WATCH: Khayelitsha duo to climb Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya to raise funds
Cape Town - Girls in vulnerable communities bear the brunt of South Africa's plethora of socio-economic ills such as poverty, which prevents them from accessing quality education and steaming ahead towards a bright future.
Two Cape Town friends, Khayelitsha entrepreneur Mandisi Peter and writer Miriam Mannak, have had enough. Between 28 September and 5 October they are climbing Africa’s two highest mountains - Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya - to raise funds to give girls from Khayelitsha access to safe, quality, and affordable education at Molo Mhlaba (“Hello World”).
The township's first private bilingual girls’ Innovation/Science/Tech/Engineering/ Arts/Maths (iSTEAM) school opened its doors last year.
To date, the duo has raised R28,000 of their initial R50,000 target via their BackaBuddy crowdfunding campaign (www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/scaling-kili). Donations have come from all corners of the world, including the US, New Zealand, The Netherlands, and the UK.
These funds will be used to pay for the tuition for at least ten school girls to enrol at Molo Mhlaba. Founded by Dr Rethabile Sonibare (33), one of 2018’s Inspiring Fifty (South Africa’s fifty most inspiring women), the school provides a happy, safe, affordable, conducive, and top class place of learning based on iSteam principles.
“Our curriculum in English and isiXhosa includes lego robotics, an introduction to computers, the internet and coding, as well as yoga and mindfulness,” says Sonibare, who holds a PhD in social work.
“We want to debunk the myth that one can’t have quality education in South Africa’s townships.”
Peter and Mannak's journey started a few months ago when Peter decided to put his passion for hiking to good use by conquering Kilimanjaro (28 September - 5 October / 5900m) in support of Molo Mhlaba's vision.
“Every South African child, particularly girls, deserve the same opportunities, regardless of their socio-economic class,” he says. “Young girls from communities like mine have to climb mountains every day to get ahead. This shouldn’t be the case. Obviously, we hope to raise more than R50,000 so we can give bursaries to more girls."
Hiking friend and Hikers Network Search & Rescue member Miriam Mannak joined Peter when she heard his trek coincided with her own Mount Kenya (1 - 5 October / 4985m) climb.
“When I heard Mandisi was climbing Kili to raise funds for girls’ education in Khayelitsha, right around the same time of my Mount Kenya hike, it was a no-brainer to join hands,” Mannak says. “Schoolgirls shouldn’t be climbing mountains to get ahead. Let us adults do that for them!”