CAMP Alumni Projects: Maya Tibetan Yak Milk Soap

CAMP exists to empower emerging young changemakers with the leadership skills to lead social change projects and entrepreneurial ventures, globally and in their home communities. One of our CAMPers from last year- Danma- is developing a social enterprise to empower women with economic and business development opportunities. The Maya Mountain Handmade Natural Cosmetic Centre produces natural yak milk soap. This allows women to work for livelihoods whilst still being able to perform their traditional agricultural and caring responsibilities. 

Here is a little of Danma's story. Danma is a Tibetan woman born to a herding yak family, who grew up in a small village on the edge of the Himalayan Plateau. The remote wilderness of the snowy Himalayan mountains is often associated with an array of medicinal plants; pristine lakes and herds of yaks. It is home to sacred traditions, rituals and cultural practices. But what is rarely talked about is the deeply ingrained patriarchal nature of Tibetan society, where gender roles are firmly defined.

Growing up, the only future Danma could feasibly see for herself involved bearing children, herding livestock, fetching water and collecting wood for fuel. She observed first hand the realities of gender inequality, where women took on the most menial yet difficult of tasks.

But Danma’s ambitions for education, independence and self empowerment defied the constraints of her community. At 19 years old, she led a community project that brought running water to her village for the first time. After that, she applied for international funding to run a solar panel project to bring new energy resources to her village - and she got it.

Spurred on by her resilience and vision, Danma’s network of friends and supporters get her over to Australia to further her education. She was granted a scholarship by the University of Technology and completed a Bachelor in Public Communications (Social Inquiry). She’s currently completing a Master of Social Work at the University of Sydney.

In 2015, Danma founded Maya Mountain, a social enterprise aimed at equipping Tibetan women with skills and opportunities to become self sufficient. Maya Mountain produces 100% natural soap, lovingly handcrafted by the ‘Tibetan

The enterprise is now at a point where it needs to fund the development of a safe and permanent facility for the Tibetan Soap Ladies to continue producing the soap. To do this, Danma is launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to further develop the centre, and to pay wages to the women who produce the soap. To find our more about the project, visit the Maya Mountain crowdfunding campaign

We love seeing how our CAMPers are leading social change. This is just one of many of the great projects that our alumni are implementing. Keep reading the blog for more stories as they emerge.