Meet The 1st Female Amputee Climbing The World’s Highest Mountains All For Women’s Empowerment

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Women like Arunima Sinha and what she is doing are the reason we love our job! She is a powerhouse athlete who has used what could’ve been an excuse to give up on life to inspire others and conquer literal and figurative mountains along the way.

Her remarkable story began in 2011 when she was traveling on a train from Lucknow to Delhi. She was wearing a gold chain and was approached by thieves who tried to snatch the chain from around her neck. She tried to resist, and they ended up throwing her off the moving carriage and she fell onto nearby tracks where another train was passing by, crushing her leg.

After being left for dead overnight, despite her cries for help which went unheard, in the morning some villagers found her and took her to a local hospital which was not equipped to look after an injury as severe as hers. After receiving pints of blood from the doctors themselves who didn’t have any in storage, Arunima told them she was a national volleyball champion which eventually allowed her to be transferred to a a bigger medical college in Lucknow, and eventually a trauma center in Delhi after the Sports Minister heard of her story.

Arunima had her leg amputated and was fitted with a prosthetic. While she was recovering, she decided that she was not going to let this horrific accident dictate her life’s path, and instead of volleyball, she now wanted to take up mountaineering. She wanted to be a do-er, not just a say-er, and set her sights climbing some of the biggest mountains in the world. But not everyone thought it was such a great or inspirational idea, as it would take dedicated training and sponsorship.

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“When I shared with people that I wanted to pursue mountaineering, and try to climb Mount Everest, everyone thought I had gone mad: ‘you can never do mountaineering, one leg is artificial, and the other has a rod! Have you lost your mind? Your spine also has a fracture. Forget this and spend your life doing a normal job’,” they said to her.

One of the biggest challenges she states in the video below, was that people judge her based on her physical capabilities, and don’t take into account what her mind is capable of.

After she left hospital, determined to carry out her plan, she visited Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb Everest. She was the only person, aside from Arunima’s family, that didn’t dismiss her desire, but gave her the truth about her mission.

“Arunima in this condition you made such a huge decision. Know that you have already conquered your inner Everest. Now you need to climb the mountain only to show the world what you are made of,” she told the brave young woman.

She ended up doing a basic course at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, which also ended up supporting her with a grant. On the 21st May, 2013, she reached the Summit of Mount Everest, despite the precarious climb which has claimed many lives, including a member of her own group who died in front of her.

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After conquering Everest, Arunima decided she was going to continue her mountaineering journey, and over the past few years has Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe and Kosciuszko in Australia. In December she plans to climb Aconcagua in South America, Mt. McKinley (now Mt. Denali) in Alaska, and eventually Vinson Massif, the highest peak in Antarctica. Her dream is to summit the highest peaks in each continent around the world, but her mission has extended beyond just proving her detractors wrong.

For each climb, she raises money for the charities she is involved in including the Shahid Chandrashekhar Azad Khel Academy for underprivileged handicapped children which is a non-profit that she runs. Arunima also helped set up the Prosthetic Limb Centre Society in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh.

In September she was invited to New Jersey to take part in the education non-profit Share and Care Foundation‘s Women’s Empowerment initiative, where she was involved in helping to build leadership qualities among girls and women from low income and tribal households. This organization is specifically geared toward raising funds, creating programs and helping women and girls in India realize their full potential despite coming from lower income or disadvantaged backgrounds.

The SCF’s Women Empowerment initiative includes self-defense training, gender equity and equality issues, and livelihood projects involving training of women. They also hold leadership camps and training workshops for women. The women and girls who show great promise during these events then got to be part of another camp where she taught them about mountaineering and shared her experiences in the hope it would inspire these girls to follow their dreams.

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In a blog post for YourStory.com where she shared in detail her journey getting to climb the world’s highest mountains and conquering all negativity along the way, Arunima says the lessons she has learned have meant more to her than any other achievement she has.

“Climbing mountains has yielded the most valuable life lessons for me. It has taught me about confidence, leadership, resilience, team building and leadership. But above all it has taught me the power of humility. It doesn’t matter what you achieve in life. What matters is how those achievements make you a better person. How you treat others is at the core of what makes you a good human being,” she wrote.

In 2014 Arunima released a book titled ‘Born Again on the Mountain‘ which was launched by Indian Prim Minister Nardenra Modi. Yep, Arunima has gotten recognition from the Indian Government for her extraordinary achievements, and is also a recipient of the Malala Award.

Today Arunima is the first female amputee in the world to scale Mount Everest, a motivational speaker, and a source of empowerment to many girls, and it is clear from her list of achievements she is not done yet. We hope her story will inspire all of you to know that there is nothing in life that can stop you from doing great things unless you allow it.

To hear more from this incredible young woman, watch a talk she gave in 2014 as part of India’s inspirational INK Talks series, similar to TED Talks.


 

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  1. Pingback: Meet The First All-Female Arab Climbing Team Set To Conquer Mount Everest - GirlTalkHQ

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