WOW | Woman at Work
Winning Hearts GITA GURUNG
Text by: Pabita Dahal
Gita Gurung never thought that she would one day become the Vice President Thamel Tourism Development Council (TTDC). The year 2013 paved her career path when she committed to work for her birthplace, Thamel and registered her name as the first women candidate for board member of TTDC and won the election with the highest number of votes. After 2013 TTDC conducted election two more times and she won with the highest votes each time. In 2015, she was elected as Secretary and in 2019, she became the Vice-President.
36 year old Gita started her career as a hotel receptionist at the age of 18. She started her own venture, Buddha Bar and Restaurant in 2003. In the same year, she established an NGO named Nepal Active Women Organisation aiming at aiding women affected by the armed conflict in helping them find work in Kathmandu. She was inspired by her father and grew up seeing him help poor people from their hometown, Manang. “He is my inspiration to help people,” she shares.
She also established Trinetra Foundation in 2009 to serve the blind and is currently the Secretary General. The foundation is supporting 15 blind children in their overall development including education, accommodation, health etc.
After the formation of the new committee at TTDC, work was allocated where Gita took leadership of women and children as the only woman board member. The first challenge was inadequate funding. She immediately formed an organisation called Rays of Hope Nepal in affiliation with TTDC to work for the street children of Thamel. She has arranged accommodation for 45 street children (41 boys and four girls) of Thamel. “Street children are not normal orphans. Some of them are addicts. 70% were HIV positive. It was tough to manage them. Eventually I had to relocate them and hand their responsibility to other organisations which have the professional expertise and work for street children on advice from our committee. Unfortunately some of them returned back to the streets while some were helped to go back home. We offered the opportunity of vocational training for those who wanted to work,” she shares.
Currently she is assigned the responsibility of event management by TTDC and she continues to feed street children.
In 2017, TTDC gave Gita the responsibility of developing Satghumti which had big problems with underground garbage. Gita raised funds in collaboration with the government and residents and created a team that worked night and day to make Satghumti the best street in Thamel.
TTDC is now busy with the preparations for Visit Nepal 2020. As event coordinator, Gita has the main responsibility of organising different cultural shows for New Year and Christmas to promote Nepal.
For Gita, leadership is all about cooperation, hard work and dedication. She feels all leaders should be capable of winning the hearts of people. “Learning to say ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ is a leadership need. My biggest achievement is the trust, love and support I receive,” she concludes.