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What’s most important to me about this Kilimanjaro challenge is that this time I am raising money for local projects and not just Western charities. Half of the money raised will go towards a rural school in at the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro. The other half will go to Team Kenya, a charity that helps Kenyans free themselves from poverty. I hope my challenges will help others overcome their daily challenges. Donate here.
Hi, my name’s Gemma Yates. I’m 36 and I currently find myself residing in a campervan in New Zealand. I recently decided to take a year’s sabbatical from my job in Education Recruitment to go travelling around the world and raise a large sum of money for social change projects in East Africa that I truly believe in.
I’m originally from Yorkshire, UK. I've lived and worked in Brighton and Hove for 13 years. For the past 10 years, I’ve worked in Education Recruitment in Brighton. Outside my day job, I’ve always had a passion for raising money for causes I believe to be worthwhile. And when I raise money, I go all out! Here are just some of the lengths I’ve gone to raise funds: I’ve dressed as a Mexican riding a horse collecting money for Children in Need. I’ve joined the Race for Life to raise money in memory of my friend I lost to cancer. I’ve held "Cake Bake" sales with my Brighton colleagues for Red Nose Day. And I’ve jumped out of a plane in a charity skydive for MacMillan Cancer!
But it wasn’t until I was given a sabbatical and booked a "round the world" trip that I realised how powerful adventure could be to raise money and awareness of these causes. I’ve decided to climb the famous Mount Kilimanjaro in July 2015. Each month leading up to my Kili climb I’ll be taking on a different challenge in a different location around the world. So far, I've shaved my hair off as a mark of solidarity to support girls in Kenya who can't afford the maintenance of going to the hairdressers, and I've dressed up as a giant teddy bear in New Zealand & held a charity "guess the name of the bear competition".
What’s most important to me about this Kilimanjaro challenge is that this time I am raising money for local projects and not just Western charities. Half of the money raised will go towards a rural school in Tanzania. Each class has over 200 pupils and they share 3 text books between them! After a decade of recruiting in UK schools, I can't imagine finding teachers to teach in these conditions. I hope my challenges will help others overcome their daily challenges. My education has led to me being a success at work and in everyday life. Everyone deserves a right to education.
The other half of my funds raised will go to a charity I hold close to my heart, Team Kenya, for whom I’ve become an official volunteer fundraiser. We enable communities in Western Kenya to free themselves from poverty, injustice and inequality. We have a board of highly dedicated UK Trustees and a very active group of volunteers. They collaborate with two key partners in Ndhiwa, Kenya:
Ndhiwa Community Empowerment and Development Project (NCEDP): NDECP aspire to an empowered community free from poverty and injustice where appropriate technology is used to benefit all.
Karibuni Women's Development Initiative (KWDI): KWDI manage Karibuni Eco Cottages, a catalyst for sustainable enterprise. KWDI focus on women and girls, to end the cycle of poverty.
Team Kenya knows that with the right support, Kenyans can solve their own problems. International research and our own projects tell us that investing in young women ensures their own survival and the future growth of their community.
So far in my fundraising journey I’ve had a huge amount of support from all over the world. I've approached companies for corporate sponsorship and had pledges from Synarbor, RS Aqua, Careers Australia, ANZUK & JSA services. Plus of course I have had an amazing amount of support my network of family and friends and my partner.
Since starting my travels I've resigned from my job and am planning to move to Melbourne at the end of my year out. Travelling changes your perspective on life. It makes you realise that all you really need is what you can physically carry in your rucksack and what's in your head and heart. Simple. It makes you realise you don't need to consume, waste & spend! I can assure you that through travel you’ll grow as a person far quicker than any bank balance will enable you to grow.
If I’ve learned anything from this journey I’m on at the moment, it’s that anyone can create something from nothing. Problems are all relative. I’ve realised my wants and needs are very much "first world problems"! Every day I've committed to doing just one thing towards my fundraising campaign. This could be a step towards arranging my next event, or promoting awareness on Social Media sites, or coming up with ideas for what to do next. Just one small daily action can trigger a new fundraising angle.
Please follow me along my journey as I continue to explore the world, learn about myself, and ultimately summit the famous Mount Kilimanjaro to bring hope to rural communities in East Africa.
Here are some of the challenges I have come with!
January: Charity head shave (Australia)
February: Charity "Guess the name of the teddy bear" competition (Auckland, New Zealand)
March: Cave rafting, New Zealand
April: Auckland Bridge "Bunny Bungee Jump". Hopping over the harbour bridge in my 'bunny' suit! (Auckland, New Zealand)
May: I will undertake a 200 hour intensive training course to train to become a Yoga instructor in a month (Coromandel, New Zealand)
June: Cage dive with Great White Sharks (Cape Town, South Africa)
July: Summit Mt Kilimanjaro! (Tanzania, Africa) You can join me here.
Inspired Escapes has teamed up the UN Global Goals initiative to help end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.