Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Four bankers and a mountain

Four UAE banking professionals will climb Africa's highest mountain — Mt Kilimanjaro — for a children's charity cause

through GULF NEWS
DUBAI: Four UAE banking professionals will climb Africa's highest mountain — Mt Kilimanjaro — for a children's charity cause.

They will be joined by four others from other Gulf countries and are expected to reach the summit on February 10.

Sundar Parthasarathy, 41, Dinesh Pai, 41, Gopal Iyer, 41, and Vemuri Srinivas, 38, hope to improve the lives of underprivileged children in India through the non-profit institution - CRY (Child Rights and You).

Speaking to XPRESS, Vemuri said: "We have asked CRY to create an online link on our climb so that people can directly donate their money to CRY. The payments will go through a secured payment mode.

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"There are multiple causes that CRY supports; however, we wanted to focus on education. We will strive to empower needy children in India through CRY."

Sundar said the bankers have set a minimum target to collect around Dh36,000 (Rs500,000) which they feel will be easy to achieve. What will be tough, however, is the uphill challenge awaiting these men.
Except for Gopal who has trekked to the Everest Base Camp in May 2010 (among other mountain treks), his team-mates will be on a major mountain mission for the first time.

Gopal said: "I have done other climbs, including the Thorang La Pass in Nepal (5,416 metres) and the Gangotri-Gomukh-Tapovan (4,460 metres). For me the Kilimanjaro will be easier to trek."

To prepare for the task ahead, the bankers have been doing dry runs in the mountains of the UAE. "We climbed Jebel Hafeet with a 10kg backpack. It helped us gauge our physical and mental fitness," Sundar said.

The banking executives have pitched in Dh15,000 each to cover the cost of the expedition.

The team will fly to Nairobi from Dubai on February 2 and take a domestic flight to Arusha in Kilimanjaro, set at 1,400 metres.

Dinesh said: "Mt Kilimanjaro will be a challenge. Without prior mountaineering experience it probably will be stupid to climb, but it will be even more stupid not to attempt it."


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