There are some Amazing people out there!

When I initially set up my fundraising page with PLAN I had to set a target. I was worried when I set it that I wouldn’t be able to reach it, but there are some AMAZING people out there and, through your generosity, we’ve already hit the $1,000 mark.  Wow!

Some of these people are friends, others I’ve come to know through the blogging world but there are some who I’ve no idea who they are. To all of you wonderful people goes a huge thank you.

By supporting me on my trek to Everest Base Camp next May to celebrate my 60th birthday and the 60th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Mt Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, your donations are helping out with the Because I’m a Girl campaign.

Girls washing their hands in clean water in Vietnam.

This campaign aims in particular to promote the education of girls by fostering an awareness in their communities of the advantages of extending the time a girl spends in school.

One in three girls around the world is denied an education with less than half the girls in the developing countries completing primary school. One in seven girls in developing countries is married by the age of fifteen, in Indonesia 36% of marriages involve children under the age of sixteen.

With your support girls like 15 year old Lamana are empowered to change their future. Lamana was forced to marry a man twice her age who beat her when she tried to leave the house. Despite the disapproval of her community, Lamana fought  to leave her violent husband. With Plan’s help and her family’s support she has moved back home and returned to school allowing her to regain her confidence.

Girls at a Plan supported school in Sierra Leone

Research shows that just one extra year of schooling can boost girls eventual wages by 10 to 25 per cent. This has a long term ripple effect on the wellbeing of their families and communities.

So, although my fundraising is going well I would urge you all to help me out here and keep up the momentum by donating to this worthy cause. You can hit the donate tab up the top there or head straight to http://fundraise.plan.org.au/travellingbag

Improving the education of girls will act as a positive step towards a more just world.

Exciting changes!!

There’s been a few changes around here but I’ll try and make the explanation as concise as possible, I know I tend to get a bit long winded at times.

First, the obvious – there’s a nice new picture up the top there. Just a reminder of where I’m going, I hope you like it.

Everest Base Camp

Second – where am I going? Well, a slight change of plan there. As many of you already know next year, 2013, will see the celebrations for my 60th birthday and also the 60th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Mt Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. To commemorate these two momentous occasions I made the decision to undertake the 60th anniversary trek to Nepal, run by World Expeditions.

I’ve been rethinking things lately and I’ve made a slight adjustment to my plans. I’ve decided to go further! Originally I was doing the short trek, going as far as Thyangboche Monastery but I’ve now decided to extend it and head for Base Camp. I figure, in for a penny in for a pound. My training is going better than expected (thanks in no small part to a pushy training partner) and, after discussing it with a few people who have done Base Camp, I’m beginning to think I’ll regret it if I don’t do it. I don’t want to get as far as Thyangboche and then decide I should have gone further. More later on my updated itinerary.

And the final change – as I’m now committing myself to pushing my physical and mental endurance to its fullest extent I’ve decided to do it for a good cause. I’m hoping to raise a few dollars (or pounds, or euros or whatever currency you work in) and would really appreciate your support.

The charity that I’ve chosen to support is Plan, one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world who work in developing countries to empower communities to overcome poverty, and to protect and promote child rights. More specifically I will be donating any money raised to the Because I am a Girl campaign.

With society placing a lower priority on educating girls than on educating boys, one in three girls in the world are denied the education that we take for granted, less than half of girls in developing countries complete primary school.

Girls are more often expected to stay home and help with domestic work and, with financial concerns an issue in poorer communities, it is the boys who take priority when it comes to education.

Over 10 million girls under 18 years old are forced into marriage each year with 1 in 7 married before they are 15, putting an end to any possibility of completing their education.

I have two daughters and two granddaughters who, with myself and all the other girls in my family, have been lucky enough to live in a western country where, generally speaking, girls are not disadvantaged simply because of their gender.

We can afford to live in relative comfort, not only do we have enough to eat but we also have the luxury of occasionally being able to eat out at restaurants and we regularly throw out left over food. We can afford to live in houses or apartments with a washing machine, a dishwasher and a flat screen T.V. We have gadgets and swimming pools and we travel.

We are well educated and encouraged by friends and family to succeed in whatever we choose to do.

And we do have a choice. So many girls in the world don’t.

Your support for this cause would really be appreciated and you can do so by checking out the donate button on my blog header or go straight to

http://fundraise.plan.org.au/travellingbag

Every little bit helps and it will spur me on my way as I train – quite vigorously I might add – for one of the biggest challenges in my life 🙂

Note: Base Camp photo courtesy of National Geographic.