PeopleAsset – Helping Me Reach New Heights in Mountaineering

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PeopleAsset – An organization that believes in my dreams

My name is Dr. Varuna Raina, and I am an Anaesthesiologist, Aspiring Mountaineer, and a head injury survivor. My expeditions are dedicated to raise awareness on head injury, diabetes, women empowerment, and bringing mental health awareness. I’m an ordinary girl who rose from exodus in Kashmir and near-fatal traumatic brain injury (hit & run) to becoming a Doctor and a Mountaineer. My mission is to inspire people, especially differently-abled people, to lead them to believe that anything is possible if we believe in ourselves.

I climb mountains to honor my Father, who introduced me to the outdoors and instilled the seed of mountaineering in my heart at the age of 5 when he took me hiking to Amarnath cave in Kashmir at 13,000 feet on foot. As I sat there looking at the grandeur of the mountains, I realized that mountains would be the only home I’d ever know. Being born in Kashmir, the love for mountains and nature came naturally to me at an early age.

Climbing mountains is not easy. It requires physical strength, mental toughness, money, and a lot of perseverance. But it is also incredibly rewarding. When you climb a mountain, you feel a sense of awe, accomplishment, and a feeling that is unmatched and can’t be described in words. It takes years of hard work, endless struggles of finding sponsors, and patience to not lose hope.

I’m currently preparing for expeditions to Mount Nun (Ladakh, India, 7135 m, July 2023) followed by Ama Dablam (Nepal, 6812 m, Oct/Nov 2023). If I’m successful in my climb, I’ll be the 1st Indian Doctor to summit Ama Dablam. With my training and passion in mountaineering, medicine, ice craft, yoga, and mindfulness, I am eager and raring to scale the mountain and inspire countless others that if I can do it, anyone can.

The most challenging aspect of any expedition is raising funds. Until now, I’ve been using my savings for my expeditions, gear, and other expenses. For example, my LaSportiva mountaineering boots cost me INR 55,000, which I paid from my pocket. My gloves cost me 20K, which I again paid on my own. For some people, it’s preposterous, but some girls like ice axes and some diamonds.

Ama Dablam and Mount Nun, together with gear, logistics, travel, etc., will cost me more than 6 lakhs. While seeking sponsorships, I’ve reached out to more than 30 companies but got no positive response. That’s when my husband convinced me to create a LinkedIn profile and share my story with a sponsorship request on it.

That’s when PeopleAsset came around and found merit in my story and reached out to me. It was surreal and my first financial collaboration with a corporate company. What made my association with PeopleAsset special and different was that the company is interested more in contributing toward groundwork in the field of afforestation, children’s education, and other meaningful initiatives in the Himalayas rather than getting featured on social media.

Another idea we discussed was for me to lead a hiking trip for their employees. I strongly believe that people should spend time outdoors in nature, especially in the current times of corporate frenzy.

My journey has not been an easy one. Back in college, I sustained a head injury due to a hit & run accident that left me with 90% hearing loss in my right ear. But I refused to give up. I knew that I had to keep going, not only for myself but for the people who believed in me.

I am grateful for the support of my family, friends, and sponsors. Without their help, I would not be able to pursue my dreams.

With my unique background of being a Doctor and a Mountaineer, and my ability to bounce back from everything life has thrown at me since childhood, even at this age, I feel unstoppable. I refuse to let my past define me and continue to march on. With all odds stacked against me being a female mountaineer in a field dominated by men and with no aid from government authorities, I would like to take this opportunity to thank PeopleAsset for their sponsorship of my upcoming expedition to Ama Dablam. Their support means a lot to me, and it will help me to continue my journey of inspiring others.

PeopleAsset believes in excellence and integrity and I am proud to be associated with an organization that shares my values. I would be honored to continue my sponsorship collaboration with them in the future. I believe that together, we can inspire countless others, especially women in a society where gender equity is still far from being a reality.

My father always said, “One fall does not make a fiasco.”

Even in the face of adversity, if we keep our heads high and hearts focused on our goals, we can achieve anything!

A Special Thanks to:

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1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Dr. P.K. Koul

    May 19, 2023

    Indeed a feat in its own, Dr. Varuna. Wishing you much success ahead. Maej Dayakar Sarney.