Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa is the largest free-standing mountain in the world.
Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa is the largest free-standing mountain in the world.

Duo has a mountain of work ahead preparing for trek

SOME say that charity work can be like climbing a mountain, and for a pair of Lockyer friends, it is the truth.

Allison Robinson and Minaji Fell are busy preparing to trek Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, the largest free-standing mountain in the world, to help raise funds for charity.

"We are raising funds for Rafiki Mwema, a charity assisting to rehabilitate sexually abused children in Africa," Ms Robinson said. "It re-homes them and provides support and assistance."

With the name Rafiki Mwema meaning "Loyal Friend", Ms Fell said that is what the "safe house" provided by the organisation Play Kenya will be to these young girls.

"Rafiki Mwema was born from the need to support very young girls who have been sexually abused," Ms Fell said. "Sadly, there are too many girls under the age of 12 who have experienced sexual abuse and at this time there is no specialised care for these very vulnerable children."

The organisation helps the girls make sense of the horrors that have happened to them, allow them access to any medical treatment they need, support them through the court system, and where possible to work with their families for a safe return to the home, Ms Fell said.

Ms Robinson said she found out about the charity through Facebook, and the pair committed to helping out as much as they could.

"We thought it was a really good charity, and when they put the call out, we decided to help."

With the friends keen to help the charity, they signed up to do the Mt Kilimanjaro trek.

"As part of our trek we pledge to raise $2000 each, which goes straight to Rafiki Mwema," Ms Robinson said.

To help reach the target, the duo have already benefited from a "Crazy Shirt" day at Gatton Autos, putting $300 into the charity.

"Other businesses around Gatton have also helped out, and we are also selling the Rafiki Mwema bags, with 100% of the money going to the charity."

While the trek up Mt Kilimanjaro will be assisted by porters, the Lockyer pair must be able to hike up the mountain on their own.

"Most of the ascent is trekking, not full on climbing," Ms Robinson said.

"We only really climb on the last day when we ascend the summit, it is 24 hours of climbing, we expect to get about 15 minutes at the summit, due to the lack of oxygen, as you cannot take tanks with you."

Ms Fell and Ms Robinson fly out on December 30, and will begin the trek on January 2.

"It is four days up, and two days down; you have to avoid altitude sickness, which is similar to "the bends" experienced by divers.

"We are doing local treks currently, from October we will ramp up to longer journeys."

Ms Robinson said their goal was to travel 10 kilometres per day for six days straight "without a struggle".

Working a full-time job as well as owning Hannant's Takeaway, Ms Robinson said the preparations were "tough".

"People can come and see me at Hannant's, we have items like the bags for sale, to help raise money for the charity."


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