Climb Kilimanjaro Virtually - SUCCESS!
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(African Proverb)

On May 1st, TEMBO launched a fundraising campaign to support the women and girls in northern Tanzania during the COVID 19 pandemic. The response to the 'Climb Kilimanjaro-Virtually' challenge was outstanding. More than 60 individuals - children, mothers and daughters, friends, family - walked the 128,263 steps up Mt. Kilimanjaro. They did so in the safety of their local neighborhoods and homes, always walking the distance - at a distance.

During the 10 day trek, these 60 walkers raised $31,858 dollars.

COVID 19 has touched every corner of the world and the girls and women who are supported by TEMBO are no exception. When the pandemic spread to Tanzania, schools were closed indefinitely and the 143 TEMBO sponsored girls were sent home where they face serious challenges: hunger, risk of pregnancy and early marriage and uncertainty about when their studies will continue. Many girls have no resources at home including no toiletries for personal hygiene, and no resources for learning such as textbooks and stationery.

TEMBO gratefully acknowledges the support of the walkers and the many donors who stepped up to make this such a successful campaign. 

TEMBO Director's Nancy Arbogast, Arlene McKechnie and Virginia Taylor meet for their  final walk 
(at a distance) and a chance to say THANK YOU to all.


Funds raised during the 'Climb Kilimanjaro - Virtually' challenge will be used to support the many women and girls supported by TEMBO in Longido District during the current global crisis and beyond.  We are beginning to see that this pandemic and the impact on the rural communities in Tanzania will continue much longer than expected. Efforts are already underway to provide health education and essential resources thanks to the generous support of our donors. Here is what TEMBO is doing to help fight the challenges presented by the pandemic in a remote, rural community:

Our Tanzanian TEMBO staff have been working quickly to provide emergency food packages to girls whose families are in particularly difficult circumstances during the pandemic. 

As well, staff is supporting all TEMBO sponsored girls by delivering learning materials including textbooks and worksheets. Contact with the girls encourages motivation and gives the girls the confidence they need to to continue their studies. Staff will reach out to all girls bi-monthly.

Women and girls will continue to receive hygiene materials including toiletries for the girls and soap for the women so that they may keep their families safe. 

TEMBO staff will continue to make regular follow up visits with village leaders, parents and guardians to ensure the safety of the girls at home. 

And of course, the safety of our staff is is critical. TEMBO will ensure that they are well protected as they deliver essential support to the community.


There are so many great stories and we would love to share them all with you. This fundraiser has attracted the attention of young children and seniors, teachers and friends of TEMBO who have visited our projects in Longido, individuals who have climbed Kilimanjaro and thought it would be fun to do it again - and yes, many who knew that climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro might not be possible but they could do it this way.

Some have walked alone listening to podcasts, some have walked in their neighborhoods or on local trails, some have walked with friends (at a distance) and some have walked in the rain.

In this newsletter, we share just five stories but to all of the walkers, we thank you! 



As a retirement gift, Linda Hatton’s colleagues gave her funds for a trip to Africa. As a longtime supporter of TEMBO, it was only natural for Linda to travel to Longido where she learned about the work that TEMBO does there. She particularly enjoyed learning about the micro business program for women.  She immersed herself in the experience: a local dressmaker made a dress for her, a local hairdresser braided her hair and she walked with the women for water.

When Linda read about the Mount Kilmanjaro -Virtually challenge, she saw a great opportunity to raise awareness of the valuable programs that TEMBO runs. She set her fundraising goal at $2000 and reached out to her network. And the money poured in. To date, she has raised $3580.

 As an unexpected twist, people offered to walk with her. “I am usually a solo walker,” she says, “as I am short so my strides are short and I walk slower than most” But she enjoyed the companionship as she averaged 19,000 steps per day.

Her biggest cheerleader is her partner, Janet who does daily weather checks, and takes on the “lion’s share of the household tasks”. 

Linda enjoys walking on the many trails around Mitchell but hopes to spend her final day playing 18 holes of golf while walking.



Anna Neufeld is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro - at least, virtually. Anna is determined to walk the 128,263 steps needed to get to the summit of the highest mountain in Africa. But she is doing it in the comfort in her living room at Rockliffe Retirement Home.

“We’re in lockdown right now,” she says “so that means a lot of laps in my small living room.”

Anna is being cheered on by her son, Ken Neufeld, former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan. During his time as head of CIDA in Tanzania in the 1980’s, Ken  climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. It is these memories of the climb that he is using to cheer on his mom. Every day he sends her dispatches, describing the sights and sounds on this part of the climb.

On Day 3, Ken writes: “Up here at nearly 3000 metres there is much less rainfall as this is often above the clouds. The ultraviolet light from the sun is very strong as the atmosphere is thinner. For you, this means you need to keep your hat on and keep the suntan lotion slathered on.”

To date, Anna has raised $2,386. She is determined to finish the walk although she admits that it may take her a little longer to finish.

This is a real family affair. The walkers included Shirley Reeder (Nana 71), Keri Blanchard (daughter 38), Jace (grandson 7), Lily (grandaughter 4), Stephanie Reeder (daughter-in-law 39), Lexi (grandaughter 8) and Mazee  (grandaughter 4). They all live in Warsaw or just up the highway in Lakefield.

Shirley is the spark that inspired the family to undertake the challenge. Five years ago Shirley volunteered in the PASS program in Longido and since then she has instilled in her four grandchildren a deep caring for “Nana’s girls” even though they have not personally met them.  The children are a big part of TEMBO fundraising events that Shirley has organized and they often save their “pennies” to donate to TEMBO.

Team Captain, Stephanie,  is currently home with her kids and saw the Climb Kili challenge as a great opportunity to do something positive with the kids. “Anything but one more math sheet”, she says. It didn’t take much persuading to get the entire family involved and by Day 6 they had collectively covered 384,789 steps.

They have hiked from house to house and even on the treadmill. But the kids really enjoy the hikes on the trails at Warsaw Caves where they can play hide and seek and find all sorts of woodland treasures. One short hike ended up being 6.5 kms.  “The kids were tired,” says Stephanie, “but they asked to go on a shorter hike the next day on the same trail.”

On her 71st birthday, Shirley posted: “This morning I walked 6.8 kms. I am so happy that I agreed to do this challenge in a time when Covid19 seems to be consuming us all. The challenge is helping me focus each day on something more positive: supporting the work of TEMBO Canada for Girls’ Education.




Ten year old Nico Popp, who will turn 11 on June 10, learned about TEMBO from his Bammy, Arlene McKechnie, a long-time dedicated volunteer for TEMBO.

Nico likes to support the girls in Longido because “they will have the opportunity to go to school and get an education which is important to every kid.” He has never been to Tanzania but he hopes “to check it out for myself” one day.

Nico typically walks with his mom or dad and sometimes with this younger brother, Matty, his biggest cheerleader. Matty would go on walks with him “even when he didn’t feel like it.”

Nico kept track of his daily steps (and those of everyone else in the family) on a spreadsheet. His highest step count was 27K one day but the average was about 17K.  He was always looking for new routes and ways to go further. “I wanted to be the youngest and fastest walker in the challenge,” he says. And we think he was!

He reflects on his accomplishment by saying: “It felt good to be doing something for TEMBO while I was being active and having fun.”



This mother and daughter team from Winnipeg participated in the Travelling with TEMBO for Fabric Lovers trip in February 2019. For Cheryl Hooper and Marian Perrett, “It was a wonderful, eye-opening experience”. When they learned of the virtual walk up Kilimanjaro, they saw an opportunity  to support TEMBO from afar while staying fit.

Sometimes they walk separately in their own neighbourhoods and sometimes , such as Mother’s Day, they walk together. But they always send one another daily updates on their steps and post their progress on social media.

Marian says that she often thinks about the Tanzanian women especially when she sees new Canadians wearing those gorgeous fabrics.She has made many items from the fabric she purchased in Tanzania. She was so impressed with the women of Longido who were sewing pleated skirts for the girls to wear to school and water makes her think of the women who were walking for water.The girls and women of Longido have become an integral part of daily thought.

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