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Reach for the Stars! – An excerpt from ‘Fearless’

Inspirational women from all over the world have held their own in the face of discrimination, inequality and injustice. These women have been politicians, lawyers, activists, artists and more – with the common goal of raising their voices and fighting for the greater good no matter their nationality, race or religion.

Fearless explores this notion by collating a variety of stories focused on the inspirational women of Pakistan and the strength they have displayed in their own lives.

You can read an example of one such story, about the life astronaut Namira Salim below:

Namira Salim was a quiet, meditative child whose head was quite literally in the stars. It was her dream to become an astronaut but for a little girl from Pakistan, this seemed an impossible fantasy.

Namira was obsessed with the night sky and never asked for her parents for anything— except to be sent into space! ‘I was literally born with the dream of going to space. And the unshaken belief that I would.’

Her parents caved and got Namira her first telescope at the age of 14—she never looked down again as her sights were firmly set on her goal! She was part of the pioneering astronomy society in Pakistan and would spend hours gazing at the stars. Her family moved to the UAE and Namira eagerly participated in star-gazing parties in the desert. She met David McNaughton, one of the first people in the world to go into space, here and became his mentee.

As a college student studying International Relations and later as a resident of Monaco, Namira continued to be deeply absorbed by and involved in space-related activities, even launching a range of ‘space true’ jewelry under a private artistic label called A Soul Affair.

A recognized polar explorer, Namira was the first Pakistani to reach the North Pole in April 2007 and the South Pole in January 2008. She is also the first Asian to skydive (tandem) over Mount Everest in 2008 and the only Pakistani in Virgin’s Galactic commercial space liner, an opportunity he was shortlisted for as a future astronaut out of 1,44,000 applications to travel into space.

However, Namira wasn’t about to just sit around waiting for the first commercial flight to take off! She decided to get qualified officially by completing her training in the US and became the first Pakistani to do so. She also founded Space Trust, a non-profit initiative that promotes space as the New Frontier for Peace, via novel peace initiatives to inspire change and encourage dialogue.

You can read more about Namira and other stories about inspirational and incredible women like her in Fearless – grab your copy today!

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