Eastern Cape mom in charity Trek4Mandela

Thuli Madonsela will be leading women up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for sanitary towels

Lee-Ann King, left, of East London left and Mari van Wyk of Cape Town will attempt the 2019 Trek4Mandela Thuli Madonsela Executive Climb up Mount Kilimanjaro in August 2019
Lee-Ann King, left, of East London left and Mari van Wyk of Cape Town will attempt the 2019 Trek4Mandela Thuli Madonsela Executive Climb up Mount Kilimanjaro in August 2019

An Eastern Cape mother is joining a national expedition of influential women to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and raise funds to ensure that girl children receive much-needed accessibility to sanitary towels.

King William’s Town- born and bred Lee-Ann King, who lives in East London, is looking forward to the Trek4Mandela Thuli Madonsela Executive Climb in August

As a mother of three girls, this cause resonates deeply with King, who believes that this initiative is an opportunity to restore dignity in young South African women.

“I understand the challenges girls face regarding self-esteem in general, let alone coping with the added struggle on a monthly basis of having no access to basic requirements,” she said.

King also sees this as an opportunity to set an example, showing young South African women that setting, working towards, and achieving goals is an important life lesson that one can take into any environment – from the workplace to the very summit of Africa’s highest peak.

Kilimanjaro’s highest summit goes by the name of Uhuru Peak.

Lee-Ann King is hoping to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in the Trek4Mandela Thuli Madonsela Executive Climb in August 2019
Lee-Ann King is hoping to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in the Trek4Mandela Thuli Madonsela Executive Climb in August 2019

“Uhuru” is Swahili for Freedom, and in many ways, it represents the cause that the Thuli Madonsela Women’s Day Executive Climb is devoted to.

Sponsored by LexisNexis South Africa – where King works as national deployment manager – the group hopes to summit on Women’s Day, on August 9.

This climb is the second of two summit groups in 2019’s annual Trek4Mandela initiative, which aims to raise enough funds for the Caring4Girls menstrual hygiene programme, with an ultimate goal of reaching two million disadvantaged girls by 2020.

There are many challenges that young South African women must overcome daily – and for many students in impoverished communities, basic necessities are often overlooked to put food on the table.

Madonsela will be leading the August expedition as they aim to raise enough funds to ensure that girl children will not miss a day of school due to lack of access to sanitary towels. Fitness is something that has been an important part of King’s life for 12 years, and it’s through running that she finds a way to balance life as a business woman and mother.

“Taking up running changed my life, as a busy mom with a demanding job, there is very little ‘me’ time.

“We run early in the morning and it is wonderful to have that time doing what I love without encroaching on my family or work time,” King said.

In a world that is increasingly connected, the break from mobile phones, traffic lights and computer screens is a welcome one.

It’s also a way to stay healthy and find inspiration.

“I simply loved the idea of this challenge from the minute I heard of it.

“I am inspired by exciting goals and could not think one more exciting than to take on Kilimanjaro and contribute to such a worthy cause,” she said.

For King, it’s all about keeping it simple.

“One of my most valuable mantras for when the road gets tough is to remember ‘strong mind, strong body’,” she said.

As the clock ticks down to their summit on August 9, King has been preparing in the gym and on the roads, while also taking the time to summit the peaks of Winterberg.

The almost 50-year-old says: “I have been blessed with a healthy body and I am fortunate to be able to exercise, I don’t take that lightly so I am excited to put that to good use.”

Over the next few weeks, King’s own fundraising efforts will include piggybacking off Mandela Day activities, promoting the cause to her friends, colleagues and customers and sharing details of her special SMS fundraising line on social media.

 

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