#Climbing4SAEducation is a campaign trying to raise R 100 000 in order to purchase 1 000 pairs of school shoes for disadvantaged students in South Africa’s rural areas. In an interview with Salaamedia’s Azhar Vadi, Dr. Razeena Omar discusses the aims of this campaign and the challenges faced by the team.
The group of 19, ranging from ages 22-67, left Johannesburg on 6 April bound for Kathmandu via Dubai. Upon reaching Kathmandu, the team had a 150km long drive which lasted five hours due to the nature of the road, and then caught an 18 minute flight to Lukla, a small town in Nepal. Following this long journey, the group began the first stretch of their hike which lasted a full day.
“This initiative is not just about a pair of shoes,” explained Dr. Razeena Omar, and aims rather to motivate and enable learners to reach their full potentials. Furthermore, the group has taken on this task in an attempt to break the cycle of poverty and raise awareness around the issue of education in South Africa.
As they ascend the world’s highest mountain, the team faces many challenges. Temperatures near the bottom of the mountain are around -3°C and are as low as -20°C at base camp. Team members must acclimatise to the harsh environment as they climb further up the mountain. They are likely to suffer from altitude sickness as the air gets thinner and contains less oxygen.
Dr. Razeena Omar advised the climbers to hike slowly, regularly take their medicines and consume lots of fluids. The climbers must eat food rich in vitamins and minerals to keep their strength up. The closer they get to base camp, the steeper the mountain becomes. The team will hike slowly, covering a distance of 800m daily. Monsoon season is fast approaching and is likely to affect their hikes.
The team hopes to reach base camp by 19 April. Dr. Razeena Omar urged all South African citizens to get involved, stating that they should all be concerned about education, and calls on South Africans to donate, both money and time in assisting with the distribution of school shoes, which she believes serve as a token of hope.
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