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Ascend: October Newsletter

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Afghan Adjustment Act Needs Your Support

We are asking you to contact your U.S. Representatives today and ask them to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA), a bipartisan, bicameral piece of legislation to be voted on during

Reihana at work in North Carolina

the US Congressional budget reconciliation process. If passed, this legislation would provide a pathway to permanent US residency for Afghans who were evacuated in 2021. We need to see this legislation PASSED. Afghan refugees who have come to the U.S. are our friends, neighbors and coworkers. They have already begun to set roots in America and become woven in the fabric of our country. They deserve the certainty of a place to call home forever.

Many Afghans who evacuated in 2021 have come to the US on Humanitarian Parole visas which allows for temporary lawful presence in the US but does NOT provide a path to lawful permanent US residence (known as a "green card"). Without this legislation, Afghans will have to seek alternative pathways such as asylum, which is cumbersome, costly and already backlogged; and returning to Afghanistan is not a viable or safe option.

The AAA is legislation, with support on both sides of the aisle, as well as support from organizations and communities across the US, such as Women for Afghan Women and Afghan SIV Evacuation Coalition.

Please call your Representative and encourage them to co-sponsor the AAA. Or visit one of these websites to send a quick message to Congress:

Then share this message with others and encourage them to make a call. Our Afghan friends deserve to feel safe and welcomed and able to put down roots in their new home; this legislation would provide that pathway. Please take action today so our Afghan neighbors are not left behind.

Ascend is Hiring!

We weren't joking when we said plans were underway for programming in Pakistan. With an eye towards early 2023 as a target start date, Ascend is seeking a full time Master Trainer. The ideal candidate will come with knowledge and training as an outdoor instructor with climbing and mountaineering experience. She should have a passion for leadership and women’s empowerment and have some background in teaching and course development. The position will be based in Skardu, Pakistan.

Investing in Ascend Provides Opportunities for Young Women

Since 2015, over 200 girls have participated in Ascend’s program. The girls have come from various backgrounds and experiences but they all come with the desire to learn - about themselves, about mountaineering, about how to make a difference, and about how to use their skills and talents to build a

better world.

Ascend provides the opportunity for girls to strengthen their leadership and service skills in a classroom setting, and then (safely) takes them to the mountains, where they can put those skills to use and unlock parts of themselves they hadn’t known before. Oftentimes it can be difficult to see our own potential until we are put into a new and challenging environment. This is why Ascend uses the mountains as a tool for teaching.

Acend provides the roadmap but it is the girls in the driver’s seat, taking control of their destinies, discovering new opportunities and skills, engaging with and supporting one another. The pride, courage and strength they find in themselves they carry into the future. It is for these reasons Ascend is restarting programming in Afghanistan and working with Pakistan to initiate a program for girls there. We want you to be a part of this journey of encouraging and lifting up girls.

Alumnae Association and Resettlement News

Many of you have already heard the news that all 134 Afghan refugees Ascend evacuated are finally in their new homes. We are so grateful to all of you who donated and volunteered in so many ways to make resettlement a success. As proud as we are of all that we accomplished together in the past year, we are ready to close this chapter and get back to climbing mountains (figuratively and literally)!

Ascend is shifting to a new model of support for our former Ascend girls, one where they can network and support each other in more meaningful ways. We're calling it the Ascend Alumnae Association or the AAA for short. The AAA's main purpose is to provide a channel of communication between members as a means to share information, events, opportunities, and more, for the benefit of members; and to help organize events, gather members, provide support, offer service, and build community.

We'll share the all the amazing things our Alumnae are up to with all of you so stay tuned.

Alumnae in Chile Hike with the German Alpine Club

Ascend Alumnae hiking in Chile with the DAV

Recently the group of Ascend Alumnae living in Chile were invited by the German Andean Association (Deutscher Andenvereinb or DAV) on a local hike in Cerro Canoitas. The group remarked, “It was a great journey”. Ascend Alumnae are hopeful this was just the first of many outdoor adventures in Chile, with each other, and with DAV.

Alumnae in Poland Begin University

Sara and Asma in Poland

Ascend Alumnae, Sara and Asma, started at Jagiellonian University in Poland this fall, one as part of the Global and Development Studies Program, the other a BA student in European Studies. Both young women have settled into life in Poland, are employed and are eagerly learning the Polish language. We are proud of their accomplishments and determination.

Ascend Alumna Featured Speaker

On October 11, Ascend Alumna Manizha will be guest speaker on Chai & Chat, a forum highlighting the voices of women and children from Afghanistan hosted by Women Leaders of Tomorrow. Manizha will speak on the obstacles she faced, how she has overcome, and her future goals, in recognition of International Day of the Girl Child. To listen in on October 11 at 11:25 am PST, go to

Artwork from Ireland

Several of the Ascend Alumnae in the Dublin, Ireland area have been producing some amazing works of art. Here are a few of their pieces. Artists include: Neda, Aziza, Mohadesa, Roqia, Shogufa, and Sadaf.

Festival de Films Femmes en Montagne

Ascend’s film Ascending Afghanistan: Women Rising, has been chosen to be featured at the Femmes en Montagne (Women in the Mountains) Film Festival November 9-13, 2002 in Annecy, France. The Ascend film will be shown November 9th. If you are in the area and are interested in attending, please visit

Report from Chiltern's Hike

On Saturday, September 24, a brave group of Ascend supporters set out to complete the Chilterns Challenge in the beautiful English countryside; a 25km or 50km hike through the Chiltern Hills. The team raised over £2,000! This year included the option to set up a hike from anywhere in the world, for those who could not be in the UK itself. With legs rested and spirits restored, we look forward to hiking with you all again next year. Stay tuned for information on a hiking fundraiser in the U.S. in spring 2023.

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