Empowerment through Athletics

April 3, 2015
By Mari Megias

Marina LeGree MC/MPA 2014 is the founder and director of Ascend, a nonprofit based in Norfolk, Virginia that helps young people in conflict zones develop teamwork and leadership skills through athletic achievement.

Ascend’s first program is underway in Afghanistan, a country where LeGree has deep experience working as a stabilization and community development professional.

Using mountain climbing as a way to achieve transformative growth, Ascend is training young women from various parts of Afghanistan to scale cliffs. Resources are tight—LeGree has funded much of the endeavor from her own pocket—but the women’s spirits are indomitable.

They plan to summit Mount Noshaq, a 24,580-foot peak nestled at the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

NPR featured Ascend on March 30. Listen to the story of how these incredible young women are surmounting unthinkable obstacles to pursue their goal of climbing Mount Noshaq.



The Ascent Of Afghan Women
NPR — When bad weather hits, workers get more productive.

Zahra Karimi Nooristani, 18, cautiously works her way down a rock face high above Kabul as her coach, Farhad Jamshid, guides her.

“It is hazardous for his top female student to be rappelling here, not only because of the steep drop, but because she is using a frayed, 9-year-old rope handed down from the men's mountaineering team.

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Tags: International Economics International Economics

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