File photo: Kirk Bouffard and Werner Gruner on Uhuru Peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, during last year's Trek4Mandela. Picture: Supplied

Pretoria - Trek4Mandela 2018 is gearing up to celebrate 100 years of Madiba magic with a twist to warm many hearts.

The seventh annual launch of Trek4Mandela initiative, together with Caring4Girls and the Imbumba Foundation, introduced a new element to support underprivileged girls that will coincide with commemorating Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, the Trek100.

The Trek100 initiative will give 67 girls who excel at school despite disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to travel to some of the Seven Wonders of the World. They will have a chance to explore, learn and take a once-in-a-lifetime experience back to their communities.

Trek100 - also known as the Epic 7 Continents Challenge - builds on the success of Trek4Mandela with an exciting global development designed to capture the imagination of a nation with a programme of aspiration and achievement.

Imbumba Foundation founder and Trek4Mandela climber Richard Mabaso said: “There was a lot of taboo around me as a man talking about and reaching out for assistance to provide girls with sanitary pads. After that first climb, no one was questioning, criticising or talking about the taboo, they were talking about the cause which drove us to the summit, and that is what is most important.”

At the launch, Mabaso said: “One of the key things that I’ve come to realise and observe was when Tata Madiba’s funeral happened, I was in England. I remember watching it on TV and what I was asked about Mandela’s legacy and what was said: ‘You don’t have to have met Mandela to make a difference’. That actually stayed with me.”

“Through our many crazy ideas we have decided to come with a new concept called Trek100.

"In celebration of Mandela Day, Trek4Mandela has always been about; you having to pay to climb. But we need to ask ourselves the question, what about those who cannot afford to climb but would really like to do something?” he said.

“We want to say to our sponsors: How about you sponsor one girl to go with us to visit the Seven Wonders of the World? We are talking about something epic,” he said.

Mabaso added that this would be in an effort to give inspiration to a girl.

The Trek100 initiative would not be a cheap experience and it would be important for the 67 girls to be sponsored by willing corporates to support the initiative, at an estimated cost of $10 000 (R136 000) per child.

A beneficiary of the Trek4Mandela and Caring4Girls initiative, Jennifer Khoza, who is a head girl in Ivory Park, Midrand, said: “Your support for the Caring4Girls campaign empowers us. It ensures our dignity and gives us hope. It inspires us to do better.

“I am a living testimony of the word 'hope', because success is the agony of failure,” she said.

This year, the Caring4Girls campaign raised through its Trek4Mandela climbers more than R300 000, which will support more than 1660 girls. And through the SMS line, over R50 000 was raised to support more than 300 girls.

The number of sanitary towels collected through this year’s Million Comforts campaign will be able to support more than 160000 girls.

Pretoria News