Mount Kilimanjaro.

Abel Ridgard, 25, has never been one to climb mountains.

However, he is currently preparing to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa next month.

Ridgard, one of the 13 volunteers getting ready to summit Kilimanjaro, said he always wanted to climb the Tanzanian mountain for a good cause.

“This is what sparked instant inspiration to me. I knew that this initiative was calling my name and there is no better way to participate in social responsibility than through a child’s life,” said Ridgard from Flight Centre Travel Group FCH Agora support.

Ridgard who is from Randurg,Joburg, said for him the initiative was a blessing.

In preparation for the climb, Ridgard has been part of regular fitness programmes for 10 months. On his training, he focused on cardio,endurance and strength.

He also trained his legs, through 6km walk and jogging at least two-times a week.

“I worked on my mental strength through disciplinary habits and involvement in time sessions on high altitude training. Other preparations aspects, were healthy eating and getting tips from professional climbers,” he said.

Adopt-a-School Foundation (AAS) and Flight Centre Foundation, said they knew that they could make the strides that are needed to improve access to quality education without working with corporates and individuals. They said to grow and ensure stability, they required a collective effort that included corporates and individuals.

Abel Ridgard

“I am optimistic that I will make it to the top. This is a great initiative that changes lives and the future of the children of South Africa forever. I challenge all fellow South Africans to do the same,” said Ridgard.

The volunteers from South Africa and Canada are set to take a grueling six-day expedition, that will ascend to 5895-meters above sea level and walk between six and eight hours per day. The initiative is done to raise funds for the construction of a primary school library in Soweto.

The #Kili4Kids hopes to raise R1.4 million from the campaign for the fully equipped library with a media centre.

“Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa. The symbolism of that is, we want our children to reach the highest peak of their potential in terms of education. So, the money will not just cover the physical structure, but help to fully resource the library with all the required materials. And also train the librarians,” said Flight Centre Foundation Project Manager, Diane Cleary on Tuesday, during media launch.

@yethudlamini