Unilever Staff Climb Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro triumph for Unilever employees
Funds raised for the visually impaired

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Last month ten Unilever employees climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust, a charity founded by Paul Polman in 2006 to advance Braille literacy for visually impaired people in East Africa.

With some sponsorship still to be collected, the climbers have so far raised a total of €5,800.

The ascent was the idea of Ellen Bvekerwa, HR Director, Unilever East and Southern Africa: “None of us had done anything like this before. It was challenging physically, emotionally and mentally… but one of the best self-discovery experiences I’ve had.”

Rising from the rainforest of north-eastern Tanzania, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. Reaching the summit at 5,895 metres took five days of walking for seven to eight hours a day.

In 2005, Paul climbed the mountain with a party that included eight blind climbers. Before and after the climb, he visited schools for the blind in the region and vowed to work for the benefit of the students.

The aim of the Trust is to enhance the lives of blind children in East Africa by giving them the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. The idea is that they become independent and integrated members of their society.

In Paul Polman’s note to the employees who took part in this latest climb, he wrote: “I congratulate you all on a wonderful achievement and more importantly to also be inspired by such a great cause. You have definitely climbed the mountain of greatness and generosity, which makes you true leaders.