Bold move: “Woman are capable of anything. Even a Saudi woman can stand on top of the world,” proclaims Raha. And conquer the world she did: one summit at a time. Her love affair with altitude started with a Kilimanjaro climb in 2011 and since then she has climbed eight of the world’s largest summits, including Everest in 2013 – the first Saudi woman to do so.
Work ethic: The American University of Sharjah graduate credits her parents with her can-do attitude. “I was blessed with parents who never asked me to change, who taught me to dream big and live even bigger, and they raised me with the belief that life is what you make of it.” Still, she had to work damn hard to get to the top. “I’m a desert-born Arab woman; almost everything was difficult! From training to gear preparations, societal pressures, and even visa applications, it was all challenge. But it was worth the heartache,” she adds.
Future goals: There are sure to be many more adventures to come for Raha – the word no is not in her vocab. “When I first decided to climb Everest, I was told I couldn’t. And at that moment, I knew I would, no matter what. No is the most powerful motivator, if you let it be.” What’s next? “I want to see, feel, hear and taste it all” she says, cryptically. Watch this space.
Be inspired: “I made history as the first Saudi woman to climb Everest, proving you can attempt the impossible and maybe even achieve it, no matter where you are from. Mine is the story of the girl that could.”