Barbara Hillary is no ordinary 88-year-old woman. In 2007, at the age of 75, the retired nurse from Harlem and two-time cancer survivor ( www.barbarahillary.com ) became the first known African-American woman to reach the North Pole. Four years later, she traveled to the South Pole, becoming the first African-American woman (and quite possibly the oldest human being!) to reach both the North and South Poles.
Now, inspired by her polar adventures, Barbara wants to use her platform to draw attention to the very real effects of climate change in another frozen landscape: the snowy wilds of Asia.
In February 2019, Barbara will travel to Outer Mongolia, where she will visit an extremely rural, nomadic tribe whose lives are being devastated by climate change and the desertification of their native steppes. In keeping with her interests in education and women’s empowerment, she will spend a day with a woman-owned-and-run company of traditional Kazakh rug makers—unusual to the area—and deliver a talk to a group of schoolchildren at a village school. She will also visit a few of the region’s first eagle huntresses to learn about the ancient Kazakh practice of hunting with golden eagles, and how women have begun to break into the traditionally all-male custom. She will then travel north to stay with the Dukha people, a tribe of nomadic reindeer herders whose little-known way of life is waning and all but lost even among their own youth. Barbara will be the first African-American ever to visit the Duhka at their winter camp, a locale only very rarely seen by visitors.
In addition to corporate sponsorship, we are looking for donations to help send Barbara on this incredible and worthy expedition. A lifelong boundary-breaker who defies expectations to remind us what we are all capable of, Barbara has been an inspiration to many people in her lifetime, particularly women and girls, and now looks to bring her curiosity and courage to a new environmental frontier.