Kyila was raised in a remote village on the Tibetan plateau. Her father, her twin brothers and Kyila were all born blind. Villagers believed that the family were cursed. “Children didn’t want to play with us,” Kyila says, “adults would throw old food on our doorstep.” Today Kyila is the founder and principle of the first integrative kindergarten in China.
Here she teaches blind and sighted children to become confident, critical and alert little thinkers. “I want to prove that blindness is not a punishment! I am educated, I have travelled the world and I am the richest woman in my village, and this because I am blind.”
Intrepid’s Susan English has seen the world’s 3 biggest waterfalls, swam in the 3 biggest oceans and climbed the highest peaks in Australia, South East Asia and Africa. But she was obsessed with one niggling omission on her bucket list and for that she had to travel to Africa…
“My quest? To tick off the ‘Big Five’. Even though I’m not a fan of the term, since it’s a throwback to days when these animals were the hardest to hunt on foot, I was desperate to see lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros in the wild. Imagine watching a lion patiently stalk its prey, or seeing our planet’s largest land mammal foraging for food and snapping tree trunks like toothpicks!
Emanuel ran away from home when he was just 11 years old. He was living in Northern Tanzania. His parents divorced when he was young and when his father remarried support stopped for Emanuel, his sister and their mother. To try to make ends meet, Emanuel’s mother would send the children to the street to beg, while she took up with various men. One long-term boyfriend was an alcoholic and beat Emanuel frequently. In 2009 Emanuel fled.
Emanuel was homeless for 6 months before coming to Amani Children’s Home. When he arrived, he could not read or write, but Emanuel proved to be bright and eager to learn. He is well-organised and meticulous with his school work and now, after 2 years in Amani’s program, he’s preparing to enter Grade 4.
Charley Boorman is an obsessed travel adventurer who is known around the world for undertaking epic, continent-spanning journeys. With his friend, Ewan McGregor, he has travelled overland by motorbike from London to New York, via Europe and Asia for the award-winning series Long Way Round and from John O’Groats in Scotland to Cape Town for Long Way Down.
He has taken part in the Dakar Rally, one of the most demanding and dangerous motor races in the world, and travelled solo from Ireland to Australia using whatever mode of transport he could find for By Any Means. He travelled from Sydney to Tokyo for By Any Means 2.
Up until a couple of years ago, most children aged between three and five in rural villages in Laos were not attending preschool. This was largely due to the lack of facilities, trained teachers and learning materials, but also because most parents in rural Laos didn’t understand the importance of early childhood education for children.
Education is a key pathway to breaking the cycle of poverty. As one of the least developed countries in the world, Plan, with the support of SAMA, is working in northern Laos to provide children aged 0-8 years with support for their development. This is being done through education for parents on health, early stimulation and learning, access to quality formal and informal preschool services, as well as school readiness for older children.
Last week Intrepid had an extremely loud and fun night for its long term staff – 20 people who each have over 10 years of service gathered in Melbourne, Australia, for an unbelievably noisy dinner (this lot can talk!). Co-founders, Darrell Wade and Geoff ‘Manch’ Manchester, also made the second induction into the Intrepid Hall of Fame, recognising Sally Goldstraw for her valuable contribution.
In late January, when the 19th Egyptian Marathon took place in Luxor, one special entrant caused some surprise and consternation. In fact the policeman at the car park said that young Felix wasn’t allowed.
After much negotiation by Felix’s companion, Kim, he was able to proceed and win hearts along the way. You see Felix is an orphan and resident of Animal Care in Egypt (ACE). That’s right, Felix is a donkey!
Bryceson Hassan Kimali was one of PEAK East Africa’s long-serving cooks and a much-loved member of the team working on East African and South African trips. He was born on 22 February, 1964, in Arusha, Tanzania. He joined PEAK East Africa Limited, when it was then known as Guerba Kenya Limited, in 1996 as a cook, a role that also doubles as a Camp Master.
We are thrilled that Intrepid’s Dheeraj ‘Monty’ Bhatt is a finalist for the prestigious Wanderlust World Guide Awards 2012. This is the fifth year that Intrepid group leaders have either won or been shortlisted for the accolade of world’s best tour guide.
Monty follows in the footsteps of Bruno Dawsan, Intrepid’s guide in Sri Lanka who received gold in the 2011 awards and bronze in 2010. Tejendra Singh took the bronze award in 2009 and Esam Abd El Salam from Egypt won the gold award in 2008.
With 53,000,000 girls in developing countries being denied access to primary school, there’s no prize for guessing what type of future lies ahead for most of these young women. Gender inequality remains a massive issue, so Intrepid has partnered with Plan for project SAMA. Our aim is to bridge the gender gap through education and our first focus is establishing parenting and community learning groups in up to 45 villages in Laos.
Plan has had encouraging results with other programmes that instil gender equality at an early age and their initiative in El Salvador is an example of how education early in life is a great foundation for a more equal and violence-free society…