Kili for Kids climb raises R300,000 for Soweto school’s library

A collection of holiday pictures

2.04min read

Published 23 April 2019


The Flight Centre Foundation has raised R300,000 to build a library for Qhobosheane Primary School in Soweto. A brave team of hikers from the Flight Centre Foundation and the Adopt-A-School Foundation tackled Mount Kilimanjaro last month as part of the Kili4Kids initiative to raise funds for a school library. 

Situated in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain on earth and is a true test of endurance and spirit. With different mountain zones, climbing Kili is a feat of physical and mental strength. Climbers are tested with gradually decreasing temperatures, rainfall and eventually altitude as they climb up the rugged volcanic mountain right until they reach the summit - a snow-capped peak with below freezing temperatures and permanent ice.

Each of the 14 hikers that completed the trip campaigned to raise funds through their own personal endeavours such as cycling races and Barnyard theatre events. The group was made up of local and overseas members and from Flight Centre’s own team.

The climb

On 12 March, a team of 14 volunteers began their journey to Tanzania with the hopes of summiting Mount Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru Peak, Africa’s highest mountain. 9 out of 14 climbers successfully summitted the very highest peak at 5 895 metres above sea level.

Diane Cleary, Flight Centre Foundation Project Manager travelled with the team to Tanzania and relayed how very proud she was of the climbers.

“Not only have they tackled the physical and mental challenges of climbing Kili, but more importantly, they are making it possible for the young learners at Qhobosheane Primary school to tackle their own challenges through literacy and education.”

30-year-old Roxy Gonsalves was one of the 9 climbers who successfully summited the Uhuru Peak. It was her first time climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

“It’s a terrifying, challenging, and very emotional but beautiful experience,” says Gonsalves. “No one can prepare you for the experience. It’s 60 % mental, and then 40 % physical. Once you reach the top and you see the Uhuru peak, it is the most overwhelming experience.”

“This was the first time I ever trekked up a mountain,” said twenty-five-year-old Abel Ridgard, who also successfully made it to the summit. “Kili was without a doubt the best thing I have ever done for myself and the most difficult at the same time.”

“I always believe if we all try a little bit to make the country a better place, it will be. Think of 450 children being able to go and read a book, or learn something for the first time. This was all through the hard work and dedication from all our supporters,” says Gonsalves.

“Qhobosheane reminds me of my primary school,” adds Ridgard. “It was also a very underdeveloped primary school, so I know exactly how much of a need there is for things such as libraries.”

“The Flight Centre Foundation firmly believes that education is the only truly sustainable way of improving the socio-economic challenges our country faces,” added Cleary. “Literacy is a key building block in education.”

The funds raised from Kili for Kids will go towards the construction costs for the library as well as resources, library books and librarian training.

The Flight Centre Foundation’s Qhobosheane Primary School – whole school project

The Flight Centre Foundation adopted Qhobosheane Primary School in Soweto through the Adopt-a-School Foundation, a partner entity of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, in 2017. The school’s Grade R facility has already been renovated, a school feeding scheme kitchen constructed and many volunteer days organized to raise funds to support with ad-hoc projects.

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