Latiefa Behardien, of Century City, is preparing for a six-day trek up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Africa’s orphans.
Muslim Hands, a Rylands-based charity, is organising the fund-raising climb up Africa’s highest mountain, which will happen later this year.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro has always been on Ms Behardien’s bucket list, so when a friend retired from teaching last year and declared that she was going to climb the mountain, Ms Behardien decided to join her.
“Everyone has a personal journey. I’ve always wanted to do meaningful things with my life,” said Ms Behardien. “If you can help a less fortunate person and that cycle continues, we won’t have a problem in this world.”
In all, about 20 South Africans, aided by a team of porters, will face the mountain in August. Each climber has been asked to raise at least R45 000.
The money they raise will help 11 orphanages in sub-Saharan Africa with school fees, stationery, textbooks, transport to and from school, meals, medical check-ups, and more.
Education is an issue close to Ms Behardien’s heart, so knowing she will be helping children get the schooling they need is a strong motivating factor for her.
“The older you get, you start viewing life differently. You cannot live for yourself in this world. You don’t know where tomorrow will take you,” she said.
To prepare for Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru Peak, which is 5 895m above sea level, Ms Behardien has been joining Muslim Hands’ events co-ordinator, Hashim Nacerodien, and a few of the others for weekend training walks with full backpacks.
Mr Nacerodien has already summitted Kilimanjaro five times and he chooses hiking routes similar to what climbers will experience on the mountain.
Some of the routes they have tackled include Kloof Nek up Corridor Ravine and back via the Pipe Track and from Bo-Kaap to Lions Head and back.
“I’m quite excited about this trip because it’s the first time South Africa will have such a big group of people going up,” he said.
* Visit www.muslimhands.org.za for more information about the fund-raiser.