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€300,000 needed to reach Fr George’s Ethiopian dream

Kilimanjaro Challenge to raise money for disabled children's home

Handing out sweets to children during the kindergarten inauguration in Wush Wush, Ethiopia.

Handing out sweets to children during the kindergarten inauguration in Wush Wush, Ethiopia.

Children raise their hands in glee as they enjoy the rare treat of a sweet in Wush Wush, Ethiopia.Children raise their hands in glee as they enjoy the rare treat of a sweet in Wush Wush, Ethiopia.

Preparations are in full swing for this year’s Kilimanjaro Challenge, with the participants trying to recreate the difficult conditions they will endure during the expedition.

Apart from regular gym sessions, the participants on this year’s challenge are meeting every Sunday for long, trekking sessions in the local hilly countryside.

They train hard in full knowledge that their efforts will eventually translate into a project for the needy.

Funds from last year’s challenge, for example, saw the refurbishing of a kindergarten in a poor community in Ethiopia. For the past 11 years, over €700,000 have been collected for different projects in Kenya and Ethiopia. The projects were co-ordinated by the Missionary Movement ‘Jesus in Thy Neighbour’, founded by the late Fr George Grima, who passed away last September.

Last year’s team managed to raise €75,000 for the kindergarten in Wush Wush, Ethiopia, a small village home to 800 families who live in extreme poverty. The project was dedicated to the late Philip Bonett. This year’s project is a dream Fr Grima had before his sudden passing: a home for 200 disabled children in a town called Jimma.

Their efforts will eventually translate into a project for the needy

The estimated cost is around €1 million but the missionary had already put aside about €700,000, leaving a balance of around €300,000.

Challenge founder Keith Marshall said the participants usually manage to raise between €60,000 and €75,000 every year “so this year is going to be even more of challenge”.

Trudging in the trenches for a jug of water.Trudging in the trenches for a jug of water.

He is, however, confident that this project, which will be named after Fr Grima, will materialise since these children need all the help they can get.

“Disabled children are literally discarded by their parents so we need to find a way of giving them a new life,” Mr Marshall said.

Sacha Cutajar, who completed the challenge last year, said he had experienced what he described as “the most surreal and raw experiences to date”.

“I must ashamedly confess that my early commitment to the Kilimanjaro Challenge was founded on little more than a personal gratuitous wish to visit that enigmatic continent, and to pit my own questionable fitness against the trials of Africa’s highest freestanding mountain. Signing up to help raise funds for a kindergarten in Ethiopia felt more like the subsidiary bonus at the time,” Mr Cutajar said as he admitted that he was very wrong.

There is something about soap bubbles that captivates everyone.There is something about soap bubbles that captivates everyone.

He said his most vivid memories included the “the unrestrained smiles of little children, so easily yet effortlessly delighted with bubbles, lollipops and nourishing food distributed in plastic containers via a human-chain”.

“It may be utterly naive if not ludicrous to think that KC11’s very own fundraised kindergarten, proudly traced from paper roots to laborious construction, could offer some form of remedy to the various social afflictions that ail communities akin to those in Wush Wush or Bahagona­­­­­.”

Supporting the Kilimanjaro Challenge

Give your donation by phoning:
51502084 - €5
51602028 - €10
51802095 - €25

You can also send an SMS on:
50617389 - €2.33
50618062 - €4.66

Handing out food to school children to kindle faith in education.Handing out food to school children to kindle faith in education.

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