Sapa Sisters is in big need of your help to get through this tough times of Corona!
Until end of January this year, Sapa Sisters was a healthy growing business. Normally spring is high season in Sapa, our calendar was filled with bookings. But during the New Year Holiday the Corona Virus started to spread in China.
As Sapa and Lao Cai is located on the border to China, we immediately started to feel the effect of less travelers, lots of cancellations and soon closed borders. Sapa Town who normally flourish with travelers on new-year-break was now spooky empty.
We, Sapa Sisters, was trying our best as long as we could to keep business going. But last week, we had to temporary close down all our treks and tours. To start with until the end of April but who know for how long until we can welcome travelers back again.
Due to Vietnams proactive actions there are no cases of corona in Sapa and very few in Vietnam. But big part of the country is closed down. Fortunately, most Sapa Sister guides have savings left to live from. They are now home, working in their family’s rice fields. Once this is all over, we count on that we can be up and running in no time. As soon as travelers returns.
That said we still need to do whatever we can to be able to not lose our office, not get problems with our suppliers or risk our business licenses. Therefore we ask for your support to help us cover our fixed costs during this time. The amounth we are raising is to cover 3 months fixed costs. Rents/taxes and social insurances/bills and salary for necessary staff. We have negotiated lover rents; postponing part of our taxes and our staff have agreed on going down in salaries, but we can see that we are still not able to live up to our obligations. Our only priority has been to refund canceled bookings.
We are very much aware that many, many, people around the world have it though economically right now. We highly appreciate every dollar donated or if you can share this fundraising on your social platform or if you book a trek with us for the future! All kinds of support are warmly welcomed.
For you who don't know about Sapa Sisters yet. Here follow a presentation:
Sapa Sisters is an all-female run social enterprise that arrange private treks and tours in Sapa valley and up in the mountains surrounding it. All Sapa Sisters guides are from the minority group H'Mong.
The idea with Sapa Sisters was to give the guides more direct access to the costumers and create a sustainable living for the guides. We want travelers and guides to have an authentic experience and personal meetings, for that reason we have never offered group tours and we let the guide, herself, take command in how she think she best present and welcome the guests to our valley. This makes every trek unique.
Aside from offering a high salary (this should go without saying), we offer bonuses, social insurance, healthcare, paid parental leave, classes in First Aid and free loans (often forgiven).
Until recently we have succeeded, most of our guides are now owning their own land where they have built real houses with a standard that is much higher than the “normal” local houses. The guides have drivers’ licenses, own their own motorbikes. They have bank saving accounts where they save for the future. They travel on vacations and can afford to buy the things then need and want. Some have also started their own business with small homestays, lunch restaurants or small shops that their relatives and families run together with them. Sapa Sisters have 25 fully employed guides and about 15 that works extra. Sapa Sisters also have 8 office staff in Hanoi and Sapa and 2 people working in our breakfast restaurant.
All for a sustainable future for our employees and their families. Sapa Sisters also financed our own homestay Zao’s House and are partnering with one of our founding guides (Ly Thi Zao) to operate it - this is part of a long-term strategy to help those who started as guides transition to work outside of trekking.
Or at least this is how it used to be before the corona outbreak...