Eight young girls from Sharjah, all under 18 years of age, are on the biggest adventure of their lives, trying to conquer Africa's highest mountain Kilimanjaro, in a bid to inspire young girls to follow their dreams.
They began their seven-day climb, sponsored by the Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah (SYL), a subsidiary of the Rubu' Qarn Foundation for Creating Leaders and Innovators, on August 21.
This is the second mountaineering expedition SYL is organising for its young members in a bid to ramp up their physical and mental capabilities, boost their self-confidence and instil leadership skills. Last year, a group of SYL climbers successfully summitted the highest peak in the Atlas range, Mount Toubkal in Morocco.
The SYL team underwent rigorous training under experienced mountaineers before they embarked on the Kilimanjaro trip.
The first day of the trek will have the SYL mountaineers getting used to the conditions, with a 12-km trek from Machame Gate to Machame camp (3,000 metres).
On the second day, the SYL climbers will trek from Machame camp to Shira camp (3,840 metres). Night temperatures are expected to drop well below freezing point at this exposed camp. This is the reason mountaineers pay so much importance to their gear. Proper warm clothing carried in waterproof bags can save the day when it is cold and wet by ensuring enough sleep and rest.
Day 3’s trek will take the climbers up 4,600 metres from Shira to Lava Tower, before descending to Barranco camp (3,950 metres). The mountaineers will carry sufficient quantity of water because dehydration is much quicker at higher altitudes. It can increase the possibility of headaches, acute mountain sickness (AMS) and overall fatigue, so climbers are advised to drink plenty of water.
The 6 km-trek from Barranco camp to Karanga Campa (4,200 metres) on the fourth day will be one of the most difficult stretches before the ascent to the summit. Teams are told to set a pace at which they can carry out a conversation with their teammates.
Day 5 will see the climbers ascend Barafu camp, which will be the base camp to begin heading to the summit.
The climb to the summit will start early on the sixth day as it will take eight hours to reach Uhuru Peak and the descent to Mweka will begin almost immediately. On the last day, the SYL mountaineers will trek down from Mweka camp to Mweka Gate, where successful climbers will receive their summit certificates.
Sheikha Aisha Khalid Al Qasimi, Director of SYL thanked the sponsors for their support and crucial role in supporting this unique adventure. Sheikha Aisha said that such expeditions instil a spirit of adventure in the team and teach them tenacity, responsibility and teamwork. “Such attempts will teach them the importance of trust and loyalty in overcoming challenges. Our girls have undergone rigorous training and preparation and we are certain they will put it to good use and return with exciting and memorable experiences that will stand them in good stead when they have to overcome obstacles later on in life,” she added.
The climb is supported by Fast Building Contracting Company (Exclusive Adventure Sponsor), Tilal Properties (Silver Sponsor); Sharjah Sports Council (Bronze Sponsor); Sharjah Police Academy (Logistics Sponsor) and Sharjah Broadcasting Authority (Official Media Sponsor).
Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah is dedicated to developing the talents of girls aged 13 to 18 years in all creative spheres. Established in 2004 under the umbrella of Sharjah Children’s Centres, it became an independent entity in 2012 following an administrative decree from Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) and Chairperson of the Rubu’ Qarn Foundation for Creating Leaders and Innovators.