WAW Climb for Justice: Week 3

This is the WAW (Women for Afghan Women) Climb for Justice, a weekly blog to raise awareness about women’s rights and human rights in Afghanistan and around the world. Each week I’ll be climbing a new mountain in Andorra to raise money for WAW, a charity that provide life saving support, shelter and legal aid to women and girls suffering from human rights violations.

DONATE NOW

I thought I’d start off this weeks blog with an inspirational poem by a young Afghan woman.

I can’t lock away my voice

I can be beautiful and put together
Without an occasion
Just for my own gaze,
And I can not.

For my own happiness,
I can adorn myself,
Darken my eyes with kohl and color my lips
And I can not.

I can be angry,
I can laugh, I can cry,
But I cannot tolerate imposition.
I cannot remain silent in the face of pain.
I cannot be neutral to oppression.
I cannot accept being the second sex.

I am not a poet,
But I can write.
I can’t read my words
Only in the bed, in the kitchen,
Within the four walls of my home.
I can’t lock away my voice.

Hosnia Mohseni (Free Women Writers)

Her words ring clear about standing up to oppression and not remaining silent in the face of inequality. No one should have to lock up their own voice, stand up, speak up and take up space in the world.

This weeks climb

arcalis

This week I climbed Pic d’Arcalis in Andorra to help raise money for Women for Afghan Women. It was a short but difficult climb, mostly due to the incredibly hard snow and ice on the western face. It had been snowing buckets the last couple of week and the winds had been a gale force, constantly freezing and stripping the soft snow off the mountain and turning it into a thick icy sheet.

I decided that I’d take the most direct route and climb straight up, so with ice axe in hand and snow shoes on foot I set off at around about midday. They were just setting up the face I was climbing for the Freeride world tour next week, so that just goes to show how steep it was. After a brief stroll through some powder i hit the face with a squeaking noise as the spikes in my snowshoes dug into the hard snow.

img_4773

It got steadily steeper as I went on and I soon realised that it was too dangerous even to stop to rest, as there were no features flat enough to sit on. This meant climbing the whole face in two goes. My calves were on fire and my back strained from clinging on to and pulling myself up with the ice axe. My breath heaved in my chest and I thought that my legs would fail me, but there were only two options: go on, or fall.

The snow shoes were not the best tool for the job and I would have kicked myself for not bringing crampons, if I had a spare muscle to use. When I finally reached the summit it was with a torn calf muscle and another one pulled in my lower back. The view from the summit was spectacular however and my aches and pains were washed away in the triumph and sunlight. It took me two hours to climb the face and by the time i had gotten up there it was time for me to come back down. But how?

I couldn’t go back down the way I came and I couldn’t traverse the ridges to a safer place as i did not have enough time. Pondering this for a moment, I decided to do what the world cup team specifically asked me not to do, and bum slide down the world cup run. The snow was slightly softer there and so i was able to do some breaking, sliding all the way down the toboggan-like path.

img_4772

roughly 30 minutes later I was back in resort, trawling through a powder field back to the chairlift where I had left my skis. It was altogether a quick jaunt, but one of the most challenging so far, both mentally and physically. At the end of the day I skied back to the bus stop and was on time for work!

If you’d like to donate to Women for Afghan Women visit my JustGiving page HERE. For weekly updates don’t forget to subscribe below and follow the campaign. If you’d like to see first hand the work that WAW do, visit their website HERE. Follow the campaign on my Youtube channel HERE and visit the Facebook page HERE

Thanks for reading. See you next week.

Advertisements

Women’s voices matter. A great portal to all the unheard voices in Afghanistan

From their homes to the streets to social media, Afghan women and girls are threatened for simply raising their voices and telling their stories. Why do they continue to write?

via Why Do Afghan Women and Girls Write Despite Threats? — Girls’ Globe

Women for Afghan Women: Climb for Justice

Women’s rights

Every day in Afghanistan women and girls as young as aged 8 are being forced into marriage, mentally and physically abused, and denied even the most basic of freedoms and dignity we take for granted in other parts of the world. It’s easy to forget just how lucky we are to have grown up in the environment we have, and its even easier for men to forget how privileged we are, even in our own patriarchal societies.

Did you know that a lot of girls in Afghanistan aren’t even allowed to go outside, or are harassed or beaten on the streets for walking alone, then beaten again when they get home for bringing “shame” on the family. Families are afraid to send girls to school over the age of 12 because of fear of attacks on the street, resulting in denial of education. Victims of rape are often forced to marry their attackers, or threatened with honour killings to clear their family name. Some girls are even sold into marriage just to get rid of them, or exchanged in order to repay debts.

abuse-3

The sad truth is that horrible human rights violations happen every day in Afghanistan, and that some women and girls grow up believing that this is the norm, and don’t even know their own right to human rights. Well guess what? Women’s rights ARE human rights and that’s what Women for Afghan Women are striving to forward in Afghanistan and the rest of the world.

Women for Afghan Women (WAW) is a grassroots, civil society organisation, who’s mission is dedicated to securing and protecting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan and New York, particularly their rights to develop their individual potential and self-determination.

“We provide life-saving programs and services for women and children across Afghanistan who have endured human rights violations, including forced and underage marriage, rape, forced prostitution, unlawful imprisonment, and barred access to education and employment.”

waw-1

WAW operate family guidance centres, confidential women’s shelters, children’s support centres and most importantly women’s rights training programs, which help to educated the community, police, religious leaders and women about women’s rights.

A participant in their training program said:

“Knowing my rights makes me realize that I don’t have to accept violence as normal and legal. I’m glad I am not alone and there are people to help women like me.”

So what am I going to do about it?

Living in the mountains in Andorra I’m not exactly in a position to be campaigning on the streets of Kabul, so I’ve come up with a way to help from where I live, using the tools I have. My mission for the rest of the winter will be to climb a new mountain / mountains each week to raise money for this brilliant charity and help spread awareness of women’s rights around the world.

alone-at-the-top

Each week I will be fighting through horrendous weather conditions, challenging deadly peaks and planting their flag atop a snow brimmed peak. But this is nothing compared with the courage and determination of the women who stand up for their own human rights everyday, and those that help them, even putting their own lives in danger in the process.

Each week I will be dedicating a mountain to one of the hundreds of women WAW help with their programs, and an exceptional staff member who has shown their determination and courage helping in their case. I will be documenting my climbs and releasing a new video and gallery each week, so follow me on my mission and continue growing support.

What you can do is join me in my continued determination and donate to help life saving and empowering work for women’s rights in Afghanistan. Each time I plant the flag on a new peak visit my JustGiving page and donate just £5, or as much as you can.

If I can keep going each week, keep giving and help me hit my target of £4000 for the season. This isn’t a one time gimmick, I want you to donate each time I release a new video and to nominate one person on Facebook to donate next week, and so on, and so on.

Let’s make this campaign go viral!

So what does your charity buy?

£40 provides one month of empowerment classes, targeted at giving disenfranchised women the confidence to strive in society and the workplace.

£80 is one month of food for a child in one of WAWs children support centres.

£200 gives school supplies for five children in WAWs children support centres, giving them the hope and opportunities provided by education.

£400 covers women’s rights training for Afghan communities, helping to change the underpinning reasons for human rights abuse in society.

£800 pays for a six month stay in a WAW women’s shelter, providing confidential and life saving shelter for the most vulnerable women and children.

£2000 provides medical care for a woman or child who has suffered from physical abuse, sometimes amounting to torture.

£4000 provides legal aid for 150 women or girls, providing escape from hopeless situations, including: forced marriage, abuse, and denial of human rights.

So sit back Donate and watch the show

Here it is, my first video. In this film I tackle two peaks connected by a deadly ridge. Warming up my ice axe for the first time, I don my crampons and hit the ice and snow. More than 11 hours of brutal climbing and a few near misses later…

Liked the video? Visit my JustGiving page and donate now, and don’t forget to nominate a friend on Facebook by hitting the share button and tagging them in the post. Follow my campaign right here below, or on Twitter or Facebook and visit WAW’s website. Share the links and help spread the word. Let’s make Women’s rights human rights.