Brixton local Penny Ruszczynski has taken on the trek of a lifetime, leading a team of intrepid volunteers up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Farm Africa.
The 28-year-old fundraiser and her co-walkers flew out to Tanzania last week, hoping their challenge will raise an ambitious £35,000 for the London-based charity which works to end hunger and food shortages in eastern Africa.
As the charity’s corporate fundraising manager, Penny is used to persuading others to get involved in demanding activities to help inspire donations. However, the tables have turned and its now Penny herself who is in charge of a six-day trek to the top of Kilimanjaro – the tallest freestanding mountain in the world with its summit reaching 5,895 metres above sea level.
Not a holiday for the faint-hearted, the team will have to sleep under canvas on rough mountain trails, and will only arrive at the summit after trekking through the night in oxygen-thin air over steep boulder-strewn paths that are almost vertical at stages. They aim to reach the peak on Wednesday 10 September.
“I’ve been promoting the importance of taking on challenges to raise money for life-changing charities for years”, said Penny. “So it’s about time I finally took on one of these major challenges myself. I’m also really looking forward to visiting a Farm Africa project with the rest of the team so we can see how the money raised from the climb will be used to make a real and lasting change to families and communities.”
Farm Africa helps support and train local smallholder farmers in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to increase food production. With 200 specialist staff on the ground, the charity aims to help farmers working in crops, livestock, fish or the forest become self-sufficient and work to reduce localised hunger and poverty.
To back Penny and the team you can make a donation via her online fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/pennykiliclimb