March 6th: Malavath Poorna

malavath-poorna-chai-bisket

Malavath Poorna is the youngest woman to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest, which she did when she was just 13 years old.  The easiest way to climb the mountain is by starting at the Nepalese side but Nepal does not allow for people under 16 to attempt to climb Everest due to the fact that it’s extremely dangerous, so Poorna and her guides had to start on the Tibetan side, which is much more challenging.  Poorna’s parents made less than 35,000 rupees (about $600) a year, well below India’s poverty line.  She wouldn’t have gotten the best education, however, Poorna was smart enough to earn herself a spot in a state run boarding school for underprivileged children.  While there, a school administrator recognized her impressive athletic abilities and thought she would be a good candidate for a mountaineering training program.  100 students from Poorna’s school went to rock climbing training, and Poorna was one of only 20 who went on to receive training in ice and snow climbing.  There, her instructor told her what Mount Everest was, and she began training to climb it.  When asked why she decided to climb Everest by a reporter, she said, “I wanted to prove that girls could do anything, that social welfare students could do anything”.  And she did.  Poorna, her guides, and one older student reached the summit of Mount Everest early in the morning on May 25th, 2014.  The whole trip took 52 days.  Poorna is now back in school, and after she finishes her education she hopes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

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