2021 Athletes

In 2021, six young women were selected for the Exchange and Empower team. Some are experienced athletes; others are escaping difficult situations. The team are living together at the Mira Rai Initiative’s new base in Kathmandu, and have continued their training under the COVID-19 lockdown!

Name: Ashma B.K.
Age: 18
Hometown: Rolpa

Ashma is a CSEC survivor. CSEC stands for commercial sexual exploitation of children. She was referred to us by our partnering organization Shakti Samuha, a local Nepalese organization that fights against human trafficking.

Ashma comes from a poor economic background and belongs to a marginalized minority group in Nepal. She was deprived of education in her childhood years. Shakti Samuha has provided her with shelter and has supported her to continue with her education. Although Ashma went through a difficult time in her life, she is now motivated to achieve more in life. She is currently taking Trekking Guide Training and Karate Training. She is also very keen to join sports and especially trail running.

Name: Amrita Rai
Age: 16
Hometown: Sanodumma, Bhojpur

Amrita is the youngest of her siblings. She lives with her parents, three older brothers and sister in laws, nephews and nieces. She did not get to go to school because her parents could not afford it. Her father and brothers all work as daily-wage laborers to put food on the table. Her hobbies are dancing and singing.

She feels lucky to have witnessed Mira’s journey when she ran in two of the races that were organized in Bhojpur. She looks up to Mira as her role model and wants to run like her. She also wants to complete high school, become independent and support her family.

The opportunity to become an Exchange and Empower athlete this year will allow her to escape becoming a teenage bride.

Name: Anita Rai
Age: 32
Hometown: Bhojpur

Anita’s family, cousins and relatives all work in the tourism sector. She moved away from her family to take a job in Three Sisters Adventure Trekking Agency in 2008. She is currently working as a professional trekking guide and has learnt English, travelling to different places in Nepal and has made friends from all around the world.

Running was introduced to her by a cousin. After winning in several races, what started as a hobby became Anita’s passion. In the Annapurna 100km 2019, she bagged first position in the Women’s category. She hopes to receive more formal training and guidance from the Exchange and Empower Program.

Name: Rachana Magar
Age: 19
Hometown: Pulkharka, Dhading

Rachana Magar is 19 years old and is from Pulkharka, Dhading in central Nepal. Her hobbies are drawing and singing.

Rachana came to know about running from her brother. Running reminds her how strong she is even in her weakest moments. It has taught her that she is capable of so much more than she has ever imagined. Despite just starting trail running one year ago, she has had great results. She is looking forward to enhance her skills and abilities at the Exchange and Empower Program.

Name: Nikki Nembang
Age: 22
Hometown: Panchthar

Nikki has always been passionate about running since childhood. Many of her friends are trail runners who inspired her to run, however, Mira has motivated her to achieve her passion in trail running. Nikki’s hobbies are cycling, swimming, trekking and general adventure!

Nikki runs to not only become healthy, fit and strong but also to motivate herself to do better. She is also an avid cyclist who has already represented Nepal in South Asian Games 2019 (Duathlon).

Name: Nitu Tamang
Age: 23
Hometown: Sindhupalchok

Nitu left her home village to work in Kathmandu to support her family and pay for her own education. She enjoys cooking and she is working as a housekeeper in Kathmandu to support her family in the village.

Nitu first learnt about running races from the radio. She then began taking all opportunities she could to participate in local races and in her village too, always either winning or coming in second place.

She feels that running has always been her passion and being an Exchange and Empower scholarship athlete will allow her to achieve greater things in life.

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