Interview with Sara Safari: author, speaker, college professor and advocate for women empowerment by bringing attention to the plight of Nepali girls by climbing Mt. Everest

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Interview with Sara Safari: author, speaker, college professor and advocate for women empowerment by bringing attention to the plight of Nepali girls by climbing Mt. Everest

Interview Questions by: Don of Don411.com

August 8, 2016

What were you thinking on way up on Everest? Did you have any thoughts besides the challenging the technical terrain?Sara Safari Interview

(Safari) I felt ready to summit Everest. I’ve been training for the past 2.5 years almost every day and climbed many mountains all over the world for it. Thinking about my family, thinking about the Nepali girls and how they are waiting for me to come back in one piece with all my toes and fingers.

For those who can’t imagine climbing up a renowned mountain and the challenges encountered, how do you make this journey relatable?

(Safari) Imagine you are working out very hard and gasping for air and it takes you 2 minutes between each step to convince yourself and your body to take the next step. Imagine you are nauseous because of the elevation and the lack of oxygen, you have a headache, you haven’t had a shower for many days and you are cold in -20 to -30 degree temperature. Imagine having tasteless food, MREs or food that you don’t like for 60 days in a row.

When the earthquake hit on your epic climb on Everest, what were your thoughts from that point forward while trying to descend?

(Safari) I was terrified, sad and angry. I thought I will fall down and buried under tons of snow and nobody would ever find my body. I was worried about our girls. I’ve been raising money for their education but now they might be gone. I was sad about my family hearing my death news. I just felt a little peace knowing that I’m dying for a good cause.

Were there any situations to help encourage this journey?

(Safari) The president of the organization found a 5-year-old girl in the Everest region wandering around alone, abandoned by her family and he decided to adopt this girl and provide scholarship to her to continue her education. First time I met her in 2014 she was so traumatized that she wasn’t talking but now after a year in 2015 she was very lively and happy and trying to communicate with us in English which was adorable. Seeing her improvements gave me a lot of energy for my climb.

What is your next venture?

(Safari) Going to Nepal in April 2017 to visit the girls and their homes and to make sure they are doing good after the devastating earthquake.

What specific incidences while in your formative years made you into the person you are today?

(Safari) Growing up in Iran in gender discrimination, seeing women as a second citizens, I could completely relate to these neglected girls who are forced to get married at a very young age or might become victims of human trafficking. I wanted to save them all. I wanted them to have the same opportunities as a girl in USA.

What did you learn about yourself specifically?

(Safari) I learned about my powers and potentials that I didn’t know they exist. I learned anything is possible with persistence and commitment. I learned there is only limit in our beliefs not human potentials. I learned the best way to deal with fears is to face them and accept them. I learned that I’m very lucky and fortunate that I have warm food and a safe place to sleep every night. I learned to appreciate all the things I have and I don’t have. I learned we are all the same as human beings and everyone deserves opportunities to grow. Those kids growing up in Nepal never decided to be born in a poor family, if they had a choice they would have picked a rich family in USA. One way to appreciate my life is trying to provide some opportunities for them.

If you could go back in time, and give yourself advice, what would that be?

(Safari) Take the landmark forum as soon as possible.

If you had a chance to do anything over, what would that be?

(Safari) Nothing.

While it is a most remarkable for one person to bring attention to a specific cause, isn’t it interfering with cultural relativism? Is it wrong to impose western values on others? Is it the responsibility of the government and it’s people of those respective countries to take issue?  Is it a culture and religious issue that has to be changed to address this fully?

(Safari) Interesting question! As an organization our goal is to provide education and opportunities for our girls and in general to their communities. Some of these girls haven’t met a woman mountain climber or a woman engineer. For them life is getting married at 15 and have kids right after. When they meet us, the group of volunteers from USA, including successful women in different areas, I see this spark of light in their eyes when they learn there are more possibilities and they have many more options in life. I don’t call this imposing western values, this is just creating possibilities and giving them a chance.

What 2 questions would you want asked of you, that haven’t been asked before, and what would be the answers?

– Tell us more about Empower Nepali Girls.

(Safari) It’s a non-profit organization, volunteer base, our only staff is one of our scholarship girls who is taking care of the other girls. We have 300 girls in 14 different villages. The cost for each girl to go to school one whole year is $170. Dr. Jeffrey Kottler founded the organization 15 years ago. All the donations are tax deductible.

– How people can purchase your book “Follow My Footsteps” that is recently published about your Everest climb to help with the fundraising?

(Safari) My book is available on Amazon website. All the profit goes to Empower Nepali Girls. For more information check our website www.followmyfootsteps.org

What are some fun thing others should know about you?

(Safari) I only started mountain climbing 3 years ago and before that I never went camping before. I hated cold weather and never slept in a sleeping bag.

How can others get involved?

(Safari) Help us in the next fundraiser, donate ($170) to send a girl to school one whole year, come with us to Nepal to empower the girls, buy my book and share it with friends and family to inspire them.

How can others contact you (website, social media links)?

www.sarasafari.com

or

www.empowernepaligirls.org

Link to book:

Follow My Footsteps

A Journey of Adventure, Disaster, and Redemption Inspired by the Plight of At-Risk Girls

Authored by Sara Safari, Jeffrey Kottler

www.createspace.com/6302035

www.amazon.com/dp/0692725806/

Description (from www.createspace.com/6302035 ; August 8, 2016)

Sara Safari Interview 1In Follow My Footsteps, Sara Safari and Jeffrey Kottler recount the thrilling tale of Sara’s climb to the top of Mount Everest for a cause: bringing awareness to the plight of marginalized girls and victims of child sex trafficking around the world.

As a young girl in Iran after the Islamic Revolution, Sara experienced firsthand the oppressive, restrictive environment that enables the sex-trafficking trade to thrive. She found herself with little personal freedom and few rights under the law, and she knew there had to be something better.

As an adult, Sara wanted to empower children who’d been cast aside by society, so she set out on a journey fraught with obstacles and life-threatening peril.

She’d never before understood the quest for the glory that came with standing atop the world. But what better way to show these young girls that they can do anything they put their minds to?

Her own heartbreaking past makes the story of her determination all the more inspirational. The trials she faced changed her forever and helped her discover a strength she didn’t know she had.

Publication Date: May 25 2016

ISBN/EAN13: 0692725806 / 9780692725801

Page Count: 232

Binding Type: US Trade Paper

Trim Size: 6″ x 9″

Language: English

##

Biography of Sara Safari (from www.sarasafari.com ; August 8, 2016)

Sara Safari is an author, speaker, mountain climber, college professor and advocate for women empowerment. She was born in Iran. She moved to the United Stated in 2002 and continued her education in electrical engineering at UCLA. She graduated summa cum lauda in 2009. After working in large companies such as Broadcom and Raytheon, she realized her passion lies in teaching. When she started teaching at California State University Fullerton, she met the founder of the Empower Nepali Girls foundation. She decided to climb and summit Mt. Everest (29000ft) to bring funds and awareness for the girls who become victims of human trafficking or are forced into early marriage. Last year, during the devastating 7.8 earthquake that hit Nepal, she survived the avalanches on Mt. Everest and came back down to help the victims and families, 10,000 of whom lost their lives and 100,000 kids lost their homes. She received the award for The Global Citizen from United Nations Association in 2015. She is a board member and director of development in Empower Nepali Girls. She dedicated her book “Follow My Footsteps” to ENG. She is working on her Ph.D. In leadership and change.

In April of 2015 Sara Safari was climbing Mount Everest to plant the flag of her charitable organization empowering marginalized girls on the top of the highest point in the world. She felt strong and ready for the arduous climb after having spent more than two years training and preparing for the adventure. She was climbing the last few meters of the infamous Khumbu Icefall, the most dangerous part of the ascent, when a devastating earthquake rocked the country, killing more than 10,000 people, leaving more than 100,000 children without homes, and completely destroying Base Camp. For those stuck on the mountain, crushing avalanches and aftershocks collapsed the icefall, leaving the woman hanging on to the wall and ladder by her ice ax.

Unlike most of the climbers who attempt Everest for personal glory, this woman was risking her life in order to bring greater attention to the thousands of girls in Nepal who are trafficked into sex slavery or forced into early marriage.After a week, she was rescued in a daring helicopter landing, She found the girls in a devastating situation and doubled her efforts of fundraising to build back houses and schools in Nepal.

She was a neophyte climber who had given up her new hobby when she found the challenges and physical rigors too difficult. She wondered why anyone would subject themselves to such danger and discomfort, just to be able to say they stood on top of the world. She needed an incentive far greater than mere personal achievement and eventually she found that motivation in the plight of the girls she was trying to help.

She recently wrote an inspirational book about her life changing experience, spiritual redemption and a search for social justice called “Follow My Footsteps”. She is donating all the profit to the neglected and marginalized girls, to a non profit called “Empower Nepali Girls”.

[Press Release]

Young Humanitarian Helping Nepali Girls Survives Earthquake on Mt. Everest

Even the roar of an avalanche couldn’t dampen Sara Safari’s drive. Nothing would stop her from shining a light on child sex trafficking from the top of Mount Everest.

In Follow My Footsteps, Sara Safari and Jeffrey Kottler recount the thrilling tale of Sara’s climb to the top of Mount Everest for a cause: bringing awareness to the plight of marginalized girls and victims of child sex trafficking around the world.

As a young girl in Iran after the Islamic Revolution, Sara experienced firsthand the oppressive, restrictive environment that enables the sex-trafficking trade to thrive. She found herself with little personal freedom and few rights under the law, and she knew there had to be something better. As an adult, Sara wanted to empower children who’d been cast aside by society, so she set out on a journey fraught with obstacles and life-threatening peril. She’d never before understood the quest for the glory that came with standing atop the world. But what better way to show these young girls that they can do anything they put their minds to?

Her own heartbreaking past makes the story of her determination all the more inspirational. The trials she faced changed her forever and helped her discover a strength she didn’t know she had.

Sara Safari is an author, speaker, mountain climber, college professor and advocate for women empowerment. 3 years ago, she decided to climb and summit Mt. Everest (29000ft) to bring funds and awareness for the girls who become victims of human trafficking or are forced into early marriage. Last year, during the devastating 7.8 earthquake that hit Nepal, she survived the avalanches on Mt. Everest and came back down to help the victims and families, 10,000 of whom lost their lives and 100,000 kids lost their homes.

She received the award for The Global Citizen from United Nations Association in 2015. She is a board member and director of development in Empower Nepali Girls. She has recently published her book and dedicated it to the girls. She is donating all the profit to Empower Nepali Girls a non-profit organization that provides education to the neglected and marginalized girls in Nepal.

Here is the link to her book:

https://www.createspace.com/6302035

Her website:

www.sarasafari.com

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