E7 – How an Oxford Graduate Lawyer is saving the Himalayas


As International Women’s month draws to a close, I look back at all the incredible women I have had the pleasure of knowing in my life. Starting from the women around me, my mom and my sister who (it goes without saying) had an immeasurable impact on my life, choices and how I choose to serve the world, to women who are having an impact on a global scale – every woman deserves to be celebrated.

So it is truly an honor to be able to share with you this series of interviews with exceptional women throughout this month. I have had such an incredible time talking to my Women on a Mission, and I am grateful to be able to share their stories with you.

And today, on this last day of International Women’s month, I want to share with you my last interview of the Woman on a Mission series that I created with Vital Voices.

The story of Sheeba Sen, an Oxford graduate who left the glitz of the city behind to live in the Himalayas, helping a rural community recreate a forest that has been lost.

Sheeba is a lawyer by education and training, she studied International Relations at the London School of Economics followed by the Legal Practice course at the University of Oxford. She practiced at an International law firm in London for three years before returning to India in 2011, driven by a strong need to devote her life in service of the underprivileged in her country. Setting up base in Mumbai, for a year she worked with small independent coffee farmers in Southern India helping them promote their products and demand fairer prices. While splitting her time between Mumbai and the coffee farms, Sheeba began to feel an even stronger pull towards the rural environment.

Pulled towards the Himalayas, she visited a remote village in the rural Himalayas in 2012. It took just one visit to Satoli and Sheeba knew that this was where she wanted to set-up her life, living amongst and working for rural communities. For the next 3 years, she worked with a rural development organization in the region called Aarohi. As the CEO of the organization, she expanded Aarohi’s funder and volunteer base and initiated youth outreach initiatives. She left Aarohi in December 2016 and founded Alaap.

Alaap is a social enterprise working at the intersection of climate change and poverty alleviation.

Its mission is to empower communities in the most fragile ecosystems in the world to restore their degraded habitats by growing natural forests. It does so through a triple bottom line model that invests in communities by providing leadership training to create eco-champions and generating employment through restoration activities. Currently, it is working in the central Himalayan region in India.

To learn more about the organisations work, or to get involved, go to https://alaap.in
or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alaap.in/

You can listen to the other episodes of the podcast here


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