Kaspersky Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition

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From 04.11.2009 to 30.01.2010 - Status: success

8 women for the 60th aniversary of the Commonwealth

8 women for the 60th aniversary of the Commonwealth

© International Polar Foundation

To mark the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Commonwealth and to promote intercultural exchanges all over the world -and exploits by women in particular- eight women will be attempting the trek from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole.

"Five continents, six religions, seven languages, eight women and one ambition": that's the slogan headlining the information sent out about this expedition. Certainly the organisers of this event have not done things by halves. While eight women (practically all polar beginners) will be setting out to conquer the South Pole, they were selected from over 800 hopefuls for the trip. The final selection was made last March after a particularly tough training trip through the polar steppes in Norway: sixteen women took part, with half making the final eight.
The eight women hail from all over the world and are (in order of presentation at their website):

  • Dk Najibah Eradah binti P. A. M. Al-Sufri Pg M-L Kaha, from the sultanate of Brunei (25 years of age), a diplomat with the Brunei government, taught mathematics for three years at secondary school.
  • Stephanie Solomides, representing Cyprus (25), an IT tools implementation manager in the capital, Nicosia. 
  • Barbara Yanney, born in Ghana (29), studied in the United States, newspaper editor and freelance journalist.
  • Reena Kaushal Dharmshaktu, from India (38), outdoor instructor from Darjeeling, but currently based in Delhi.
  • Kim-Marie Spence, representing Jamaica (30), works in a think-tank and is involved in social projects in Kingston.
  • Kylie Wakelin, from New Zealand (36), owned a small business hiring and selling boats, now intends to pursue a flying career as a pilot.
  • Sophia Pang, citizen of Singapore (36), combines being an IT consultant and a kickboxing and aerobics instructor.
  • Felicity Aston, from the United Kingdom (31), is the founder of the project. Has worked for three years in the Antarctic for the British Antarctic Survey. Expedition leader.

A noteworthy point is that out of these eight women, four of them (from Brunei, Cyprus, Ghana and Jamaica) will become the first individuals of either sex from their country to ski to the North Pole, while the participants from Singapore, New Zealand and India, will be the first women from their country to attempt this trek.

Final note: these days, with the development of polar tourism, the trek between Hercules Inlet and the South Pole (approximately 800 km) has become the great Antarctic classic. Although some people may call it a ‘walk in the park', it has to be said that the women on the Kapersky expedition have virtually no experience of polar treks and will have to live out on the ice for over 50 days in the type of conditions we have become familiar with. If they succeed, it will be a very fine victory indeed.

Finally, just a reminder that the Commonwealth today is made up of 52 nations with a population of two billion people.

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