In 2005, while training alone in the foothills of Mount Meru, I was accosted by a friendly young man who was delivering milk to his fellow Meru tribespeople on his bicycle.
I was struck by the civility and friendliness of this young man, Gasper. We became friends and he invited me to his home. His home and garden (with quite perfectly nurtured lush green grass - extremely rare in these parts), on the idyllic upper slopes of Meru was so well tended, that it was clear that Gasper was a good steward of the resources entrusted to him.
I invited Gasper to work with Team Kilimanajro, and he has continued to do so since that day. Several years ago, however, one of my clients that I entrusted to Gasper's care during her visit to the Hadzabe bushmen, proposed that she and Gasper create a school on Gasper's family's land.
They did so, and that school, Ikirwa School, now looks after the education of 168 wonderfully cheerful local children. Although the school fees are unfathomably low, around half of the parents of these children cannot afford to pay and rely on the kindness of others who enjoy the privilege of being a very significant part of these children's futures.
20 of the children in Ikirwa School are sponsored by past clients of Team Kilimanjaro (pictured below). We are extremely grateful for this fact, but are nonetheless sure that more of our clients would love to sponsor a child's education themselves were they aware of the opportunity to do so. Some USD 740 (GBP 560) will cover a child's education at Ikirwa for a whole year. And frankly, it's difficult to imagine how a charitable gidt of this magnitude could more effectively or valuably be spent.
If you're planning on climbing Kilimanjaro with us and you would like to make an incredibly valuable difference in the life of a young Tanzanian, please speak to your coordinator about the possibility of adding half a day to your itinerary, and we'll arrange for you to visit the school and learn a little about Gasper's intentions to further these children's prospects (with a particular emphasis on the acquisition of English language skills). And if you feel like you share Gasper's vision, he can speak with you about how to move forward with sponsoring a child.
There is great need, and demand for this excellent little school to grow to several hundred places. But this growth of going to depend on the generosity of people like you!