United States (US) Embassy and Pakistan-US Alumni Network (PUAN) on Wednesday sponsored an event ‘Empowering Women through Sports’ at the Ibex Club in the capital’s Lake View Park. The daylong event allowed girls to practice wall climbing and archery, while discussing how to use sports as a way to build confidence and develop leadership skills. The event featured world record-holder American Mountain Climber And Explorer Vanessa O’Brien, a mix of more than 50 youths and team members of five-time national champion women’s club soccer team, the Young Rising Stars. Alumni of the US sponsored English Access Micro scholarship Programme, as well as members of community groups from throughout the region also participated in the event.
I’ve had a wonderful experience in Pakistan, O’Brien said. It’s a wonderful opportunity to use this climbing wall activity to help women explore the concept of team-building and develop trust in their own skills and abilities. She encouraged all the participants in the special women’s empowerment event to apply the skills they practiced learning to climb in all aspects of their lives.
The US government invests $40 million on academic and professional exchange programmes, sending more than 1,300 Pakistanis to the United States each year. PUAN is among the largest US alumni networks in the world. Its mission is to encourage people-to-people relationships between Pakistanis and Americans. Consisting of more than 15,000 students and professionals who have participated in US government-sponsored exchange programmes, PUAN organises community service projects, leadership training, roundtable discussions, and community engagement activities across Pakistan. The organisation has 12 regional chapters nationwide in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Bahawalpur, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan, Gwadar, Islamabad, Jamshoro, Karachi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Lahore, Multan, and Sukkur.