Photo Peter Bentham
I want to thank my friend Sherif Khelifa for telling me about this fantastic adventure he is embarking -The Right To Climb - which is an initiative to raise awareness and much needed funding for the intellectually disabled by completing the 7 day climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point on the African continent, starting September 12th.
Sherif will join a team of climbers who will pay their own way and help in raising additional funds that will go directly to the Right To Live Association (RTLA) where the money will be used directly in improving the lives of people with mental disability in Egypt.
Sherif why did you personally get involved with this cause?
I heard of the climb and the Charity it supports through a friend, its a challenge I have always wanted to surmount , but never a good enough reason to justify the time.
I recall the first meeting I went to, a friend of mine was asked to speak in his role as a sponsor, aside from being a modest person, he suffers , like 90% of the population myself included , of a fear of public speaking. This meeting was held in a large assembly hall , with roughly 200 people in attendance. My friend an intelligent confident highly educated member of society, understandably, declined to speak.
What happened next had us both looking down at our feet feeling mildly inadequate. A young woman with Down Syndrome, got on stage, calmly and eloquently and spoke on behalf of the charity. She explained how the RTLA had taken her and many others like her from a life of shame and an inability to function in society as a productive member to being able to work and live. Clearly confident enough to talk on a stage in from of a couple hundred people, where people with all the advantages and tools often hesitate.
How are you training for this climb?
Training is geared to physical fitness , endurance training , building ones core, I'd say 2 hours a day at the gym is what im doing, sadly I haven’t had the chance to do a couple of practice climbs on smaller mountains this month to test my fitness. But then again they say that often , super fit individuals those capable of running triathlons and compete in iron man events, don’t make it to the top, whilst the occasional smoker with 2 weeks of training has no problem!
What are you most looking forward to about the experience?
Im most looking forward to reaching the bottom of the mountain….after summiting of course, followed by which I think a shower, 8 days with no water will take its toll.
As Chris Darwin , great, great grandson to CHARLES Darwin and mountain climber once said:
''Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain... Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall - it's great when you stop." Chris Darwin
To donate or for more info contact Sherif -firstname.lastname@example.org