WHAT WE DO
Since its founding in 2014 Ascend’s mission has been to empower girls through high quality, high impact sports-based leadership training.
Every year since 2015, Ascend graduated approx 20 girls through our program in Afghanistan. In 2021 we finally had the means to accept 75 and furthermore open the first sports centre for women in Kabul.
In 2021 the regime change in Afghanistan meant that Ascend had to pivot, lock the doors to the new sports centre, and change focus to evacuate our Afghan staff members, key at-risk participants and in some cases, where possible, their families.
During this time our team worked around the clock and we could not have accomplished what we did without the help of our staff, board members, and volunteers as well as numerous kind individuals that stepped up either to advocate for visas, donate and form support groups in the countries where the girls have ended up. It has truly been heartwarming to see people come together and help strangers in time of need.
In February 2022 evacuations are now over and out of 135 people evacuated the majority have been resettled in Chile, the U.S., Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Poland, and Kazakhstan,with a group still waiting for visas in Abu Dhabi.
Now that most of the evacuated people have started their new lives in new locations it is time for Ascend to look forward and empower new girls again.
Ascend Alumnae Association
Previously girls that were members of our program would graduate by the end of the year and become part of our alumni in Kabul. The class of 2021 was different and instead of graduating and joining the occasional workshop or yoga session in our center in Kabul, they are now spread across the world. This doesn’t mean that we will leave them behind by any means; we have therefore formally established the Ascend Alumnae Association, which is open for any former Ascend member, wherever she is. It is a community where the girls can still connect and have a support network.
During Covid we got very good at virtual programming and we have restarted and formalised this now. This is an online community that the girls can sign up to where we offer high quality fitness and yoga classes, advice, workshops on female health, personal finances, language training with more to come.
Next steps in Afghanistan and beyond
Now that the dust has settled we are investigating options for establishing Ascend in a new country. We will be able to share more on this in the coming months.