An all-female team supported by the UN World Food Programme reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro on 5 March. The 10 climbers – three African women and seven Nepali veterans of a successful Mount Everest expedition in 2008 – undertook the challenge to highlight the importance of girls’ education and school meals. They recorded video messages on the mountain for International Women’s Day on 8 March and, since their descent, have been telling students of their exploits in schools in Dar-es-Salaam and Arusha.
Among the climbers were Nimdoma Sherpa, a former recipient of WFP school meals in Nepal, and Anna Philipo Indaya – a member of Tanzania’s endangered Hadzabe people, who is a teacher in a WFP-supported primary school in Arusha, Tanzania.
“We are on the top! Nothing is impossible if we struggle to pursue our dreams,” said Nimdoma Sherpa on reaching Africa’s highest point.
“Nimdoma is an example of what girls’ eduation can do,” said Shailee Basnet, the leader of the Nepali group. “We know there are many more Nimdomas around the world and we hope we can motivate them to achieve their dreams.”
“This has been such an exciting experience,” said Anna Indaya. “I had to fight to receive an education when I was growing up and I certainly had to fight to get up this mountain. Now, as a teacher, I see every day the struggle that young Tanzanian girls go through to attend school. I never thought I’d have this amazing opportunity to show girls and young women everywhere what you can achieve through sheer determination.”
The team included Hlubi Mboya, a South African actress and WFP National Ambassador Against Hunger, and Ashura Kayupayupa, a youth activist from Dar es Salaam.
“This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” said Hlubi Mboya, as she reached the summit. Her message to girls across the African continent: “Never give up, be your own hero, never quit, never fear failure.”
The expedition was undertaken in partnership with the Childreach International, a non-governmental organisation working with local communities in Tanzania to help improve children’s access to education and healthcare, Tanzania’s Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, and Tanzania National Parks.