Last week I had the chance to be involved in something incredible, I was humbled to be able to act as a conduit for a very brave 17-year old girl in Afghanistan. On average my Nasty Woman inbox gets a couple requests a week and tons a spam, but something stood out to me by the way one woman's DMs and email came through. Sara Lavery, Chicago TV producer and Ascend volunteer was persistent and convincing in her need for immediate help. The call for action? To amplify the voices and story of the young women in a special program in Afghanistan. I replied and we instantly connected. Sara told me the story of the girls mountaineering and leadership program called Ascend. Ascend is a US based nonprofit that trains girls (ages 15-24) in Afghanistan to climb mountains and develop leadership skills. Their girls are stuck in Afghanistan and need aid to be able to evacuate. It is important to note that Ascend has had success getting other girls out of the country. They are currently trying to secure safe passage for the remaining young women and their families at this very moment. Below is the essay from one brave 17-year-old girl left sheltering in place in her home in Kabul. Through Sara, she was able to get the essay out. We are humbled to hear/read her words. She wants nothing more than for us to share it with all of you.
I am one of the girls’ athletes of Afghanistan. I am a mountaineer who has aspirations to be a successful girl in the future. I have goals that I planned that one day would become reality. All this changed in one day and my world became dark. My dreams are lost with the arrival of the Taliban. I am still 17 years old, it is too early to die in my heart.
I and all the girls of my country want our country to be liberated from the Taliban.
I am from the Hazara people. The Taliban are a fanatical and oppressive group that never gives women and girls the right to freedom. They are especially cruel to the Hazara. They are the same as they have been for the last 20 years. Every day and every night our ears are filled with bullets fired by the Taliban.
I know that the Taliban will never give me and the girl athletes the right to work. One of my friends is a music artist. My other friend is a member of the bicycle racing team. We are all at home with the same talents and we are afraid to go out. We will all perish.
My parents do not allow me to leave the house because my parents have terrible memories of the Taliban. They do not want me to witness their cruelty like their parents did. Afghans who leave their homes and want to go to work or school do not come home because they may be killed. This is a very painful thing for me
The girls' team of mountaineering athletes in Afghanistan is under threat. We are all terrified by what happened at Kabul Airport. My friends who were about to leave the country were so happy, but that happiness did not last long because they were killed in the most horrible way possible.
I feel sorry for the loss of our lives because of the foreign forces that came to oust us, and we call on the international global community, the United States and humanitarian organizations to help me and not to leave us alone in danger and threat, because we are.
We do not want our life to end here. We do not want to give up.
All humans may not understand my words, but they feel them. Like a foreign song you listen to, you realize how happy or sad it is.
I want nothing more to be free. I want to be a successful leader. I have many dreams.
Do not forget the people of Afghanistan. Do not forget about the brave girls who climb mountains.
To help the evacuation efforts and support the girls remaining in Afghanistan click https://www.pledge.to/ASCEND.
Photo Credit: Ascend team member Camille Fiducia.