Students plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for maternal health

Mountains+for+Moms+climbers+from+Cornell+University+pose+for+a+photo+at+the+summit+of+Mount+Kilimanjaro+in+January+2014.+A+team+of+Northwestern+students+is+scheduled+to+climb+the+mountain+in+August+2014.
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Students plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for maternal health

Mountains for Moms climbers from Cornell University pose for a photo at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2014. A team of Northwestern students is scheduled to climb the mountain in August 2014.

Mountains for Moms climbers from Cornell University pose for a photo at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2014. A team of Northwestern students is scheduled to climb the mountain in August 2014.

Source: Mountains For Moms Facebook page

Mountains for Moms climbers from Cornell University pose for a photo at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2014. A team of Northwestern students is scheduled to climb the mountain in August 2014.

Source: Mountains For Moms Facebook page

Source: Mountains For Moms Facebook page

Mountains for Moms climbers from Cornell University pose for a photo at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2014. A team of Northwestern students is scheduled to climb the mountain in August 2014.

Tyler Pager, Assistant Campus Editor

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Northwestern students are planning to climb Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro this summer to raise money and awareness for obstetric fistula, a disease affecting pregnant women.

The climbers, part of NU’s recently formed chapter of Mountains for Moms, hope to raise $19,341, the height of the mountain. While the climb will take about five days to six days, the group will stay in Tanzania for about two weeks. The students’ visit will include a trip to an obstetric fistula clinic. 

Obstetric fistula, a condition which results after a difficult or failed childbirth, creates a hole in the mother’s bladder, which leads to the bladder constantly leaking urine. The funds raised will be donated to Operation Fistula, a nonprofit organization, in order to allow women to get the surgery necessary to repair the damage. 

Mountains for Moms was started at Cornell University and also has a chapter at Dartmouth College. Weinberg junior Karina Kedo founded NU’s chapter this fall and will be leading the trip.

“I was literally walking to class down Sheridan Road and I was listening to a podcast where the guy who created this program was speaking as a guest on it, and then I just reached out to him just to pick his brain about some things, and it just developed from there,” Kedo said.

Kedo then began to reach out to other students who she thought would be interested and she said the response has been very positive. Applications to join the climbing team are open until Sunday, and Kedo said she hopes to have a team of 10-12 students.

Diego Henriquez-Garcia, co-president for the NU chapter, said he was interested in becoming involved in planning the trip because of the other student groups he is involved in, such as the Global Engagement Summit.

“I’m always looking for another opportunity to push it to the next level and bring it from being a part of a student organization and just going to meetings to actually trying to make some sort of impact,” the Weinberg sophomore said. “I thought this was an interesting way to also raise eyebrows. You tell people you’re climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and they ask, ‘why?'”

The Mountains for Moms’ executive board is currently finalizing the itinerary and working on fundraising strategies. Once the climbers are set, the team will meet throughout the year to work on fitness training and bonding activities. 

Cody Schiffer, the chapter’s other co-president, said he is most excited to visit the clinic in Tanzania.

“One of my favorite things about Dance Marathon is when the people come out, you actually get to see where your money is going,” the Weinberg sophomore said. “When we go to the clinic that’s the literal recipient of where all of our efforts and where all of our money is going. I think it’s a very sobering experience to realize what you’re doing is actually a real thing. You’re not just donating money to an invisible pocket.”

Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article misstated the fundraising goal. The group hopes to raise $19,341. The Daily regrets the error. 

Email: tylerpager2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @tylerpager

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