The first women's cycling team in Afghanistan. A Nobel Peace Prize nomination. And one amazing woman.
Having the opportunity to represent Mountain2Mountain women's rights organization is an honor for #WeLive.
"Mountain2Mountain was founded in November 2006 by Shannon Galpin. Shannon took action on her deep conviction that all women and girls deserve the same rights and opportunities as her own daughter. She walked away from her career as an athletic trainer and used her own limited funds to launch M2M and “be the change” she wished to see in the world.
Shannon recruited volunteers and donors and developed collaborative partnerships with others working across the globe to create a voice and empower women and girls in conflict zones. After collaborating on two projects in Pakistan and Nepal, Shannon traveled to Afghanistan to develop M2M’s initial projects.
Today, M2M is a burgeoning nonprofit that has touched the lives of hundreds of men, women and children. M2M has launched projects across Afghansitan to create opportunities that were unimaginable ten years ago. In 2009, Shannon became the first woman to ride a mountain bike in Afghanistan in an effort to challenge perceptions of gender barriers and show a different side of Afghanistan back home. She returned in 2010 with her bike again to ride across the Panjshir Valley. This led to the creation of the annual Panjshir Tour, a series of grassroots rides in the US to benefit Mountain2Mountain’s programs."
I got to talk to the founder, Shannon, who is a lively mom (and probably a great brunch friend) by day, but a super cyclist and passionate humanitarian by night! Here's a section of her bio, try not to be too intimidated...
"National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, Shannon Galpin, and founder of the non profit organization Mountain2Mountain has created a unique space as a ‘disturber’. She founded Mountain2Mountain in 2007 and focused her efforts on women’s rights in conflict zones. Currently living in Colorado and a passionate single speed mountain biker, Shannon became the first person to mountain bike in Afghanistan in 2009, and the first person to cross the Panjshir Valley by bike in 2010. She has continued to challenge the gender barriers that have prevented Afghan women from riding in various parts of the country until finally she found the first women attempting to ride, and doing it as part of the national cycling team. She has spoken globally about the power of voice and upon the TEDx stage including her first talk at TEDxMileHigh about the Perception of Victimhood and the Power of Voice which illustrates the backbone of all the work she does."
Meanwhile, there are a few REALLY incredible things you should know about the Afghanistan Women's National Cyclying team:
Where does #WeLive come in? We're not going to Afghanistan...but we ARE supporting and advocating for M2M. We are supporting them by donating funds to them and promoting the CRAP out of them. So brace yourself for the many M2M posts that shall follow!
We're inspired by their tenacity, their bravery, and the miles they are going for women everywhere. We feel like what we're doing is so trivial compared to what they are doing. Make sure you follow these incredible ladies on their journey! They will be visiting the US (Colorado!) and you don't want to miss that!
You'll see them emblazoned across out cars, you've already seen them plastered on our website; we couldn't be happier about it all. If ever there was an all-women's team that deserved more recognition - it is them.
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