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Silvia Vasquez-Lavado    

Peruvian-American Explorer & Mountaineer; Founder/CEO of Courageous Girls; Author

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado is a native Peruvian and sexual violence survivor. In October 2005, during a trek to the Base Camp of Mt. Everest, Silvia realized this journey would allow her to rekindle her inner power and heal her spiritually. During her 7 day magical adventure through the Himalayas, Silvia developed an incredible sense of resilience, strength, compassion and most importantly, the reconnection to her inner courageous girl.

Silvia began a quest to climb the world’s Seven Summits. She first summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in Oct, 2005; Mt. Elbrus, Russia in Sept, 2006; and she attempted Mt. Denali, Alaska in June, 2012 before turning back due to weather. She set off to climb Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina in Dec, 2013.

Summiting Aconcagua proved to be a life-changing experience for her. The day after coming down from the Summit, Silvia was determined to climb the remaining peaks – before attempting Mt. Everest. She also decided she would not go alone. Instead, she vowed bring four 18-year-old women – all survivors of sexual violence – from the San Francisco Bay Area as well as survivors of sexual violence from Nepal.

In 2014, Vasquez-Lavado launched Courageous Girls, a nonprofit that helps survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking with opportunities to find their strength and cultivate their voice by demonstrating their physical strength. The foundation's mission is to provide the healing and empowering of sexually abused girls through physical endurance, creative, somatic and mindfulness techniques.

Silvia’s own experiences proven so monumental in healing her soul that she was determined to give this opportunity to a very special group of Courageous Girls. Silvia was able to bring survivors of sexual violence to the base of Mt. Everest and was able to witness how these young women found their own courage, developed their own strength and grew in terms of their own healing with their sisters from all around the world.

Silvia became the first Peruvian women to summit Mt. Everest in May 2016 and become the first openly gay women to complete the 7 Summits by summiting Denali on June 2018. Silvia summited Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia and Carstensz Pyramid in the island of Papua, Oceania in March of 2015 and Vinson Massif in Antarctica in December of 2015.

Silvia's upcoming memoir, In the Shadow of the Mountain, will be published in 2022, and has been optioned for a movie adaptation, starring Selena Gomez.

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