Mountain to Mountain empowers women with the help of the bike.
Breck resident Sharon Galpin loves mountain culture and the sports that go along with it, particularly trail running and mountain biking. The 35-year-old also has a passion for gender equity and human rights. So she decided to put the two together and create Mountain to Mountain, a nonprofit that develops programs to educate, empower and create opportunity for marginalized women and children. Her latest project? Afghanistan.
In Afghan cities, Mountain to Mountain is working in women’s prisons and to help the deaf and streetchildren. In the mountains and rural communities, the group builds schools and supports midwife training village by village.
“If we can create a situation in which women are earning money and providing valuable services, they gain respect and become valued members of their communities,” Galpin says.
Galpin pushes cultural norms in the country with the help of her bike. This fall, she was the first woman to mountain bike there, no small feat considering Afghanistan is a war zone, complete with the Taliban, landmines and a population that largely prefers women live as virtual slaves in the family home.
Galpin contends that she’s exceedingly careful, but persistent.
“When we allow stereotypes and narrow-minded opinions to dictate how we perceive a region like Afghanistan, no real changes can ever occur,” she says.
Learn about her work, and get the details on her April 22nd fundraiser in Denver at mountain2mountain.org.