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How many people get to climb one of the world’s highest mountain peaks with a group of eight determined and enthusiastic blind persons?
Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa was registered in 2006 with $100 000.
It all started in 2005 when Paul Polman, Chairman of the Board of KBTA and Global CEO, Unilever, decided to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with a group of 28 members, eight of whom were blind. This group was inspired and assembled by American athlete, adventurer, author, activist and motivational speaker, and the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, Erik Weihenmeyer.
On the summit day, the team completed 18 hours of hiking and 13,200 feet of climbing (from base camp to the top, then down again to the final campsite). It was a challenge of huge proportions, but almost the entire team made it to the top, making it the largest number of blind people to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, ever.
KBTA’s journey began after the climb ended. In the days that followed, the group of climbers visited local blind schools in the region surrounding Mt. Kilimanjaro to connect with blind children and bring them much needed supplies and materials. The bright smiles of children receiving their first white canes and talking watches inspired the vision for creating Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa.
The experience with blind persons provided first-hand insight into the burning need for modern educational resources for blind/visually impaired children in East Africa. From these visits emerged the concept of a trust to help provide better support for the education of blind/blind/visually impaired children in East Africa, with literacy at its core. After prolonged discussions with on-the-ground educators, local NGOs and the Perkins School for the Blind, the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa decided on its focus: to help all of Africa’s blind children have access to Braille and Braille education throughout their education process.
KBTA was officially registered in December 2006. Today it is a non-profit trust registered with its headquarters in Kenya. Beyond its start-up funds, most of its operating funds have been raised on a continuing basis through public fundraising efforts, direct donations from individuals or corporates, from bank interest or investment returns and other sources.
We are highly appreciative of all of the generous support from Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa’s many friends everywhere who allow us to fulfill our mission on a daily basis. Please support Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa today!
All projects funded by Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa are overseen by the KBTA Board of Trustees who ensure accountability to our donors through regular audits, carried out by a professional auditing firm. Please feel free to reach out with any questions!