Sunday, June 16

Santa and Elves to climb Mount Kinabalu

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KOTA KINABALU: A staff team from the UK charity, Raleigh Borneo, will attempt to climb Mount Kinabalu to raise funds for their Host Country Venturer Programme on December 13 and 14.

In conjunction with the festive season and to encourage donors, they will be scaling the mountain with added charm – one climber will be dressed as Santa Claus and the rest will be dressed as elves.

So far the event has raised over RM10,000, but Raleigh Borneo is still RM50,000 away from its target.

“The current amount raised will help fund just two Malaysians for 2011,” explains Raleigh Borneo’s Recruitment, Support and Media Coordinator, Yolanda Graham.

“We’re hoping to raise enough to fund 10 Malaysians.”

Yolanda will be one of the elves ascending Mount Kinabalu.

With a permanent base in Kota Kinabalu, Raleigh expeditions have been run in Malaysia since 2002. The organisation has been helping rural poor Sabahan communities by building basic necessities such as gravity water feed systems, kindergartens and community halls.

Their projects also include environmental conservation missions within the state, such as helping build the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok and building infrastructure to enable scientific research in various environmentally protected sections in Sabah.

To date, about 3,000 volunteers from around the world have come to Sabah to complete almost a hundred projects that have benefitted the State.

However, their focus is with helping youths discover their abilities and develop confidence. The work they do to benefit communities and environments around the world is an added bonus.

In 2007, Dr Simon Beames from Edinburgh University and Dr Tim Scott from Liverpool John Moores University assessed the impact of a Raleigh expedition on individuals. Their findings were that participants improved in several areas: confidence in dealing with people from different cultures and countries, mental resilience to succeed in discouraging times, self awareness, preparedness to influence group situations and ability to plan and lead group project.

“In short, our challenging and purposeful expeditions help make better citizens. And better citizens make a better country,” Graham summarised.

Donors who have made a contribution to their event so far include Borneo Divers, Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort, Popular Express and JR Pharmacy. Sutera Sanctuary Lodges too, have offered lower accommodation fees for their climbers and Sabah Parks has waived entrance and permit fees.

“We are so pleased with encouragement so far. It shows that people are aware of our efforts and believe in our work. We hope more donors will come forward to support our youths and ultimately, contribute to the good work throughout the State,” said Graham.

To make a contribution, contact Raleigh Borneo at [email protected] or call 013 8802134.