We are constantly inspired by our incredible community. Every day you blow us away with your passion, your creativity, and your enthusiasm. And the lengths (and heights!) you’ll go to in order to educate girls.
While most of us were vegging out, nursing food comas, or just generally eating, drinking and merry-making over the festive season, Georgia was taking on something epic.
She was trekking to Everest Base Camp and she was doing it to educate girls.
Starting with a goal of raising $900 to educate 3 girls – Georgia was immediately overwhelmed with the support she got. As the donations came flooding in, she says she had to keep upping her fundraising target every week or so!
She says, “I was continuously shocked by the amount of support and encouragement rallied from different corners within and outside of my social network. Once I hit the $2000 point I decided that $3000 would be my final goal, a far cry from the very humble beginnings of my online campaign which started with a target of $900!”
“I completely underestimated how much encouragement and love was around me. I’m a thousand miles away from home (Georgia’s currently on exchange in Hong Kong, away from her home in New Zealand) but it made me feel as if I was just around the corner.”
And she did it. Georgia reached her $3000 goal – enough to give 10 girls access to education. Incredible.
Then the real challenge began. On Decemeber 24 – Christmas Eve – she embarked on the 12 day journey to Everest Base Camp.
She says it was “12 days of wonder, experience and occasional breathlessness (equally contributed by both the thinning air and the stunning scenery).” She wasn’t kidding – check out these AMAZING photos!
Each day Georgia and her Aussie trekking buddy, Tim, and their Sherpa Nir, would walk about 6 hours, with lots of breaks in between. They’d stay overnight at tea houses along the way, usually arriving by late afternoon, just in time to watch the sun dip behind the mountains. The small tea houses provided shelter against the insanely cold nights – the coldest night Georgia experienced was -18 degrees C outside. Yikes.
“A few mornings I woke up and my drink bottle beside the bed was frozen solid.”
What’s cooler than being cool?
Ice cold Trekking to Everest Base Camp in the winter, apparently.
“After 5pm there wasn’t anywhere you’d want to be other than the range of the furnace in the tea house common room, defrosting your fingers and chatting to other trekkers who were loony enough to go to the Himalayas in winter. It was there I met all sorts of fascinating people from across the globe.”
While the physical accomplishment of trekking to Base Camp was huge, Georgia says her other highlights were the amazing scenery and the Nepalese people, culture and food.
“The food was third only to the scenery and the people. The Nepalese culture in the Himalayas is a mix of adaptation to the conditions of living at altitude combined with a strong sense of community and tradition. Between each small village we were without fail shown hospitality that would put commercial industries to shame. There was a genuine kindness that absolutely overshadowed the fact that these villages rely on the patronage of seasonal trekkers.”
She says the best advice for the actual trek came from the saying, “slow and steady wins the race.” – which allowed her body to acclimatise to the changing conditions.
And while she’s absolutely stoked about raising enough to educate 10 girls, she says it’s not all about that. “As much as it is about donating, it’s really about raising awareness on the issue. It [education] should not be a privilege. It should be a basic human right.” she says.
“Strangers went out of their way to donate and tell me what I was doing was ‘inspiring’. This still shocks me. My intention was always just to send girls to school. I am a firm believer in education as a measure for poverty alleviation. So inspiring others, while being a completely unintended consequence, is a positive externality.”
Well, Georgia, you’ve already kicked off our 2016 with a massive inspiration explosion. You have well and truly inspired us. Congratulations to you and your amazing community of friends, family, acquaintances and strangers – you’ve made an incredible difference to the lives of 10 girls.