Fairland schoolboy Keanan Greyson plans to start his teens on a high note, by summiting Mount Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru peak on his 13th birthday on October 4.
But every step he takes will not be for bragging rights, but to thank his community, and to raise money for less fortunate children and families who live there.
“I am a privileged child at Laerskool [Primary School] Fairland and I want to help the people who are being assisted by Vriende van Fairland [VVF] [Friends of Fairland].”
All of the expenses for his party of six, which includes his 71-year-old grandfather Stef, will be paid for by themselves, meaning every cent he raises will go to the community organisation.
“They use the money to buy food parcels, clothes, stationery, medicines,” he explained.
His proud granny Inamarie, who climbed 5 895 metres to the highest point in Africa with her husband 10 years ago, said they had always promised to take Keanan up Kili, as it is popularly known.
But it was Keanan who came up with the idea to use the trip to raise money for less fortunate families at his school who are enduring difficult private struggles as they try to educate their children.
“Keanan wanted to do something,” said Inamarie.
The party will take a longer eight day trip to acclimatise as they move from fields to forest to a snow capped peak, to lessen the chance of altitude sickness.
To prepare for the trip Keanan has been walking around with a stuffed backpack and boots, setting the treadmill to “incline 10”, swimming, and exercising at every opportunity – on top of the endless stream of school work and assignments he has to do.
Last week they did a 3 100-metre climb in the Drakensberg and it went well, he said. Other members of the party are: Willem and Herman van Heerden and FC Truter.
To create awareness, children have been given stickers to wear and he briefs the children at assembly on the campaign’s progress. So far the kitty has R12 000, which will cover the cost of many food parcels or doctor’s visits, even counselling for children who are emotionally affected by the difficulties their parents are facing.
But he hopes to raise more, and even get some big companies to chip in.
As the clock ticks towards bedtime for the tween, he says: “I’m very excited.”
– For more information on Keanan’s trip and the Vriende van Fairland, click here.