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Aussie mother-daughter duo takes on Kilimanjaro for kids!

In September, a small group of passionate Aussies will embark on the ChildFund Kilimanjaro Challenge, among them mother-daughter duo Sheila and Taela.

Hailing from country Victoria, Sheila started sponsoring children through ChildFund in 1991 when she was just 28 years old. In amongst raising her two daughters and running her own business, Sheila found the time to take her support for ChildFund one step further when she took part in our Vietnam Trek for Toddlers in 2011.

“Vietnam was a life-changing experience. I loved meeting new people who are passionate about social justice like me,” says Sheila. “For me it`s all about being involved in something where you are helping to make a real difference.”

“When I came back from Vietnam I just wanted to do more,” she adds.

And when she says more, she means more! This year she`s dusted off her hiking boots so she can tick the world`s highest freestanding mountain off her bucket list. But this time Sheila will get to share the experience with her youngest daughter, 15-year-old Taela.

“We are both so excited. Neither of us have been anywhere in Africa before so it is all brand new. I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it,” Sheila says. “Vietnam was wonderful but I missed not being able to share it with my family so I just can`t wait for Kilimanjaro!”

This seven-day adventure will surely put the whole team to the test. The group will trek through grasslands, alpine meadows and across rocky peaks before reaching almost 5,900m above sea level and taking in the sunrise over the East African plains at the summit of the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro.

By taking on this mammoth challenge, Sheila, Taela and their fellow trekkers will also help to provide clean water for a rural village in Ethiopia. Without access to a safe water source in their village, families are forced to walk many hours each day to collect water, with the burden often falling on children.

To change this, our team of trekkers are raising vital funds to help install eight water points with six taps in Bilchate`s village (pictured above). This will be life-changing for Bilchate, her sisters and many other children in their village, who will now only spend minutes, rather than hours, collecting water for their families each day. This will not only improve their health but their education and development, freeing up much more time and energy to focus on school and play with their friends.

“I am all for exposing my girls to this type of experience at an early age. I think in Australia we can become a little ignorant of the way other people in the world live,” says Sheila. “For me, I don`t think there is anything better than to see in your children that they acknowledge what is important in life and appreciate what they have.”

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