Dear friends and Achievers
I don’t think any of you will argue that Ian McKeever left a lasting impression on your life. Either he got you to the top of Africa’s highest mountain and showed you just what you can achieve if you put your mind to it, or he taught you something – academic or life lessons. For all of us lucky to know him, and have him in our lives, even if it was just briefly, he was a motivator, an inspiration and a friend. He gave us all something, and now it’s time to give him something back.
As many of you will know education and the empowerment of young people was a cause dear to Ian’s heart in the last few years, both in Ireland and Tanzania, and one of his aims for Kilimanjaro Achieves was to eventually build a school in Arusha, Tanzania.
When Mike O’Shea took up the baton of leading our Achievers to the summit of Kilimanjaro at the beginning of 2013, he committed to not only fulfilling the promises Ian had made in terms of the climbs, but also to complete his dream for the school and to leave a lasting legacy in Ian’s name in the place he loved so much.
With the support of Ian’s family and working closely with our team in Africa, Everlasting Tanzania, Mike has looked into various options and it has been decided to work with the CHETI organization, based in Arusha, to help improve the facilities they have for their pupils. The majority of our previous Achievers will have visited the CHETI school in Arusha, so there’s no need to tell you all what amazing work they do. I don’t think any of us who were there will ever forget those incredible children, but for those who haven’t been there, let me tell you a bit about what they do.
In Tanzania 89% of people live below the international poverty line and there is no free education system for children. As the majority of people who live in Arusha are surviving on around $1 a day, they simply cannot afford to send their children to school. With HIV rates above 8%, over a million children have been left parentless. Without parents to pay the fees, school simply isn’t an option. Those that do get into the public school system in Tanzania do not learn English, a subject they need to gain access into the secondary school system. An uneducated child in Africa has very limited prospects. As future parents themselves, with no hope of sending their own children to school the circle continues.
But CHETI is breaking this pattern. Founded in 2009, CHETI stands for Children Health Education and Team Inspiration. CHETI believes the answer to ending extreme poverty lies in educating youth. They strive to open doors for students who would otherwise have no hope for education, any chance to go to college or provide for their families. CHETI program goals are defined by three efforts; empower local heroes by providing the resources and knowledge to make a sustainable impact, engage local communities by establishing leadership positions for mothers and highlighting the importance of education, and enable children to reach their fullest academic potential through individual sponsorship.
CHETI is currently partnering with a number of schools within the Arusha region and so far they have built 8 classrooms, numerous facilities, purchased land, school buses, provided food, HIV tests, and other educational resources as well as running the Jue Orphanage in Arusha, where students, who need accommodation and care, can live.
And how do they do this amazing work? Well every single child attending a CHETI school is sponsored, by people from all over the world. All their costs are covered, from fees to accommodation, uniforms, books, toys, meals and teachers wages. But their facilities are limited, the buildings are basic, the play areas restricted.
All of you who climbed Kilimanjaro with Ian in the past will have benefitted from CHETI and you probably didn’t even know it, because lots of our amazing team of guides and porters are former pupils. At CHETI they were not only educated and cared for, but they also learned English, a vital skill to have in order to be employed in Tanzania’s biggest industry – tourism. CHETI guaranteed, not only them a future, but a future for their families too.
Working with Kilimanjaro Achievers and Everlasting Tanzania, we’re going to give them something back, and leave a permanent legacy in Ian’s name. We’re doing this in two phases, the first, and most urgently required is to complete the latest of Cheti’s Orphanages. Work has already begun and is being funded by an American group “Global Empathy”, but we’re going to finish it and to do that we need to raise $12,000 as fast as possible. We plan to have the orphanage finished and filled with some of these amazing children by October. The Orphanage will be called “The Ian McKeever/Global Empathy Orphanage”, as soon as that is finished we’re going to build a school for these children. This will be a long term fundraising project and will be built next year. A board of directors have been put in place to ensure the money is spent correctly, many of you who were in Africa will have met our good friend Samwel Kisonga, who is part of our team at Everlasting, and he will be on the board.
Any of you who heard Ian give one of his inspiring talks would have heard him quote a hero of his, Randy Pausch. Randy was a Professor of Computer Science in America and also worked as an Imagineer for Disney. He achieved worldwide fame for his speech The Last Lecture, which he gave to his pupils after he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. One of Ian’s favourite quotes from Randy’s lecture was:
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop people who don’t want it badly enough”.
Ian turned us all into people who were not going to let a brick wall get in our way; into people who wanted it badly enough. As he said himself we weren’t going let what we couldn’t do stop us from doing what we could, and for a lot of us, that meant conquering Kilimanjaro.
So for that reason, we’re inviting you to help us build a pretty large brick wall! We’ve broken it all down, orphanage and school into bricks, so you can buy a brick, a wall, a whole building! And at €20 a brick, that’s doable isn’t it? It’s just the price of a few pints, a night at the cinema, a T-Shirt. One brick at a time, pole pole (slowly slowly) as they say on Kilimanjaro, we can help these amazing children in Arusha, and ensure that Ian will continue to change lives in a place that he loved so much.
If you want to know more about CHETI and see how you can continue to help them by sponsoring one of their pupils you can get all the details here: www.sponsorcheti.org.
In the meantime, get your thinking hats on! All you previous Achievers did some pretty amazing fundraising in the last few years and raised hundreds of thousands of euros for some very worthwhile charities. We only need a fraction of that money. What can you do? Can you buy a brick or two? Can you buy a whole wall? Ian helped you all, now it’s your turn.
So how can you do this?
You can make donations directly to the bank account we have set up (details below), or through paypal at this link
Or you can write a cheque, postal order or bank draft to Kilimanjaro Achievers (Charity) and post it to:
c/o Work at Height Training
Kilimanjaro Achievers (charity)
Account Number: 35027101
Sort code 93-34-81
We look forward to hearing about your fund raising events, if we can help you with anything let us know and with a little bit of team effort we can all help make Ian’s dream come true, just like he did for many of us
Get Achieving Everybody!