BEIRUT: Always ready to achieve bigger dreams, Ramona Khalifeh refuses to rest on her laurels.
Khalifeh started running at the age of five; she grew up to become a professional hiker who hit Everest Base Camp thanks to her passion, dedication, and perseverance.
As a full-time Architect, the 23-year-old sports passionate makes sure to benefit from her free time to climb mountains, ride bicycles, swim, and work out in the gym.
“Mountain climbing is my favorite activity,” Khalifeh told Annahar. “It allowed me to admire and appreciate Lebanon even more than I already do. Seeing it from up above is something else; it’s just mind blowing.”
Being a hijabi young lady is what differentiates her, she explained.
“There are false perceptions that assume hijabi women are those who don’t play sports or travel,” she noted. “I have always wanted to fight these stereotypes and prove the opposite.”
Khalifeh decided to climb the summits of Lebanon’s mountains before exploring other peaks. And that’s what happened. As soon as she hit her Lebanese target, she came across a competition organized by Surviving Hijab, a closed women-only Facebook group that aims at tackling myths about hijab, in partnership with Facebook.
Surviving Hijab has previously won the Community Leadership Award that was launched by Mark Zuckerberg in January 2018 to support community leaders. With the amount earned, the group organized an all-female expedition to Everest Base Camp to advocate unity, tolerance, equality, and inclusiveness for all women.
To win the competition and be part of the journey, the applicants had to submit videos showing their capacities. Khalifeh was one of the two winners.
“I spent so much time working on the video. I was really passionate about the trip and the cause,” Khalifeh said.
To gear up herself for the big mission, Khalifeh asked for the help of different parties but, was met with many rejections.
“Some didn’t believe in me, while others refused to help me,” she explained to Annahar. “However, every rejection made me stronger and more determined to reach my goal.”
The challenging two-week trek ended with Khalifeh hoisting her country’s flag on the base camp of the world’s highest mountain.
“When I first arrived there, I started crying. It was an overwhelming feeling. I felt proud to represent Lebanon in such an adventure,” she said.
Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations. Naya Editor, Sally Farhat: [email protected]
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