One of my good friends, Cleo Johnson is undertaking a mammoth challenge, and one that I am super ready to support her on too! No, I will not be hiking (hello,me?) but she will be and the reason why is something that I encourage each and every one of my readers to get involved in.

The annual Trek4Mandela Kilimanjaro Challenge (the “Challenge”), an Imbumba Foundation initiative, was founded in 2012 by Mr. Richard Mabaso. The 2018 expedition aims to raise enough funds to provide sanitary towels for at least 350 000 South African schoolgirls, so that they will not miss a day of school as a result of menstrual challenges.

As you may, or may not, know – this is one of the initiatives that is closest to my heart (followed closely by rehabilitating abused women and giving kids an education).

The Challenge supports Caring4Girls, an initiative which assists schoolgirls by providing sanitary towels and raising awareness relating to the menstrual challenges facing economically disadvantaged girls, such as the fact that a girl without the means to secure sanitary pads could miss up to 50 days of school per year.

Each year since inception of the Challenge, a number of Corporate Executives, South African celebrities, media personalities and African and international change makers, have united in support of the Trek4Mandela initiative to raise funds and awareness by summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. This has included TV presenter Leanne Manas, Television and Media Personality Gerry Elsdon, Adventure Couple Gugu and Letshego Zulu, actor Jack Devnarain and TV personality Cecile Raubenheimer, to name a few.

Cleo will very bravely be undertaking this challenge in July as part of the 2018 Centenary Climb, which will commemorate Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday. South African mountaineer and 7 Summits summiteer, Subusiso Vilane, will lead the expedition. Sibusiso has made 2 successful summits of Mount Everest and he is currently preparing for his third attempt.

Cleo shares “As a black South African woman, I have a deep appreciation for the plight that still faces so many South African schoolgirls who are less-privileged. I feel compelled to personally make a positive contribution to alleviate the social and economic ill’s that are a stumbling block to many citizens in our country, such as: the marginalisation of women and the slow roll-out of empowerment initiatives to women and girls, poverty, lack of access to healthcare in some areas – especially rural areas, low levels of education amongst people of African descent as well as a lack of access to basic services. These stark deficiencies leave us as a country and women, falling short of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined as basis human necessities by the United Nations. These shortfalls severely impede the ability of average African rural women to participate in the game of life due to lack of basic necessities such as sanitary towels.”

The aim of the Trek4Mandela initiative is to drive home awareness of the Caring4Girls initiative to ensure accessibility to sorely needed sanitary products – which are a necessity and not a luxury – together with hygiene education to ensure the growth and development of young South African schoolgirls into women with dignity.

“In order to make this vision a reality, each individual participating in the Challenge needs to raise R85 000, which will go towards supporting 300 schoolgirls and the related costs of the climb. I am covering my personal expedition fees of R85 000 which includes a contribution of R15 000 to supply 300 schoolgirls with sanitary pads for a year. This is my personal commitment to the cause.” says Cleo.

Cleo seeks to further support for Caring4Girls via sponsorship contributions to achieve the following:

• To raise R108 000 for sanitary towels, in aid of Caring4Girls, to reach their goal to provide sanitary towels to 2 million girls by 2020.
• Starting a wider dialogue on the need for sanitary towels in the least advantaged and most rural schools. [As a sponsor, you may nominate a school of your choice as a beneficiary of my climb.)
• Raise awareness that, it is possible to transform your body and achieve your body fitness goals, no matter a person’s age;
• Inspire courage, hope and the belief that perseverance through the toughest of circumstances yields victory.

Find out more and get involved by contacting Cleo, below:


079 308 1899

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