You can help me provide Mount Sinai with a Bedouin rescue team.
I am running my first marathon on September 16th 2012, the Sydney Marathon, in support of the South Sinai Foundation - www.southsinaifoundation.org. Set up and run by my mum Hilary Gilbert in 2006, they are currently the only Bedouin-led organization supporting the Bedouin of the South Sinai, some of the world's poorest people. In just a short time their work has won international acclaim, and Hilary has been shortlisted for a major philanthropy award.
Mount Sinai, site of the Burning Bush and the Ten Commandments, is one of the world's oldest attractions and pilgrimage sites. It is also the second highest peak in Egypt. The people Hilary's organization helps are the only rescue force in this remote and harsh part of Egypt. If you have an accident here, only Bedouin will come to your aid - their good will is the only safety net. Unbelievably, there is not a single trained mountain rescue team.
Imagine more visitors than Snowdon or Mont Blanc, but without any safety net in case of accidents.
My target of £1500 will buy Mount Sinai its only mountain rescue equipment and training for a Bedouin rescue team.
Every year, the Bedouin of St Katherine guide hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and tourists up Mount Sinai to visit the ancient Monastery. Accompanied by surefooted Bedouin, most manage the path safely, but inevitably things go wrong. The Bedouin have an intimate knowledge of the mountains and can search little-known crags and gullies, and usually they bring people to safety.
But they have no proper equipment and no formal rescue training.
The Co-ordinator, Mohammed Khedr, and the Trustee, Faraj Fox, regularly lead volunteer rescue groups on the mountain from the office located at the foot of Mount Sinai.
Your donations will provide them and their team with equipment and ongoing training to maximize the efficiency of rescue efforts, reassuring both volunteers and visitors that safe and expert hands are never far away.
About me running a marathon
I've never done this before and with 6 weeks to go it is seeming pretty daunting, but do-able. I ran a half marathon earlier in the year and that was pretty tough. I will update the page with how the training is going and any news and photos.
I am currently doing fieldwork in the Australian desert so the long training runs are pretty spectacular, but also pretty remote like the Sinai. Along with my trusty Camelbak I am kitted up with a radio and emergency beacon!
Donating through this site is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to sponsor me: SSF will receive your money faster and, if you are a UK taxpayer, an extra 28% in tax will be added to your gift at no cost to you. Many thanks for your support on behalf of all the Bedouin who will benefit from your donation.
In the UK you can donate by TEXT by texting 70070 with the message "BEDU99 £X" where X is the amount you want to donate. Thanks to Vodafone, there are no extra charges for you, me or the South Sinai Foundation if you donate by text.