Team of 8 to conquer Kilimanjaro to change lives

Amar Mistry and seven of his friends are taking on Mount Kilimanjaro this August. It will be their first time climbing such a high peak so the group are really pushing themselves with this challenge. Amar, one of our lenders, introduced his friends to Deki and the team are keeping their motivations high by raising money for Deki. We found out what made Amar want to take on Kilimanjaro, how the team are busy preparing and why he loves lending.

When did you first hear about Deki and what interested you about us?
I came across Deki at a stall in Bristol last summer!  I really like the idea and at the time was already lending through Kiva.  After speaking with the team, Deki felt a lot more intimate and much more approachable.  

I love the concept of microfinance for development – I feel it’s a really sustainable way to develop and not just a handout that is forgotten about. 

Why did you decide to take on such a challenge? Have you ever done anything like this before?
I’m not a hiker at all, and originally I was set to visit Zanzibar for a friend’s wedding, when I saw the flight prices, I thought to myself – If I’m going that far I may as well make the most of it!

After some research and my plan was confirmed!  When recruiting the rest of the team (8 of us in total) we talked about fundraising and I suggested Deki.  A lot of us work with entrepreneurs so it fits in more ways than one! 

Last year I recruited another team and we ran the Manchester Marathon for an up and coming wheelchair tennis star.  It was great to run and train together, get fit and also raise money for a good cause!  I wanted to recreate this again – this time instead of 26.2 miles, its almost 6,000 metres up! 

How are you and your team preparing for the climb? How much time has gone into training?
With just under two months left probably not as much as we should have!  A few of us have climbing walks planned, Snowden, a separate 3 peaks and other long walks planned.  

But we’re all generally fit with keen runners, footballers, cyclists, and gym goers amongst us.  It’s very difficult to prepare for the altitude sickness so it’s just a matter of getting used to the gear we’ll be using and ensuring our general fitness won’t be an issue. There is loads on the internet and loads of books on Kilimanjaro, so reading up helps us get prepped mentally as well. 

What will be the toughest bit? How will you keep the team’s spirit up?
I think the toughest part will be the final two days, I imagine altitude will be rearing its ugly head as well as any fatigue that we’ve acquired from camping out and long days walking.  

Keeping spirits up will be paramount, but we’ll be planning some games, story-telling, and a special soundtrack.  There are a few big characters in the group that we’ll be relying on when energy levels are low – but it will have to be a group effort.  This is a huge feat that 1 in 4 don’t complete, we’re going to have to be really strong as a team for everybody to make it to the top!

You’re a committed Deki lender. Why do you love lending?
I enjoy reading the profiles of entrepreneurs that are looking for a way to improve their standard of living.  They aren’t asking for a donation, it’s just a chance they need.  I love the concept of giving somebody a chance – and feel as though it’s a way to give to a good cause that is transparent and direct.  I like knowing where the money is going, who its helping and most of all knowing that after some time it can be relent to help somebody else!  

How did you describe Deki to your fellow climbers/teammates?
I described Deki as a microfinance charity that helps people lend to entrepreneurs in a sustainable way.  I explained that 100% of the money goes to the entrepreneur and they work very closely with their local partners and as a small and relatively young charity – the fundraising would be more important for them. 

To support Amar & co on their challenge head to their JustGiving page.

Looking to challenge yourself and your friends? Inspired by Amar to provide opportunity rather than poverty to entrepreneurs and their families? Email our Fundraising Manager Rowan on to find out how you can fundraise for Deki!