The eight-day charity expedition through Lemosho route which also raised funds for the course included three children from the Moshi-based Gabriella Children's Rehabilitation Centre (GCRC) who are living with learning disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome and hyperactive brain disorder.
The group that included 10 Americans reached the highest peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro namely Stella Point (5,756 metres above sea level) and Uhuru Peak (5,895 metres above sea level).
Speaking to this paper yesterday in an interview soon after arriving from the 'Roof of Africa', Emmanuel Nkindwa who is Tanzanian assistant occupational therapist, who led the children from GCRC said successfully scaling the mountain passes as his biggest achievement in this New Year 2019.
According to Nkindwa, it was 6.35 am on January 5, 2019 when, under a a professional mountain guide Paul Mtui, when the group including the children Isaya Aloyce (14), Joseph Cornelli (16), and Ernest Rocky (14), reached Stella Point (5,756 metres above sea level).
"For some seconds I totally forgot that I came along with the children. That is how tough it was. Then I later turned and saw them from Uhuru peak, a few metres from where I was in a second group when I realized that we had made it,” he said.
Reaching Uhuru peak is a dream come true but the actual climb is a long, tough adventure that one needs to grow very old to able to forget, Nkindwa noted.
For her part, the Founder and Managing Director of GCRC, Brenda Shuma said that the expedition of the 14 climbers including three children with learning disabilities raised funds that will be used to create awareness on autism, Down syndrome and hyperactive brain disorders.
She added that the special Mount Kilimanjaro expedition dubbed Gabriella Children's Rehabilitation Centre Charitable Climb 2018 which was organized by the centre in collaboration with US-based non-profit organisation called Himalayan Glacier Trekking Foundation (HGT-Foundation).
"This special Mount Kilimanjaro climb will be done every year to make sure that community members are aware of learning disabilities that face some of our children and how each of us can support them,” she said.
Commenting on the charitable climb, Tony Monaco from HGT-Foundation explained said: "scaling Kilimanjaro with the children is not just a Climb; it's an opportunity to raise awareness and funds to support the needs of children with learning disabilities in Tanzania."
He added that apart from creating awareness, the special expedition will also support Gabriella's programmes to be able to help more children with disabilities access the care and support they need.
According to Monaco, over the past ten years HGT has been organizing running tours, treks and climbs in countries in Southeast Asia, Indochina and now Africa.
"HGT Travel Foundation gives back to the local communities and their families many of whom work in the travel industry as guides, porters, cooks, drivers and office staff. Our goal is to serve those in need in the countries we operate. There are no salaried positions within HGT Travel Foundation. We are all volunteers,” Monaco explained.