Written by Uthara Menon, a grade 4 student.
At 13, Malavath Poorna became the youngest girl ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest. But that’s not the only mountain she has conquered. This fearless girl has climbed the tallest peaks on six continents. Poorna has proved that you can achieve anything if set your mind to it.
From a village to a mountain
Malavath Poorna’s life is not a fairy tale, but a real-life story of great success. She was born in a small tribal village in Nizamabad district in Telangana. Her parents are simple farmers. When she was 10 years old, her father enrolled her in a school run by TSWREIS at Tadwai. This was a residential school, where Poorna got a chance to study, and learn new skills. A mountain climbing workshop in the eighth grade turned out to be an exciting adventure. Her coach, Shekhar Babu, saw her talent as a climber. Encouraged by the secretary of TSWREIS, RS Praveen Kumar, an IPS officer, Poorna began training to climb Everest. Shekhar Babu trained Poorna and S Anand Kumar for Operation Everest.
Ain’t no mountain high enough
When Poorna saw Mount Everest for the first time, she told her coach, “It’s not that tall. We can climb it in a day.” She was not awed by the tallest mountain in the world. She had trained for it hard by climbing mountains in Ladakh and Darjeeling, running twenty kilometres every day, and eating a protein-rich diet. She was ready to climb Everest. And, on the 25th of May, 2014, Poorna reached the top of Mount Everest. She was only thirteen years and eleven months old!
And that’s not all
You would think that after conquering Mount Everest, Poorna put away her climbing shoes. Not a chance! Her victory made her more determined. She set out to climb the tallest peaks in each continent.
Here’s a list of the peaks where Poorna has unfurled the flag of India:
- Mount Everest in Asia in 2014
- Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa in 2016
- Mount Elbrus in Europe in 2017
- Mount Aconcagua in South America in 2019
- Mount Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea in 2019
- Mount Vinson in Antarctica in 2019
Climbing Mount Vinson in Antarctica is extra special as Poorna is the first tribal to achieve this. Her next destination is Mount Denali in Alaska, every climber’s dream.
Nothing is impossible!
Poorna wants to teach children and young girls that if they decide, they can do anything. She visits schools in remote areas to encourage students to dream big. Poorna’s amazing life story has been published as a book. There’s even a movie on her titled, Poorna: Courage Has No Limit. Poorna is studying at Minnesota State University in the US. In 2020, Poorna made it to the Forbes list of self-made Indian women. She is an inspiration and we are really proud of our champion mountaineer.
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