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Mt Kilimanjaro – What Trek4mandela Means


Despite some progress in championing the women’s cause in recent years, many girls continue to suffer from discrimination and exclusion in education.

An estimated 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in 2013, according to reports.

Different stakeholders have engaged in efforts to help young girls attend school. Among them is Nelson Mandela Foundation that has researched on reasons for girls missing out in schools.

It has come up with ‘Trek4Mandela’ initiative that seeks funds from individuals and organizations to sponsor celebrities who hike Mount Kilimanjaro. The funds are used to help girls in South Africa and Tanzania.

Trek4Mandela was established in 2012 when Richard Mabaso of Imbumba Foundation and founder and visionary of ‘Caring- 4Girls’ overheard a fearful conversation between his mother and his niece on menstrual challenges.

This got him to take action and inspire change through establishing the ‘Trek4Mandela’ expedition to create awareness on the plight of underprivileged girls in rural and poor schools during their menstrual cycles. The ethos of Mandela Day is ‘Take Action Inspire Change’. Now in its fourth year, the hopes to distribute sanitary pads and advice to 270,000 girls to help them stay in school.

This July, some 31 international celebrities conquered Mount Kilimanjaro in a ‘Trek4Mandela’ initiative to support the underprivileged young girls attain quality education. Mr Mabaso says out of 37 people from different nations who started the journey on July 14 this year, 31 of them summated the Uhuru Peak, two reached at Stella Point and one at Gilman’s Point. They were subsequently issued with certificates by Siha District Commissioner (DC), Dr Charles Mlingwa.

A special cake ‘draped’ in South African flag and a Nelson Mandela portrait was handed over to them as well. Mr Mabaso is buoyant the expedition will be able to raise enough funds for the needy girls, as fundraising events in support of each climber are ongoing in South Africa. He formed the idea in 2012 after he learnt a lot of girls failed to attend school due to poverty.

The charity educates people about Mandela Day and the need to take action beyond the 18th of every July thereby make every day a Mandela Day and cherish his core values; core values: ubuntu, dignity, authentic leadership, freedom for self and others and selfless service to humanity.

Mr Mabaso plans to bring about twice the number of this year’s climbers come next year. Among those who conquered Mount Kilimanjaro this time is South African adventurer, Mr Sibusiso Vilane; first black person in the world to conquer the three poles challenge – South Pole, North Pole and Mount Everest twice.

He says the aim of conquering the world’s highest freestanding mountain is to voice out to the world of how important it is to have Mandela’s spirit and inspire everybody for change. They aim to reach out to 20 million girls by 2020. “We have to ensure that our girls get the maximum support they can in order to be able to go to school.

We cannot afford to have people who failed to go to school because of a need that is so basic, that we could have fulfilled,” says Mr Mabaso.

Dr Mlingwa thanks Mandela Foundation for the initiative to help the needy girls and says it will also highly boost tourism sector in the country as well as the economy. He urges Tanzanians to take their time to scale the mountain instead of leaving the voyage to foreigners, saying the country is endowed with unique natural resources in Mount Kilimanjaro National Park and other national parks.

A special cake ‘draped’ in South African flag and a Nelson Mandela portrait was handed over to them as well. Mr Mabaso is buoyant the expedition will be able to raise enough funds for the needy girls, as fundraising events in support of each climber are ongoing in South Africa. He formed the idea in 2012 after he learnt a lot of girls failed to attend school due to poverty.

The charity educates people about Mandela Day and the need to take action beyond the 18th of every July thereby make every day a Mandela Day and cherish his core values; core values: ubuntu, dignity, authentic leadership, freedom for self and others and selfless service to humanity.

Mr Mabaso plans to bring about twice the number of this year’s climbers come next year. Among those who conquered Mount Kilimanjaro this time is South African adventurer, Mr Sibusiso Vilane; first black person in the world to conquer the three poles challenge – South Pole, North Pole and Mount Everest twice.

He says the aim of conquering the world’s highest freestanding mountain is to voice out to the world of how important it is to have Mandela’s spirit and inspire everybody for change. They aim to reach out to 20 million girls by 2020. “We have to ensure that our girls get the maximum support they can in order to be able to go to school.

We cannot afford to have people who failed to go to school because of a need that is so basic, that we could have fulfilled,” says Mr Mabaso.

Dr Mlingwa thanks Mandela Foundation for the initiative to help the needy girls and says it will also highly boost tourism sector in the country as well as the economy. He urges Tanzanians to take their time to scale the mountain instead of leaving the voyage to foreigners, saying the country is endowed with unique natural resources in Mount Kilimanjaro National Park and other national parks.

“I thank those who initiated this idea but also celebrities who came and the sponsors willing to help the poor girls in South Africa. If this mountain was not in Tanzania we would not get the opportunity, but because God gave it to us, many people come for different good causes and our daughters now get their share by being assured of quality education,” he says.

The ornitonologist notes that very few Tanzanians have experienced the park that has the entire world’s climatic regions, hence a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic, with an alpine desert within that supports little vegetation. In the expedition was The Isidingo: The Need character, Jack Devnarain who has promises to take time with Tanzania actors with view to equip them with best techniques in their field.

Mr Devnarain who plays as Rajesh Kumar says he is in high spirits to make it to Uhuru Peak and is ready to share his experience with Tanzanian characters. He says Tanzania is a great country and he is ready to help its actors and actresses bring more impact to the field nationally and internationally.

Mr Devnarain (44) says will arrange a special tour for that purpose and will liaise with Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) who in turn will network the event with responsible organizations.

“I am happy that I conquered the world’s freely standing mountain and the highest in Africa and I am open to offer technical support to Tanzanian actors so that they prosper in the field but also make Tanzania more famous on that side of life,” says Mr Devnarain who has a university education in drama.

The former policeman and lawyer with hobbies of power lifting has won a Golden Horn Award for Best Supporting Actor in a TV Soap and was nominated for Golden Horn Award for Best Actor in a Feature Film.

TANAPA Tourism and Marketing Director, Mr Ibrahim Musa says the offer is massive, would help the artists and that Mr Devnarain being a celebrity is a huge support to tourism sector in the country. He called upon local celebrities to think of scaling the mountain.

He wishes the Isidingo character would record some of his soap operas in Tanzania parks. The actor says it is a good idea and he will have to consult with members of the programme management who have a final say on such matters. Those who trekked Mount Kilimanjaro this year include directors, chief executive officers of different companies as well as celebrities.

TANAPA Director General, Mr Alan Kijazi says the foundation has given Tanzania exceptional reverence that would help in conservation and tourism. He says the initiative is aimed at ensuring girls do not miss a single day at school, as some companies sponsor the climbers.

Nelson Mandela Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sello Hatang says the delegation was composed of people from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Bahamas and other countries to inspire change, love and unity in Africa and beyond.

Before start of the trekking, the foundation members offered sanitary towels to Darajani Secondary School girls as a means to ensure they do not miss school when at menstrual cycle.

Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) Chief Park Warden, Mr Erastus Lufungulo hails the trekkers saying it is a huge boost to tourism in one of the country’s dignified parks.

Source: allafrica


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