“For most of the journey, I felt I was either Indiana Jones or Tarzan,” says Bangladeshi activist Wasfia Nazreen about her trek to climb Carstensz Pyramid in West Papua. “Everything you can imagine happened, from being proposed marriage (as the seventh wife of a chief) to having to pay ransom for a chief dying in the presence of white people.” It took her three years just to have the chance to climb the peak, her final of the Seven Summits. She took on the challenging, technical climbing to become the first Bangladeshi to climb the Seven Summits.
“All over South Asia, you will see this trend of how others like to make decisions for women and girls,” says Nazreen, who sees outdoor adventure as a tool to empower the girls and women of her country. “All my life I was told about all the things I could not do rather than the things I could do. Often times I feel that I am living my life not just to fulfill my own dreams, but also to make up for my mother and aunts who couldn’t live their life to the fullest.”
Today Nazreen is still climbing peaks and starting two different initiatives. RESET hosts journeys into nature to help leaders connect to self, the planet, and humanity. Her Ösel Foundation is aimed at educating marginalized young women and getting them outdoors. “Only through a connection to our highest self, this planet, and the humanity can we together reset the collective course towards a more resilient future.”
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