Freshta Jafari joined Ascend in July 2015 as Project Coordinator. Originally from Bamiyan province, she is now studying for her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the American University of Afghanistan. In her spare time she volunteers for a youth organization. Freshta has played volleyball for over four years, and has always wanted to be a sportswoman. Mountaineering is new for her, and has already become her favorite sport. She loves to work with women on behalf of women – she joined Ascend to help women and support this mountaineering team. She strives to be a role model for other Afghan women by achieving success in her own unique way and inspiring others to do the same.
Kristen van Norman
Kristen van Norman joined the Ascend team in September 2015 from Avon, CO where she grew up. After graduating from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies with a M.A. in International Human Rights with concentrations in Gender and International Law in the Middle East, she worked at a small non-profit in Vail promoting lifelong education as their Program and Development Manager. After hearing about the work being done by Ascend in Afghanistan, she was inspired to share her love of rock climbing with the Ascend team. Growing up in the Rocky Mountains, Kristen has a deep understanding of the mountains and it is the hope of Ascend that she will be able to share not only her skills but her appreciation of the alpine landscape with the Ascend team.
At home, you will find Kristen enjoying many outdoor pursuits such as rock climbing, hiking, camping, rafting, and snowboarding.