From a life without purpose to becoming the hero of her village, Mamta’s journey is perhaps one of the most inspirational stories to come out of Uttarakhand.
Mamta lives in Bhankoli, Uttarkashi with her family. Her father passed away in 2002 and her mother has been unwell for a long time. The village she lives in is considered a disaster prone area.
Life, at most times, has not been too kind to Mamta – hers has been a constant struggle to make ends meet.
In 1997, Mamta became associated with Plan India and Sri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram (SBMA) as a sponsored child. Through her association, she was able to involve herself in many activities and events that would help her career flourish. After she completed her schooling, she enrolled in a training course in mountaineering. She went on to complete advanced Adventure and Search and Rescue courses in 2008 and 2010 from the Himalayan Adventure Institute and Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM), respectively.
Her life seemed to be coming together finally. After she completed her courses, she was employed as an instructor at NIM. Till date, she has successfully conducted more than 50 training courses as an instructor. Her skills as a trainer shone through the brightest when one of her students – Arunima Sinha (a special needs girl) — successfully summited Mount Everest. Mamta has also run a physical fitness training programme for 50 youth so they can join the local police or Indian army.
But, in 2013, her skills were put to the ultimate test. While leading a group of 40 children as part of a mountaineering course, disaster struck.
A flash flood hit the area where they were trekking, putting the lives of all in severe danger. But for Mamta skills, the likelihood of them surviving was next to none. Thankfully, she was able to use her knowledge and experience and guide her group to safety. Even more remarkable, during the disaster, she was able to lend support to a further 5,000 people by relocating them to safer places.
Her heroism has garnered much praise from all corners of India. Tennis superstar Sania Mirza nominated Mamta for a television serial on Star Plus Aaj ki Raat Hai Zindagi, with the legendary Amitabh Bachchan awarding her for her bravery.
Mamta continues to work with NIM as an instructor and is also part of the Green People Organisation.