Over 700 girls at two Eastern Cape schools will have a greater chance of staying in school to reach their full potential, thanks to the fundraising efforts of a local woman who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in their honour in August.
Lee-Ann King, National Deployment Manager at LexisNexis South Africa, scaled Africa’s highest peak, Uhuru Peak, on Women’s Day, 9 August, as part of the Thuli Madonsela Women’s Day Executive Climb sponsored by LexisNexis - the second of two summit groups in this year’s annual Trek4Mandela initiative.
King, 50, who was born in King William’s Town and attended school there, but currently lives in East London, chose as her beneficiaries Gasela High School in Mxhoxha near King William’s Town, which has 110 girl learners and Lumko High School in East London, which has 599 girls.
The Thuli Madonsela Women’s Day Executive Climb saw the former Public Protector lead a group of influential professionals to the summit to raise funds for the Caring4Girls menstrual hygiene programme run by the Imbumba Foundation. The programme aims to eradicate absenteeism among disadvantaged female learners by supplying them with menstrual hygiene support and education.
Caring4Girls and Trek4Mandela were founded by social entrepreneur, Richard Mabaso, who rallies together a phenomenal group of individuals annually for this worthy cause which has an ultimate goal of reaching two-million disadvantaged girls by 2020.
King’s enthusiastic fundraising efforts among colleagues, clients and friends raised over R30 000, as well as more than 9 000 sanitary pads which will provide a four-month supply to the 710 girls between the two schools. The donations were handed over to the two schools on Wednesday, 2 October.
As a mother of three girls, King said the cause resonated deeply with her and she saw the Kilimanjaro challenge as an opportunity to restore dignity in young South African women.
“I would like to thank all those who supported me in my fundraising quest, including colleagues, clients and the public. When we did our Mandela Day beach walk we had such good support and to be able to follow it through and actually see the outcome of it will hopefully help us generate more support. I am delighted that together we will be able to lessen the burden on these young girls on a monthly basis by providing them with access to these basic requirements,” she said.
King said she hoped that her successful climb would show young South African women that setting, working to, and achieving goals is an important life lesson that you can take into any environment – from the workplace to the very summit of Africa’s highest peak.