DAR ES SALAAM, March 5, 2013 – Early this morning, an all-female climbing team supported by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Tanzania reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest mountain.
The ten women made the ascent to highlight the importance of girls' education and of school meals. The team, who timed their climb to mark the week of International Women's Day on 8 March, documented their journey on Twitter using the hashtag #WFPkili2013.
The expedition includes seven Nepalese women who scaled Mt. Everest in 2008 and three African women. Among the climbers are Nimdoma Sherpa. a former recipient of WFP school meals in Nepal, and Anna Philipo Indaya – a member of Tanzania's endangered Hadzabe people, who is a teacher in a WFP-supported primary school in Arusha, Tanzania.
"We are on the top! Nothing is impossible if we struggle to pursue our dreams," said Nimdoma Sherpa from Africa's highest point.
"Nimdoma is an example of what girls' eduation can do," said Shailee Basnet, the leader of the Nepali group. "We know there are many more Nimdomas around the world and we hope we can motivate them to achieve their dreams."
"This has been such an exciting experience," said Anna Indaya. "I had to fight to receive an education when I was growing up and I certainly had to fight to get up this mountain. Now, as a teacher, I see every day the struggle that young Tanzanian girls go through to attend school. I never thought I'd have this amazing opportunity to show girls and young women everywhere what you can achieve through sheer determination."
The team includes Hlubi Mboya, a South African actress and WFP National Ambassador Against Hunger, and Ashura Kayupayupa, a youth activist from Dar es Salaam.
"This is one of the hardest things I've ever done," said Hlubi Mboya, as she reached the summit. Her message to girls across the African continent: "Never give up, be your own hero, never quit, never fear failure."
The expedition was undertaken in partnership with the Childreach International, a non-governmental organisation working with local communities in Tanzania to help improve children's access to education and healthcare, Tanzania's Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, and Tanzania National Parks.
The climbers began their ascent via the Machame route on 28 February and are due to arrive back in the northern Tanzanian town of Moshi on 4 March. In coming days, they will visit schools around Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Moshi to share their inspiring stories and talk about the importance of education.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.
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