Kilimanjaro update

We wanted to give you some updates on our preparations for the Kilimanjaro trek as well as more details on the actual trek itself.

As you know, we are doing this trek in support of Friends of the Citizens Foundation a UK registered charity that funds the education of underprivileged children in Pakistan. We are leaving London for Tanzania on 15th October 2009 inshallah. The duration of the trip is 10 days out of which we will be camping outdoors for 6 days and trekking 5-6 hours everyday. The final summit climb begins midnight of the 6th day and will be the hardest as we will be trekking all through the night to reach Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro’s highest point, at sunrise iA!

We have been physically training for the trek by working out at least 4-5 days a week for 30-60 mins (a combination of outdoor walks and gym treadmill on incline). Those of you who know me (Tamreez) know that I NEVER go to the gym, but for the last month I’ve been going regularly and you know what, I’m getting the hang of it! :D To be honest, it is very difficult to maintain the training schedule in Ramadan but we’ve been trying to work out the last hour before iftaar so we don’t collapse of dehydration! There are days when one of us is feeling particularly lazy or tired, but that’s when we’ve been (literally) pushing each other! I am proud to say we’ve both become excellent slave drivers!

Shopping for equipment and gear has been exciting. We’ve bought our rucksacks, boots, trekking poles, jackets and clothing. Left on the list are sleeping bags, head torches etc. We also began our vaccination program yesterday and my arm is aching from the needles poked into it. Typhoid, tetanus, hep A & B, diphtheria…ouch! Also got some advice on altitude sickness, malaria and yellow fever. Finally, we need to book our travel insurance– apparently, we need one that provides helicopter rescue in case of emergency on the mountain! Scary stuff!

On the fundraising front, we had set ourselves a combined target of £6500 out of which we are pleased to announce we’ve raised £4473.10 to date or 69% of the total.Fundraising at BP's Stockley Park office A big thank you to all our friends who made this possible! With just one month to go, we are very close to meeting our target but time is running out! We need your support to raise the amount. As an additional note, we wanted to let you know FTCF is eligible for Zakat funds and all the money donated on our justgiving page will go directly to the charity and NOT towards funding our trip in ANY WAY. We are paying the costs ourselves. So please open your hearts (and your purse strings!) in this blessed month of Ramadan and donate generously to support our cause!

Thanks for all your support!

Kilimanjaro Trek 2009!

From 16-25th October this year, we are climbing Kilimanjaro “The Roof of Africa” (the highest peak in the continent) to support education in Pakistan!

We believe that education is the key to solving many of the problems we face in Pakistan today ranging from economic development, women’s rights to intolerance and terrorism.

We will be fundraising for Friends of The Citizens Foundation (FTCF) which have built 600 schools in urban slums and rural areas of Pakistan providing quality education to undeprivileged children. TCF is the most organized, professional and dedicated education charity we have come across and we urge all our friends and family to help us in raising funds for their amazing cause!

Here are some facts about TCF that we found not only impressive but absolutely inspiring:

– Almost all children at TCF schools come from the poorest segements of society (urban slums and extremely poor rural communities).

– Some of these children actually work during the day to supplement the family income and are offered evening shifts.

– 50% of the children in their schools are girls! In a country with apalling rates of female literacy, this will have a major impact in eduating the next generation of women.

– Books, uniforms, meals and not to mention a quality education by trained teachers are provided at highly subsidized rates (the fees, sometimes as little as 0.1p per month, are charged just to encourage ownership and responsibility).

– The schools have extremely high retention rates and the pass rate of their high school students is 99% (compared to the national average of about 60%). Of these, 73% have gone on to college.

– FTCF has a College Placement program and provides college scholarships to their brightest students. Recently two young women have become their first students to be accepted to a Medical College and Karachi’s top Business College (IBA) with scholarships.

Donating through Justgiving is quick, easy and totally secure. It’s also the most efficient way to sponsor us. FTCF gets your money faster and, if you’re a UK taxpayer, Justgiving makes sure 25% in Gift Aid, plus a 3% supplement, are added to your donation.

So please sponsor us now and support this great initiative in Pakistan!


Asim and Tamreez