I work for the women in my country
who are facing crazy mountains
without even having to step on a mountain.
And I thought of a campaign to go
climb the highest mountain of every continent
in the world, knowing that the struggle in the mountain
was so parallel to the struggle
that women face in society.
I like to get outside and climb things.
Mainly mountains, but when I was little
the climbing scene was very different.
I was about six or seven,
and I was living in this part of Bangladesh,
called Khulna which is very near
The Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world
that you may have heard of.
And this is the first time when I saw white people,
when my fathers office received these foreigners,
and I didn’t know how to speak English at that time.
I was overly excited,
the officer had a little girl
who had a very nice, ring-like thing around her
that she was playing with,
later on I found out it was a hula hoop,
many years later.
So I wanted to be cool, I wanted to fit in,
and I was obviously very excited,
and I started playing with it, with her,
in sign language, whatever.
And this auntie, we have a lot of aunties
in our society who dictate things for us,
snapped at me and said (yelling in Bangla).
Which is so derogatory in Bangla
that it cannot even be translated in English,
but what it sums up is that “a good girl
“shouldn’t be shaking their hips.”
And I wanted to be a good girl,
and I kept down the hula and I never played with it.
I was also asked to stop biking, cycling,
because I would lose my virginity.
And there are many other taboos that I believed.
Bangladesh, it’s a land of extremities.
Light, and darkness.
It’s a nation of 170 million people approaching.
We don’t have many mountains as you can see.
We don’t have any mountains, we live in water.
But when I was a child some amazing,
crazy disastrous events happened in my life.
I lost my home even before I was a teenager.
My parents divorced and there was a custody battle,
and I was homeless as a result.
Very early on I had to, as a child, become an adult,
take responsibility of basically my existence.
But it was these experiences
that I’m very grateful for.
These mountains that I climbed,
because those are the experiences
that made me pursue a better education.
I went on to pursue another career
fighting for other people’s homes.
Whether that was for women who were severely abused,
or ostracized, or for indigenous people
living under crazy regimes,
or refugees without a nation.
And it was my one particular friendship
and connection that got me into a lot of trouble.
Not just in China or Tibet,
but at home in Bangladesh.
As an activist who was working and was very
involved with human rights work in Tibet,
me and my distant relatives, colleagues,
my tribe, basically, in Bangladesh, was being hounded,
by intelligence forces in Bangladesh
all the time, for years.
My family was basically very ashamed of me,
but it was during this period when I found the mountains
as a refuge to heal myself,
but also it was during this time that I really understood
the definition of what home means.
And I ask myself “what is it about Bangladesh
“that really inspires me? That I feel proud of?”
And it was the women who were in the forefront
of every movement, whether it was our liberation movement,
our independence movement, or other movements,
women were what defined Bangladesh.
So as Bangladesh approached 40 years in 2011,
there were all kinds of celebration being planned,
and I thought of a campaign to go
climb the highest mountain of every continent in the world,
because I thought symbolically it was
taking Bangladesh to all corners of the globe.
And also personally, just knowing that
the struggle in the mountain was so parallel
to the struggle that women face in society.
所以 在上世纪80年代早期 七大高峰首次被加拿大登山运动员
So The Seven Summits was first postulated
by a Canadian mountaineer, Patrick Morrow,
in the early 80s, and after he finished in 1996,
almost hundreds of people have accomplished it.
But out of that,
only 32 to 35 were women,
When I first thought of this I obviously
didn’t have the monetary funds.
I ended up convincing the board of two different banks
to give me bank loans totally based on trust.
This magical thing started happening,
all these guardian angels,
and just people who wanted to help out
in their small ways,
started reaching out.
A rich woman who recently got out of a relationship,
and you get talaq money, which is a divorce sum
that you get from your husband,
she gave that all to me and said
“Please go free my soul on the summit.”
I was like “wow!”
And I was so inspired, and then I got an email
from my former colleague in the Tibetan movement,
他说 哦 顺便 帕特里克•莫罗
Nima Dorje, says “Oh, by the way, Patrick Morrow
“lives just by me, do you wanna hook up with him?”
So I write to him and Patrick and Baiba, his wife,
invites me to Canada to train with them.
He set this really hardcore regime for me,
and then he connected me to different people
in the seven continents, which made things easier.
But mind you,
Bangladesh doesn’t have a diplomatic relationship
with almost majority of these places,
so going to a lot of these places was
just huge logistical barriers.
But I ended up finishing five of the seven summits
in the next one and a half years,
包括 珠穆朗玛峰 或者称为埃佛勒斯峰。
including Chomolungma, or Mount Everest.
I was so inspired, it was personally very healing for me.
It was brutally lonely journey, to say the least.
But in the last four years, I’ve gone through
every extreme situation,
from eating my own (bleep), and poisoning myself,
because my camp got totally destroyed,
and my toilet got mixed with my food,
to getting held captive in Papua, and held for ransom,
to losing my best friends,
I lost four of my best friends in the last five years,
waking up to earthquakes and having everything
that you knew being lost,
to getting frostbites and ending up with medical bills
in a country like the states without medical insurance,
and going through intense physical pain,
but this whole journey gave me a vantage point
to see the earth from a perspective
that one out of 170 million in my country
has been able to see.
所以 我非常的感激 这使我了解的更多
So I’m very grateful, and I learned a lot.
I got to reflect a lot on the human experience,
nothing will ever be the same for me,
I took, as you can see, a bunch of selfies,
which is a pure indicator how lonely you are.
This is the time when I was stuck in the infamous
Hillary Step in a traffic jam,
and I thought traffic jams only existed in Bangladesh.
But whenever I would hit rock bottom,
I would remind myself of the women at home,
and the struggles that they would go through,
and that would hug me with a newfound energy,
and I finally managed in 2015 to accomplish a feat
which by default made me the first Bangladeshi,
that was not my goal.
Remember that hula?
I took this hula hoop to The Seven Summits,
I have a waist now and I can shake it,
but it was not about that,
it was about reclaiming back what was taken
away from me as a girl child,
and I want to make that possible for every other girl
that exists in my country, and in my region.
The other transformation that happened
is when I came down Everest,
everyone who detested me came back in my life.
Family members, politicians who sent intelligence,
and that’s exactly when I realized,
“wow, climbing mountains solved so many
“problems in this society?”
Had I known that, I would be pursuing this
probably a year many moons ago.
And I got all kinds of company offers,
banks wanted to pay off the debt by themselves,
I got a lot of marriage proposals.
Marriage proposals at home come with a biodata
how you would apply in a job.
So I made my own biodata, and because it comes
with a mugshot of the groom, and how much they earn,
and what their father does, and mother does.
So mine looks like this, and every time this works.
To sum it up, there are many other girls
who need to climb their own mountains.
And what I’m doing now is using the momentum
来获得有助于我的基金会 Ösel 的支援
of the campaign to gain support towards my foundation,
Ösel, and it’s an alternate education center,
which combines the latest scientific finding
about mind-training, and combines it with mindfulness,
and training in nature through various activities.
Ösel is a conscious movement to bring balance
to mother nature by empowering women
to harness their inner luminosity.
Thank you so much.