A wife, mother of four, and businesswoman involved in software development, recruitment and skills development. I am also blessed to be involved in the Malka Ella Fertility Fund, a fund that assists Jewish couples struggling with fertility issues both financially and emotionally. Our endeavour is to bring dreams to life. I am passionate about this cause feel so grateful that I can be a part of such meaningful and inspirational work.
My quest recently has been to get out of the comfort zone I found myself in as I near a half century! As part of this was the aim to become more healthy, fit and energetic. So, what started out as a running school group with a bunch of women who between them all had barely run one kilometre we have pushed each other on to achieve so much more than we thought we were capable of. And I found myself drawn to the challenge of Kilimanjaro. To empower myself, to reach goals that seem so distant to most of us, and to prove to myself that I can achieve something extraordinary. And more importantly for me, is that I can give back by doing something for myself, I love this sense of balance and feel so motivated with the challenge of changing other women's lives at the same time I'm changing mine! There's no looking back .....
I am a 22-year old Tanzanian living in South Africa. As my name implies, I am from the town of Moshi, and my village rests on the slopes of Kilimanjaro.
When I was four years old, we moved from Tanzania to Botswana, Zimbabwe, and eventually to Papua New Guinea, where we settled for the past 12 years. My family made a point of returning to Tanzania to visit our relatives every Christmas. As we approached Moshi, the mountain loomed dark and large ahead of us, and I would gaze disquietly at its hulking form. Kilimanjaro occupied the back of my mind, like some silent spirit, waiting to be addressed.
Years passed and the mountain and I never spoke. For a brief moment when I was 12, I ascended to the first hut, which lay slightly higher than my village. The contact awakened a in me a desire to better understand Kilimanjaro.
For me, Mount Kilimanjaro embodies an intimate knowledge of the beauty, difficulty, and purity of effort that is Tanzania. If only I could reach it, I would truly comprehend my country.
I met the rest of the climbers a mere one and a half months before the trip. It was a serendipitous encounter; we were connected through a mutual acquaintance. Our acquaintance mentioned to me that a group of ladies were about to summit Kilimanjaro, and I just knew that I had to meet them. One day in mid-June, I wandered timidly into the halls of Ort SA to introduce myself to the team leader, Robyn Smookler.
Ort Jet was hosting a press conference on that day, and the entire venue was bustling with preparation. Amidst the motion, Robyn sat with me and talked about the reason for the climb. We discussed topics ranging from teaching, women’s empowerment, and my great Grandfather, who was a village Chief in Moshi. After our conversation I felt more at home than ever.
That same day I met the rest of the team, and I began to appreciate just how much I could learn by undertaking this climb with them. I met Ort Jet at a period in my life when I was searching for something more - trying to reach further than what I am, to what I can be. When I saw this group of women, I recognized kindred spirits.
Mount Kilimanjaro has been waiting for us. It has stories to tell, and lessons to teach. Perhaps I was never ready to hear the mountain until this moment. Finally, I begin to stretch my muscles, to stretch my vision. As the ladies say: The mountain won’t get any smaller, but I can grow bigger.
Tali Frankel is a 35 year old wife to Darryl, and mother to three beautiful children – her sons 9 year old Dani and 6 year old Amit and 3 year old daughter Amalia. She obtained her PhD in Speech therapy in 2008 in the area of stroke and the impact of the ensuing language and communication difficulties on conversation. She has worked as a clinical tutor and lecturer in the Speech Pathology department at Wits University and has enjoyed sharing her research in published journal articles and both local and international conferences. She currently works in private practice where her clients range from age 2 – 92 years. Tali has a keen interest in food – a legacy gifted to her from her grandmother, chef Gloria Rootshtain and loves entertaining friends and family around tables filled with abundance and conversation. She is passionate about her community, serving as Chairperson of the Sydenham Shtibl and sits on the Sydenham Shul council. She believes that as women we have a powerful connection to each other and a responsibility to care for one another. She feels proud and privileged to be counted among this courageous group of women who are challenging their own barriers in order to uplift, inspire and empower fellow sisters across all our shared communities.
I've always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro but, being a mother of two I thought that my days of adventure were over or at least needed to be put on hold.
That all changed when at a shabbas lunch I met someone who wanted to organise a group of women to climb Kilimanjaro.....What? Other Jewish moms who wanted adventure? Other Jewish moms petrified but willing to leave their families to achieve this unbelievable task? I couldn't say no.
All I needed now was a sista to share it with, and that sista just happened to be my sister...she agreed on the spot....
Eleanor Roosevelt said,"Do one thing that scares you every day." If this was the last thing I was ever going to do, would I still do it?
Gandhi said,"Action expresses priorities" and Abraham Lincoln said,"It's not the years in your life that count but the life in your years." The adventure of climbing Kilimanjaro embodies the words of these great leaders.To strive for a life filled with ambition and excitement, scaling the peaks of mountains and life itself, leaving no stone unturned as we journey to our greatest heights, challenging both the physical and spiritual elements that we embody. It's a great oppertunity for the Jewish women of South africa, for me and my sister to scale these amazing heights and never regret not having done the things we so wanted to do!
Rebbetzin Kanievsky personally told me to try to live by the ways as instructed in the Ramban’s Letter and to extend myself and thereby learn and grow. Since 2008, I have been truly inspired to learn these ways and adopt and implement them into my life so that myself and my family may benefit from the results. For me the pivotal sentence is “Thus I shall explain to you how you may accustom
yourself to the quality of humility, to walk with it always.” After emotionally navigating Poland with Mizrachi last year, I am viewing Kilimanjaro as my physical challenge. Training for “the climb” brings with it many obstacles for which, hopefully I have acquired the tools to overcome. I am an extremely positive person and I know that I will be guided every-step of the way. I am very excited and have a solid support system which ranges from my husband and children, mother, sisters and all the “Goldies” that I work with at Sandringham Gardens – even if they think I’m crazy!!!
After completing my undergraduate BSc degree in Actuarial Science and Statistics, and then an Honours degree in Advanced Maths of Finance, I did not follow my fellow grads into the working world in South Africa. I packed up my bags and started my adventures. I headed to London on a 2 year working holiday visa, and before I knew it I had been sponsored to stay in the UK on a work permit – what should have only been a short stint out of my “routine” or “life-plan”, turned out to be four and a half years in a country in which I have no family, but created a whole new network, a place where the sun rarely shines but I did find the hidden warmth. While living in London, I worked in two of the world’s biggest banks, I frequented the west end theatres including standing in lines for last minute tickets, I supported sports teams in stadiums next to crazy hooligans, I travelled to more cities than I can remember or pronounce, boarded planes and trains and have all the memories (and photos) to go with this. And just when my life seemed settled, I resigned from work, left my flat and bid farewell to my new community. Next stop was Israel where I studied in a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem for a few months. I was planning on staying in Israel and finding a job but somehow my path brought me back to Joburg. So here I am, working at Absa Capital while at the same time trying to figure out exactly what my life’s goals are, and what I can do, in any possible way, to positively influence the world.
In the Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, he says that “the possibility of having a dream come true is what makes life interesting” and I was reminded of this when I came across an old message that I sent to someone exactly 5 years ago, May 2007, stating that I would love to climb Kilimanjaro but only time and money are holding me back.
I don’t remember when I first wanted to climb – I just know that for as far as I can remember first hearing about this tallest mountain in Africa, I have always
wanted to reach the top; perhaps it is the challenge of conquering one of the highest peaks in the world, maybe it is the physical challenge or it could also be that this is another adventure to experience in this world of ours.
At the same time, I don’t remember when I first heard about the women’s Kilimanjaro group – I just remember committing from the word go, paying my deposit and
buying my boots before we even had a final group. But, I do know what is keeping me going – not only the dream of reaching the top, of actualising a goal but even more importantly, is working together as a team, feeding off each other and wanting to assist each other in achieving all of our goals, and at the same time raising money to empower others to create and work towards goals.
My journey continues...
Daphna is an Executive and Leadership coach and the founder of PEAC Solutions. PEAC Solutions is an innovative, dynamic company that provides customised solutions to maximise leadership impact and potential. These include one-on-one Personal & Executive Coaching, Team Coaching, Workshops, Group Facilitation and Motivational Speaking. Daphna is known as the ‘catalyst coach’ who partners with leaders to create shifts in their thinking for maximum impact and quality of life. Having experienced a major career change, from Actuary to Executive Coach, Daphna is passionate about working with motivated, self-driven leaders to enhance their performance and, at the same time, improve their sense of fulfilment. This is achieved through a process of challenging thinking and behaviours to maximise leadership potential combined with personal development. This leads to her clients achieving results and fulfilment far beyond their expectations.
Climbing Kilimanjaro has been on Daphna’s bucket list for a long time as a challenge she would like to achieve. She believes that it will be a journey of courage, spirituality, fulfilment and inspiration. She is particularly excited to be climbing in support of the Women Empowerment Division of ORTJET to inspire and encourage women all over South Africa to know that they can achieve any dream they set their hearts and minds on.
Rahima has worked at the Revenue Authority for 9 of her 14 employable years. She does so for her passion for the subject – taxation – but more importantly because in this way she feels she gives back to the South African community at large. She considers herself blessed to be able to live one of her passions, get paid to do so and, at the same time, make a difference to someone else’s life. She recognises that there are not many people who can say this – for the mountains they must climb.
Climbing Kili is not a bucket list item for her. She is inspired to make this particular climb because of what it represents and what it aims to achieve – a better life for all who live in South Africa; and what better way than through facilitating the education of some, even if it’s just one.
I am a daughter, a sister, a wife. I was born in Joburg, but grew up in Cape Town (one of the greatest cities in the world)! I love to travel, I love being outside, I love to sing. I appreciate the simple pleasures in life. I am a bit of a foodie. I value spending time with the people I love. I am a structural engineer by training, and work at Arup as a Buildings Sustainability consultant.
So why did I join the Kili Tribe?
The world is a completely fascinating place. I have always loved the exploration, the refreshment that comes with a new destination. Part of the reason I have joined this campaign is for the adventure, that-thing-you-tell-your-grandkids. Part of the reason is practical, “if not now (when it’s perfectly scheduled in my life), then when?”. Part of it is for the joie de vivre. To fuel my soul and my love for the interesting, the diverse. That which reminds me how unbelievably awe-inspiring the world is, in both its vastness and its detail. But a really big part of it, is the knowledge that this climb is not just a climb. It is a campaign to honour the everyday mountains so many around us have to battle, to offer a leg-up to those who have such steep climbs to conquer. It’s an opportunity to put my energy behind a truly worthwhile project that will provide so many with a foundation for sustainable and dignified self-reliance. It’s an opportunity to be a part of something incredible, something that makes a 5,900m (??) climb so much higher, and so much bigger.
I have always believed that if you spend too much time thinking about something, you'll never get it done. So when my sister, Jena (who has always dreamed of summiting Kilimanjaro), mentioned that she wanted to join a women’s tour that was climbing the mountain for an admirable cause, the decision was made for both of us before she could even finish telling me all the details.
There are many big decisions that I have made in the past without too much thought; seeing a movie without having seen the trailer, choosing flats over heels and even using a hairdresser that I have never heard of (not recommended), but I felt like I had taken it up a notch with decision to join the tour. Once the boots had been bought there was no turning back and it was time that did a little research into what I had just agreed to do.
My research led me to some fun facts about the mountain. It was pleasing to learn that according to google, some of the camps on the mountain actually serve alcohol, but more encouraging still to find out that in 2009, eight blind climbers made it to the top of the mountain and Bernard Goosen has scaled the mountain in a wheelchair, twice. Acquiring this information, not only confirmed that I had made the right decision but inspired me to embrace the challenge that lies ahead.
A sister is someone who shares your childhood memories and your grown-up dreams and I am truly blessed and excited that I can share this dream with my favourite sister.
Name: Siobhan Wilson
Employer: South African Revenue Service
Hobbies: Scuba diving, Rock climbing, Guitar, Reading, Gym, Creative projects
Qualities: Determined, adventurous, family orientated, curious, impatient, level-headed, sensitive, sincere, creative, indecisive, loyal, compassionate, analytical,
courageous, and open-minded.
What was the inspiration to do the climb and how I hope for it to enhance my life: The immediate reasons that came to mind were the obvious ones;
it’s an adventure, the physical and mental challenge, the opportunity to travel
and get to know the locals; the chance to share this experience with an amazing
group of women and to support a worthy cause.
When I thought about it, this is about so much more. A group of women climbing for a cause is not unique, but what happens along the way and the outcome, is. We can raise the money, empower women, educate ourselves and each other and build lasting friendships.
I hope that this journey helps me to be more humble, empathetic, and magnanimous and have a more positive outlook on life. I hope for spiritual growth, self-discovery and to be more appreciative of life’s simple pleasures.