains, I always dreamed I would be climbing them one day.”

Holding on to the dream Dawa started imagining the kinds of adventures she could earn a living from and mountain climbing was always on top of her list. With her family and friends struggling to envision how she could make of profession of her passion, and willing to undergo all sorts of hardships, Dawa simply followed the course of her heart.

Then one day, when a group of trekkers came to town looking for porters, thirteen-year old Dawa joined them and never looked back. Spending the next five years stationed with her brothers in Kathmandu she bided her time and waited for her next big opportunity. Shortly after her eighteenth birthday her elder brother, by then working as a guide in the Everest region, offered her that opportunity – to be the lead guide on a 15-day trek around the Rowaling Valley. She did well and earned handsomely too. But the novelty of being a mere guide soon wore off. Her goal was pegged higher.

In the winter of 2010, Dawa enrolled herself in a free 10-day course at the Khumbu Climbing Center (KCC), a vocational non-profit run by Jennie Lowe Anker and her husband Conrad Anker.

Impressed by her performance and hard work over the following months, Anker invited Dawa to join him on the North Face/National Geographic expedition commemorating the 50th year of the peak’s first American ascent.
On summit day, 25th May 2010, she became the first woman from her valley to reach the top of Mount Everest.

And that was just the beginning of her life of adventure. Shortly after, she was invited to the United States by the lead climbing ranger to climb Mount Rainier. Seeing plenty of professional women guides instructing male clients only inspired Dawa further.
In the fall of 2012, she returned to Nepal to start her formal training to become a certified mountain guide. And in the spring of 2017 she became the only woman to be IFMGA [International Federation of Mountain Guides Association] accredited.
Today Dawa’s impressive climbing portfolio reads something like this.
  • Summiting K2: 28,251ft (2014).
  • First Ascent of Mt. Langdung: 20,856 ft (2017).
  • An attempt on Mt. Kanchenjunga: 28, 169 ft.
  • Mt. Rainier, 14,409 ft (summited over twenty times between 2012-2017).
  • Ama Dablam 22,350 ft (2011).
  • First ascent of Mt. Cheki Go: 20,530 ft (2011).
  • Yala Peak: 18,500 ft (2009).
So from her humble beginnings Dawa dreamt big and continues to scale new heights. Here’s to her and all the others working hard to reach their dreams.
Ncell. Today. Tomorrow. Together.

Whatever your dream, we believe in making tomorrow more promising.

These are stories of ambition and hard work. They have inspired us as we move forward with our new promise: Today. Tomorrow. Together

The girl with game in her - Pratima Sherpa

A maintenance shed on the 4th Hole of the Royal Nepal Golf Course, has a story to tell. It’s where inspiration lives and continues to thrive despite the odds.

“I believe every child should play” says Pratima with a beaming smile. But growing up in that shed, where she had very few toys, she simply made the entire golf-course as her playground. Doing what came to her very naturally – playing golf.

It was easier said than done for the daughter of a pair of gardeners whom had to make their meagre living stretch.

At five, Pratima’s father made her a rudimentary club out of wood. She laughs as she remembers the used golf balls she would often lose when trying out her new-found club. Little did the world know that those tiny hands holding a stick would one day grow to become Nepal’s first female golfer.

At first, her father didn’t approve of her focussing more on golf at the expense of her studies but that didn’t deter little Pratima from practising as much as she could. Once in a while, she borrowed clubs from the club members.  Then, at the age of eleven, her father had a change of heart when she returned home with her first trophy for a chipping contest. Both standing teary-eyed, her parents realised how passionate and talented she was and encouraged her to go right ahead and pursue her goal.

Little Pratima’s potential was first noticed by Taashi who started coaching her on Saturdays. Very soon the Nepal Golf Association also recognised her keenness and gifted her her very first golfing gear.

Swing by swing, her raring-to-go-spirit saw Pratima winning 33 tournaments by the time she was seventeen – including two junior international events. Meanwhile, word started to spread about Nepal’s budding female golfer who’s ambition was crossing her homeland’s borders and making its presence felt globally.

In 2016 when Oliver Horovitz, an American writer and film-maker, came to Kathmandu to interview people for a story about golfing scene in Nepal, he was introduced to Pratima and the following Golf Digest feature on her moved Tiger Woods so much he personally wrote a letter of encouragement. “That was a dream come true!”, says Pratima starry-eyed as she recounts the thrill of meeting her idol whilst attending the US premier of her ESPN documentary – ‘A mountain to climb’. She happily quips about Tiger giving her golf tips as they shared a cart ride together.

Practising religiously with the backing of her coach and biggest supporter in Nepal, Sachin Bhattarai, she lives by the mantra that ‘perseverance pays off’. And falling short of four places to qualify for Pro status on the greens right outside her home in 2017 has only doubled her determination to make the mark in 2018.

Another dream that she’s steadily working towards realising is to become Nepal’s first Female Professional Golfer and to participate in the Olympic Games. Yet behind all this well-deserved acclaim, lies a more humble motivation: to earn enough to be able to support her ageing parents and gift them a proper home beyond the maintenance shed – or ‘lucky house’  as she calls it because had she not been raised there she would never have known golf.

So, in a land where golf is essentially regarded as a man’s domain, Pratima is breaking stereo-types and changing paradigms on not only on the course, but off it too. She’s the reason why an increasing number of girls can be seen practising on Saturdays and why the people of Nepal and the rest of the world are starting to realise where passion, commitment and ambition can really take you.

Here’s to Pratima and all the others working hard to reach their dreams.

Ncell. Today. Tomorrow. Together.

The boy who made the wheels of his fortune turn around.

An ordinary boy who simply watched other kids bicycle because his family couldn’t afford to give him a cycle, is today being watched by the entire world. Rajesh Magar didn’t let his family’s humble background stop him from pedaling his way to the top of almost every biking podium in Nepal.

Little wonder then, he’s rightfully been lauded with the illustrious badge of National Geographic 2018 Adventurer of the Year.

When not riding, Rajesh, also lovingly called RJ Ripper, has a humbling story to tell. Hailing from Solu in eastern Nepal, his father worked at construction sites and mother a housekeeper. Since his family barely eked out a living, money for a bicycle was always a distant dream. Yet so deep was his hunger for riding that on his thirteenth birthday his mother finally gifted him an old BMX bike she managed to get from her workplace. His joy knew no bounds. One day while walking to school he noticed mountain bikers riding trails in and around where he lived. Fascinated by what he saw, he devoured videos online learning stunts, tips and tricks.

As he grew up he began to work multiple jobs, gradually saving enough to buy a rigid mountain bike. Having watched a lot of online videos, his inherent skills allowed him to weld parts together, like a softer scooter suspension on his bicycle to create his own custom mountain bike. Along with friends, he would try and replicate online performances at home. He would ride up Hattiban Hills and rip trails and jump 20-foot road gaps on his home-made frankenbike leaving watchers in awe with his naturally acquired skills.

On January 2014, after being spotted during the Life Cycle Downhill Championship, as he practiced, he was offered a chance to compete and was placed fourth even with a dropped chain.

In just two years since he got behind the handle bars, Rajesh won the Himachal Downhill Trophy in 2014 in Manali and the Nepalese National Championship, the Dharan Showdown race in 2014. He finished 2nd in the Palpa Urban downhill, Himalayan Outdoor Festival and Himalayan Mountain Bike Championship. He won the Nationals in 2016. He has since won his third consecutive National title. He’s also snagged trophies from downhill races in India, Singapore, Thailand, and China.

When not riding, Rajesh works as a mountain bike guide as he lives and breathes cycling.
Through a beaming smile, he says, When people do what they love, they really enjoy it, so when I’m on my mountain bike it gives me true joy. Had it not been for mountain biking, no one would probably know Rajesh Magar today. I owe it all to this sport.”

For this hero no uphill is too tough, no downhill too fast. With eyes wide open and a sparkle in his eyes, greater success can only be around the corner.

Here’s to Rajesh and all the others working hard to reach their dreams. More stories to come.

Ncell. Today. Tomorrow. Together.

© Ncell 2020