(Tanzania) – An annual expedition under way this Mandela Day sees volunteers scale Africa’s highest mountain to raise funds for South African girls living in impoverished conditions.
The funds raised from Trek4Mandela goes to beneficiaries of the Caring4Girls organisation, says Melissa Rehbock, who is one of about 40 participants of the 2016 Trek4Mandela Kilimanjaro Expedition.
The team left South Africa for Tanzania on 13 July to start the expedition up Mount Kilimanjaro. Kili, as it is informally known, is rises approximately 4 877 metres from its base to 5 895 metres above sea level.
The target of the initiative this year is to help 350 000 South African girls who are not able to buy their own sanitary towels, says the Trek4Mandela website. According to research, girls from impoverished backgrounds could miss up to 50 days of school each year as a result of these challenges.
“Trek4Mandela aims to create awareness of the Caring4Girls programme and give much-needed accessibility to sanitary towels. This, together with effective hygiene education, will ensure the development and growth of thousands of young South African and African women. Our ultimate goal is to reach two million girls by 2020,” reads the site.
In a video on YouTube, a teacher says that some of the girls at her school are afraid to ask for a sanitary pad. This is one of the reasons she is happy that the Caring4Girls initiative was created by the Imbumba Foundation.
Promoting Mandela Month
Richard Mabaso, founder of the Imbumba Foundation, started the Caring4Girls initiative in 2012, shortly after he overheard that one of his nieces did not have access to sanitary pads.
He told Sello Hatang, the chief executive officer of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, about Caring4Girls and that fundraising for it was the reason for summiting Kilimanjaro.
Speaking to the SABC, Mabaso says: “One thing we owe to Madiba is to start taking a leading role as South Africans to educate people about Mandela Day… in terms of what it means and to really go beyond 18 July.”
The pillars of Mandela Day 2016 are: education and literacy, food security, shelter and the environment. The Nelson Mandela Day website encourages South Africans and international supporters to “Make every day a Mandela Day” by taking action and inspiring change. The annual day is on Madiba’s birthday, 18 July.
The oldest person to summit Kili was 80, according to Mabaso. “Sometimes it’s not about your fitness, but your discipline. You have to be disciplined: drink water, take one step, take a rest and then take another step.”
This story was sourced from All Africa