Wild Earth Nepal for healing and therapies
An organization that has touched the lives of many children living in Bal Mandir, an orphanage in Naxal, Kathmandu, Wild Earth Nepal (WEN) provides baby Massage to the children here. Its baby massage is led by Shashi Nakarmi whose also has Newari baby massage in her list of various different types of massage. The organization was founded by Carroll Dunham, a graduate in cultural anthropology from Princeton University who has lived in Kathmandu for the past quarter century. A lover of wilderness, she also loves traditional medicinal plants and healers. She has authored several books and also helped to produce over a dozen documentaries on the Himalayas for PBS, BBC, CBC and National Geographic, leading National Geographic expeditions throughout the Himalayas and Mongolia.
While she was living in Humla among the rural communities in her twenties, the hardships of the women there had struck her and when she had asked them how she could help, they had said ‘help us to make money for our kids’ school fees, food and medicine’. Then, realizing how women-earning has great impact on the entire community and especially children’s wellbeing, she came up with WEN (Wild Earth Nepal) with the objective of bringing some kind of benefit directly to rural women. It was started with a desire to create a sustainable enterprise, utilizing Nepal’s rich herbal legacy made by women.
Based on both sustainably harvested wild crafted and cultivated herbs, the products of WEN are usually restricted to what they make with their hands. Working with over forty seven different herbs coming from throughout the country, they start by listening and research, listening to women (midwives) and documenting their knowledge of herbal as well as their hand to understand touch and how to use it therapeutically.
Her inspiration was kind of derived from Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop which had started from scratch, who was the first in the body care industry to refuse to test on animals and the first to set up fair trade department in a body care company along with being the first to hire and anthropologist. Carroll has worked with Ayurvedic doctors where she learnt that there was a subtle science to scent and how it was used for healing benefits, not unlike aromatherapy.
Some of the proudest moments for WEN are working with master masseuse – Joanna Clair and Amchi Sherab Barma, developing Himalayan treatments for the five-star global hotel chain – Shangri-La, and winning the Asia Spa Crystal Baccarat awards for Best Spa Treatment for tsampa rub. It was also involved in developing SWAN-Spa and Wellness Association of Nepal. It plans to come out with a new range of fresh products and also new range of trek products and has plans on offering a month long training on Trek foot and head massage to give the women in rural community an opportunity to be self-dependent.