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Room left on African climb supporting schools

Developing World Connections group includes three generations
October 28, 2015 3:48 P.M.
School children in George Bay, Sierra Leone, where one of the schools will be built with the help of funds raised by Kamloops volunteers.

Close to 20 business and community leaders are in training to take on Developing World Connections’s Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge in January and there’s room for a few more.

Four more spaces remain on this trip of a lifetime. Not only are participants doing a great deed by raising money to support education for children in an African slum community, but they are feeding their souls knowing their unique experience is going to help others.

And they get to hike Africa’s tallest freestanding mountain and experience the sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching the ice-capped summit.

The challenge is a fundraiser for two schools in Sierra Leone, where DWC volunteers began construction before ebola broke out. DWC continues to support the projects through a local organization in George Brook, Sierra Leone.

The United Nations estimates almost half of Africa’s school-age children get no education. The Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge goal is to raise $100,000 so that children can get an education and a better life. Pledges can be made via DWC’s web site at

Neville and Grayden Flanagan of Subway Restaurants, along with Grayden’s son Chet, will make it a three-generation team going to Mount Kili, from age 73 to 19. 

“I’m very proud of the fact that Grayden is going,” said Neville, a masters runner in Australia until Nov. 2. “He first asked me if I wanted to go. Then I realized it was three generations.” 

Although Neville is in great physical shape, the elevation and sparse oxygen levels concern him. 

“I think it’ll be one of the greatest things that my son and grandson have done together,” he said. “To be able to do it with my son and grandson is absolutely fantastic.”

Lawyer Jenifer Crawford turned down a chance to hike Mount Kili for personal reasons nine years ago, so she jumped at getting another chance. She’s fulfilling a personal challenge, a bucket-list desire to go to Africa and a belief in providing education for children. 

“I see it as a basic human right. When we look at developed and developing countries and compare the haves with the have-nots, I see education as a distinguishing factor,” Crawford said. 

“The way to raise the standard of living and allow countries to develop  stable political regimes is through education," she continued. "Education of children will give them the knowledge and skills to enhance their own lives and make positive change in their communities. So the fact that we are trying to complete a school in Sierra Leone meets a need to give back to the global community in a way that will create opportunities and advance the lives of children in a country whose growth has been challenged by poverty, disease, lack of opportunity and civil unrest.”

For more information about Developing World Connections, contact communications co-ordinator Michele Young at 250-434-2524, ext. 16, or email


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