For the past couple of years, whenever my birthday approaches, I’ve been setting up Fundraisers on Facebook for charities close to my heart; appeals which so many friends have responded to with amazing generosity. This year, I’m doing things differently to honour my dearest daughter Rebecca - Becs as I called her - who died in January of a rare form of bone cancer.
Sixteen years ago, I took part in the second edition of the Kilimanjaro Challenge to help raise funds for the building of a school in Ethiopia, one of several projects undertaken by the late Dun Gorg Grima and the indefatigable Keith Marshall. That particular project has long been completed, but other connected fundraising projects continue to this day. Over the years, the Kilimanjaro Challenge has raised over €1million towards various causes in Ethiopia and Kenya.
Keith is now the founder of the SiGMA Foundation, and one of its major projects is the construction of a school in Bonga in southwest Ethiopia. Fundraising and works to complete the kindergarten and primary school are at an advanced stage. As of the launching date of this appeal, some friends are currently doing the Camino de Santiago as part of that effort. I haven’t been involved in any of that, but I plan to dive headfirst into the next part of the project — the building of the secondary school — which will be set up in memory of Becs.
Becs, who passed away on January 3, at the very young age of 15, was inspirational to so many people through her resilience and courage in the face of impossible odds, and the way she campaigned for access to education, as well as other issues, while she was ill. I was touched to my deepest core when it was suggested to me that the school should be named ‘The Becs Zammit Lupi Junior Secondary School’ or 'The Rebecca Zammit Lupi Junior Secondary School'. I resolved there and then to become actively involved to help raise funds to bring the project to fruition. This is why I’ve set up this crowdfunding page on GoGetFunding.com.
All being well, in 2022 I’ll join other team members on the Camino de Santiago as part of this fundraising effort, as well as climb the 4,167m high Mount Toubkal in Morocco — the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains. All the funds raised (just a very small commission goes to the crowdfunding site) will go directly towards the school-building project. All participants, including myself, will pay their own expenses on all the fundraising expeditions.
Also, all participants have to surpass a minimum of €500 in their personal fundraising efforts to take part in each expedition. Even though the school will be named after my Becs, I’m no different in that regard but am aiming to raise well over the minimum required. Going through the physical, mental and emotional hardship on these expeditions will be a walk in the park compared to what Becs herself went through. While doing the expeditions is not my top priority or even the reason I’m doing this, I still feel I should give them my best shot as Becs really believed in this sort of thing.
Other team members will be doing their own personal fundraising, and there will also be fundraisers carried out as a group through the SiGMA Foundation.
I know Becs will be fully behind me on this venture. She was always proud of the fact that I carried a photo of her to the summit of Kilimanjaro when she was still a baby, and we used to talk of maybe someday, when she was a little bit older, we would climb the mountain together. That now will sadly never come to pass, but doing this in her memory just might be the next best thing.
Help me make this a reality.