Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
I've been on an incredible journey which has introduced me to many wonderful and inspirational people. During my travels I met Craig Goldblatt during a training webinar.
When the webinar finished, Craig asked if he could speak for a short while about something he was very passionate about. I listened as he told us about Giving Africa and the vision of building schools in a small village there.
While he spoke, I visited his website. I read about his journey and felt immediately moved and compelled to become involved.
I have worked in schools in England for 16 years and am a parent of a wonderful 17 year old son. During my time both as a parent and an educational professional, I have always felt that I am here to serve a greater purpose. Every position I've been involved in has brought me closer to realising what that purpose is.
This year I finished a position with my local authority doing a job I loved helping 6 special schools achieve their extended schools status.
The job brought me many challenges and great lessons and this year I was informed I would be made redundant as there was no longer a need for my role. I chanted about this as I am a follower of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism.
I have learned through my Buddhist practise that I have the ability to turn negative situations into positive situations and strongly believe that somewhere there would be a positive outcome from leaving this job.
Craig told us during the webinar that there was going to be a one day seminar in London to introduce us to Giving Africa. I signed up straight away and spent a very enjoyable day aboard HMS President which is moored on the Embankment.
We had a fantastic day and learned a great deal more about Giving Africa as well as Craig's reason for setting it up. His vision of building schools there completely matched my realisation about why I was here as I had wanted to be involved in building a school since I began my training as a nursery nurse in 1994.
When Craig and I first met I spoke to him about why it meant so much to me to have discovered Giving Africa and I was unable to hold back the tears. I immediately connected with Craig and the Giving Africa team.
You can imagine my excitement when I received an invitation to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in October 2011!
This was a challenge I felt certain I could achieve after the year I had previously gone through.
I experienced some physical challenges late in 2009 when I came off my bike and suffered a knee injury that kept me from going to work for three months. After several weeks of physio therapy I was eventually able to return to work.
During 2010 I have faced many physical challenges as it took me the duration of the year to find the confidence to get back on my bike. I have since gained alot of weight and feel that by doing a sponsored slim, this will provide me with great incentive to raise money for the charity as well as lose the weight and increase my fitness to be able to climb this beautiful mountain.
I have been given a fantastic life changing opportunity to transform my life whilst helping others and in so doing I know I will be able to continue to achieve even more to help more people.
Thank you for reading my story and for any donation you are able to give. I will post regular updates here so you can follow my progress and see where your money is going.
I look forward to spending the next year training and fundraising for this amazing charity and sharing this journey with you!
Thanks for listening,
5th November 2010
Well, since I said I was going to be doing a sponsored slim I have been busy focusing my efforts on keeping off my favourite craving...chocolate! I am so addicted to the stuff that I could easily eat through a large...no...make that...giant sized bar in an evening! I realised I was doing my self no favours by regularly diving headfirst into one of these marathon chocolate frenzies and made a very conscious choice to cut it out...
I have now managed to go a whole month without eating any chocolate. I kept it to myself for a while because I felt I wanted to get through the worst part and that would involve going "cold turkey" I am now over the worst and wonder why the NHS haven't provided those of us with this addiction a replacement pill to help us recover? Perhaps one day this will be readily available, until then we have to make do with our own will power and determination to kick the chabit!!
I haven't weighed myself yet as I have been so busy with various things. That's not entirely true actually. The truth is I didn't really want to stand on the scale and admit how much I actually weigh. I certainly don't want to be posting how much I weigh online, but I have made a commitment to raising money for Giving Africa and if while in the process I can regain a healthy weight and lifestyle then this is an added bonus.
Please support me in my efforts as this has to be one of the toughest challenges I have ever done...and I've chosen to share it with as many people as possible, to raise as much money and awareness as possible for this fantastic charity.
I'm considering creating a youtube channel so I can post regular updates so you don't have to read through lots of text...I will create this over the weekend and begin to vlog once it's up and running.
In the meantime, please feel free to share this with your online friends and encourage them to make a donation.
Thanks for your continued support and contribution.
Today is 29th March 2011. Yes, it's been a while since I've written anything on here and so much has been happening I ought to update you! Wel,, first of all I committed myself to doing a sponsored slim to raise money so I could pay for the deposit. So far, although I've raised lots of money for the charity, I've not managed to raise any for my deposit which means I can't actually fundraise for the Kilimanjaro climb. So thinking hats are on...going to get creative and figure out ways ot make this happen...
last week I hosted a musical event at Ginglik in Shepherds Bush, it was a great evening and we had several live acts performing as well as a great raffle which helped to raise lots of money for Giving Africa...YAY!!!
During the planning of the event, I met with various people to discuss the charity and ways in which they could get involved. I have a few more people to talk to and will let you know how that goes. Lots of ideas on how to get the word out!
Ok, so first things first...I must raise £400 for my deposit so I can actually do the challenge...hmmm...
Since October I've been walking to work, which involves a 2.2 mile journey there and back...I've increased my pace and now manage to walk the 2.2miles in half an hour! I would really like to get some of those new trainers to assist my walking efforts...
I have given up chocolate, last bar was consumed in October 2010...as a chocoholic this has been one of the toughest elements of this challenge so far, however, I have lost 1 and a half stone and am now beginning to feel the benefits of a reduced waistline and less aches around my joints...perhaps there's a company out there who might want to sponsor me as a weight loss story! hmmm? thinking cap really working now :-)
last night I travelled with my partner Alex, who is also going to do the Kilimanjaro challenge, to a giving Africa ambassadors' meeting to discuss the recent events in Burkina Faso and have a look at the plans that have been drawn up. We listedned to lisa from Article 25 who passionately shared with us the work they've been involved in with the preparation and development of the construction of the school building. I was amazed at the detail with which their team are focusing their efforts, inparticular the achinery they're using to assess the wind flow to make sure the building is airy as it is a particularly hot area. Craig told us about one of the places where the team sat during one of their visits, it is a slab of concrete that the children may sit on during their break, they have a 3 hour break in the afternoon. This slab of concrete was so hot it was like sitting on an oven! These children deserve to sit in comfort so they can enjoy their school experience, this is just one of the things that your money will help to accomplish.
I will update you with more information as I learn more about the building developments...in the meantime thank you so much for taking the time to read through this and for sharing this story with your friends and family so they know about Giving Africa.