Wasfia Nazreen is no stranger to adversity. As a young girl in Bangladesh, Nazreen was forced to take care of herself due to circumstances that surrounded her childhood. She talks openly about having a traumatic upbringing, but soon found her refuge from her problems in an unlikely place. Far away from her daily life, high on the snow covered mountains.
Climbing became as essential as breathing to Nazreen, and in 2015, she became the only Bangladeshi to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents, otherwise known as the Seven Summits.
In a recent interview with National Geographic, the Emerging Explorer and Adventurer of the Year talks about how climbing has helped her work through problems.
[Sometimes if] you live an idealistic life, you tend to box yourself in this small world. We just have to trust there’s such a bigger world out there. If we respect our intuition and work honestly and with patience, everything will be taken care of by the universe. As cliché as it sounds, I believe it 100 percent.
A lot of my problems in life got solved after climbing all these mountains. For example, family members came back to my life, I was finally socially accepted, and now I was a matter of pride—to a lot of people I was a source of shame before. I always say if I had known that this would solve so many problems I would have climbed these mountains many moons ago.
There is no doubt that Nazreen is an inspiration to all just from reading her story. But in this short film that was filmed entirely on an iPhone 6s, we see the young climber training for her passion, scaling lofty peaks and working to help further the advancement of women in Bangladesh.
When I look at the girl, the first thing I see is hope…and power within herself to choose her own destiny. Decide who she wants to be. She doesn’t have to be a mountaineer. Whatever the mountain is in her life, empower her to climb it.