I received this note from a dear friend of mine, Cecile Raubenheimer. She’s participating in the Trek4Mandela to raise funds for a charity called Caring4Girls. It’s an amazing step towards helping young women in Africa. Read more about the initiative below, and support their expedition if you can.
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The time has come! We (Cecile, Zak and Fran) along with 38 other individuals will be participating in TREK4MANDELA – an expedition to summit Mount Kilimanjaro on Nelson Mandela Day (July 18) to create awareness and raise funds for a charity called CARING4GIRLS. This phenomenal charity provides young girls with products to keep them in school during their menstrual cycles. Each climber is committed to support at least 100 girls by keeping them in school, empowered, educated and dignified.
UNICEF estimates that 1 in 10 school-age African girls skip school or drop out due to menstrual-related issues. If girls do stay in school, they might miss up to 5 days of school every month due to these challenges – which can add up to over a year of school during their formative years. This is not only an issue in South Africa, but a global problem.
Caring4Girls Initiative has supported over 270,000 girls since its inception in 2012 and provided sanitary products and education for underserved girls.
Our journey has taken us from Miami to Jackson Hole, New York, and Johannesburg. We are scheduled to arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport, Dar Es Salaam on July 13th. We will fly a total of 21,616 miles to reach Kilimanjaro. We are committed to walk over 36 miles to summit the highest peak in Africa to raise awareness for this issue. We will spend 10,080 minutes on the mountain and will traverse over 5 different climates. The natural elements will have us sweating through desert conditions, stepping through muddy puddles, trekking through Arctic snow conditions to summit 19,341 feet to carry this message of hope.
We will carry these girls in our hearts and minds – hoping that you will spare a thought and save a dime to help us helping them. They are not faceless and they are not hopeless – they just need a helping hand.
Every 12 year old girl regardless of race, religion or nationality has a similar dream: to be able to learn; become smarter; make good choices; contribute to her community and to be the best version of herself.
As we walk countless steps on this journey, these girls are constantly in our thoughts. I thought of them when I practiced deep breathing in Bikram class, Fran had their predicament in mind when he attended altitude classes in New York and Zak kept them in his thoughts along his high altitude hikes in Jackson Hole and the Drakensberg. We will see their faces and feel their plight on Kilimanjaro when we battle nature and our own limitations. When we feel that we cannot breathe anymore due to the altitude or when we are cold and scared, we will remember our mission: that we are fortunate to have an education; that we have a choice and that we have a future. We will TREK4MANDELA so that these girls can have their own journey and write their own life story.
It is fitting to honor Nobel Peace Prize Winner and visionary Nelson Mandela in this way. He once said that “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Thank you to all the have supported, donated and encouraged us this far… Click here to learn more about the cause and to support our expedition.
Follow our journey on social media #girlchild #climb4girls #cececlimbskili
With love, light, happiness, a dash of madness and a lot of courage,
Cecile, Zak and Fran