Updated: Apr 16, 2022
In the year 2005 when Paul Polman, Chairman of theBoard and Global CEO, Unilever, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. This was with a group of 28 members, eight of whom were blind. An American athlete, adventurer, author and activist inspired and assembled the group. Above all, Erik Weihenmeyer is a motivational speaker, and the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
The team finally completed 18 hours of hiking. They covered 13,200 feet of climbing ( to the top and down to the final campsite). Indeed, it was a challenge of huge proportions. However, almost the entire team made it to the top. Making it the largest number of blind people to reach the summit
KBTA’s journey began after the climb ended. For this reason, the group of climbers visited local blind schools around Mt. Kilimanjaro. More importantly, 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. In this case, for visually impaired children in East Africa. From these visits, emerged the concept of a trust to help provide better support for the education of 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.