BY SEÁN P. FEENY
A YOUNG Donegal woman is heading for the Himalayas next month where she will trek to Everest Base Camp to raise funds for Suas Educational Development. Emer Henderson (25) from Letterkenny is joining a group of ten people who are climbing Everest Base Camp Trek in aid of the Irish-based charity Suas.
Emer has been training for the venture since she completed an internship with Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP at the European Parliament, Brussels, in May.
After completing her two-year research masters at NUI Galway in environmental geography Emer moved to Brussels where she did a training scheme in Energy Efficiency with the European Commission before joining Pat the Cope as an intern.
This is her first major fund-raising venture and she chose Suas who are dedicated to supporting education in under-resourced communities in India and Kenya.
“I have always been and outdoor-type, I enjoy hill-walking and climbing, so doing something like this has always been an ambition of mine. I had heard a lot of good things about the work Suas does during my time at NUI Galway and that’s why I chose to support them.
“They not only support education programmes in India and Kenya, they also send a lot of volunteers to this places to help in under-resourced communities.”
Emer said of course going to base camp will be a great adventure, but the main focus is that it is for charity and every penny that is fund-raised from this trek by her will go directly towards supporting education projects in Kenya and India.
“This is the first time I am doing such a big fund-raising venture and I have learned a lot from doing it, you don’t realise how much you are taking on, but it’s been great all together.”
Emer’s aim is to raise a sum total of €1,500 which will all go towards Suas. “I am almost two thirds there, so I am absolutely delighted.
“I think that one of the main reasons people have been so forthcoming is that I am paying all my own expenses and the money they donate is going directly to Suas.”
Climbing to base camp is no mean feat and so Emer has been training hard for the past few months getting in a lot of hill-walking and climbing – but she hasn’t been on her own, Emer has ‘dragged’ her sisters Áine and Shauna along with her most weekends.
“I’ve been doing a lot of training doing Errigal and Muckish several times and I keep dragging my sisters up different mountains at the weekends,” she laughed.
“We also have team building weekends with Suas; we’ve been to Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains and we’re going to the Mourne Mountains in County Down next.”
Arriving in Kathmandu along with the nine other Suas volunteers, Emer’s trek will take 21 days and it is over 120km round trip. Emer will be hiking four to ten hours a day, at elevations ranging from 9,318 feet to a maximum of 18,176 feet.
Please visit Emer’s online charity page to read more about Suas and how to sponsor her on-line. www.mycharity.ie/event/emer_hendersons_event
Suas is an ambitious, education-focused social change organisation that supports programmes in Ireland, India & Kenya.
Founded in 2002, Suas has grown quickly to become a leading mid-size organisation in development within Ireland. The organisation employs fourteen full-time staff, with an annual budget of over €1M.
Suas promotes quality education for all by providing short-term volunteers, financial and technical support to our Partner schools in India & Kenya. In Ireland they support young adults to engage with social change through service-learning programmes, thereby developing their team and leadership skills.
Suas is also developing a mentoring programme and a new educational model for Transition Year students to provide project and team-based approaches to learning.
Suas view education as key to social transformation – change education and you change the world.
Key issues are not just about access but also quality – helping children and young people to go beyond the 3Rs (reading, writing, arithmetic) to realising their full potential to enable them to positively shape their futures and that of their communities and countries.