While Elena Kvochko ’10 (Master of Public Policy and Administration) spends most of her time as a Chief Information Officer for the international bank Barclays, she recently took time out from her work to challenge herself by literally climbing mountains. Kvochko traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal and onward up the Nepali side of Mount Everest as part of a charity challenge to raise awareness for Refugees International, a nonprofit organization which advocates for assistance for refugees and encourages political solutions to crises that cause people to leave their homes.
Though Kvochko has never been above 12,000 feet before, she hiked up more than 18,000 feet to the Khumbu Icefall, an area on Mount Everest just above the peak’s Base Camp. She says the climb was on the edge of her current abilities, and Kvochko was challenged along the way with extreme sun and wind during the days and cold nights with no heat.
In addition to her climb, Kvochko raised more than $10,000 for Refugees International through a GoFundMe effort.
“It wasn't something that I had ever done before and in general, I'm not a fan of heights or cold temperatures. But I hoped it would inspire my friends, raise awareness about refugees and displaced people, and promote the amazing work of Refugees International,” she explains.
“Throughout my career, my goal has always been to make communities and the world more open, connected, and secure. I think living in a safe place with hopes and opportunities shouldn’t be a privilege, but rather a human right,” adds Kvochko.