Daring to Soar

Interview by
Diane Danvers Simmons
Natalie Simmons
Published on
March 10, 2021

In this episode...

In their first episode back, Diane & Natalie, speak to humanitarian mother-daughter duo, Maryam & Skylar Montague about feminism, the societal pressures of being a woman in Morocco and the characteristics of true empowerment as brought to life through nonprofit, Project Soar.


Maryam Montague

Maryam Montague has devoted her career to international development, with 25+ years’ experience in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Ms. Montague is passionate about youth organizing, and the organization she founded, Project Soar, won the 2020 With and For Girls Award.

Skylar Montague

Skylar attends Duke University on the pre-med track majoring in Biology and minoring in Arabic as she works towards a career in biomedical research. In 2014, Skylar founded the Project Soar running club to empower girls to rise against the stereotype that girls are only destined for marriage.


In the first episode of season two of Mothers and Daughters Unfiltered , hosts Natalie and Diane are joined by special guests Maryam and Skylar Montague, a mother-daughter duo from Morocco. Maryam is a humanitarian, designer, author, blogger and founder of Project Soar, a program dedicated to the empowerment of young girls. Her daughter Skylar is a college student who, greatly inspired by her mother, has embarked on humanitarian projects of her own. She attests to feeling lucky in terms of her upbringing, as she was able to attend a school that did not discriminate against her. Many girls in Morocco are never given the opportunity to attend school at all. Maryam says in order to bring a great idea into fruition, you must be resilient, able to learn, be open, and just keep trying. Together they discuss topics including feminism, societal pressures, following your dreams, community and the characteristics of true empowerment.


2:20 - Natalie’s takeaway from her recent cross-country road trip.

3:45 - Introduction of today’s guests.

8:00 - Diane shares the goals for the show’s upcoming season.

8:44 - The conversation begins with Maryam sharing a few details about herself, her passions

and upbringing.

11:35 - Maryam’s merging of humanitarianism and design and how she ended up in Morocco.

15:01 - Skylar discusses the ways her mother and upbringing shaped her into the woman she is


18:21 - How Project Soar came to fruition.

25:13 - Project Soar’s signature curriculum: value, voice, body, rights and path.

28:20 - Period poverty in both Morocco and the United States.

31:48 - The age group Project Soar focuses on.

33:00 - Maryam defines what feminism means to her and how she presented the concept within

her organization and community.

36:24 - Skylar shares her own contributions to Project Soar and experience at Leadership

Academy in South Africa.

41:25 - The problem Skylar would most like to solve.

44:39 - Why finding one’s purpose in life is more fulfilling than happiness.

48:00 - Skylar’s advice for girls of her own age.


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Follow Project Soar on Instagram @projectsoar

Connect with Project Soar on Twitter

Check out Project Soar's website: www.ProjectSoar.org

Donate to Project Soar

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