Toubkal Challenge: SiGMA Foundation is summiting new heights

Posted: May 11, 2023 11:30 Category: Africa, Events, SiGMA Foundation, Posted by Matthew Calleja

A group of 22 Maltese volunteers from the Sigma Foundation are embarking on a journey towards Morocco to conquer the highest peak of North Africa, Mount Toubkal.

SiGMA Foundation to conquer the peak of Toubkal

The SiGMA Foundation is on the way to Toubkal
CPO Keith Marshall (centre) among other trekkers during the SiGMA Foundation’s 4th Camino de Santiago challenge last April.

The climb up a mountain is more than just reaching the top; it’s about the journey as well. The Foundation’s approach to “active philanthropy,” espoused by the SiGMA Foundation’s Chief Philanthropy Officer Keith Marshall, is aimed at bringing about spiritual fulfilment and growth to all participants in addition to raising funds.

To prepare for the trek, for the past year, the Foundation has implemented a demanding training regimen that involves treks across Malta and Gozo. In the words of Keith himself, “God and grit will guide us up. The team is well-prepared to summit Toubkal. Rest assured, we’re going to make every step count.”

This isn’t the Foundation’s first mountain-climbing challenge. Keith had previously led the annual “Kilimanjaro Challenge” series, which began in 2004. The team had successfully reached the top of the highest free-standing mountain, scaling up to an altitude of 20,000 feet, and raising €1 million for various causes in Ethiopia and Kenya.

All the funds raised will be donated to the Women Empowerment Project in Bonga, Ethiopia.

With an elevation of 4,167 meters (13,671 feet), Toubkal stands as the tallest summit in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, North Africa, and the Arab-speaking nations.

The Catholic Vicariate of Jimma Bonga, Ethiopia, has partnered with the SiGMA Foundation to launch the Women Empowerment Project, an initiative aimed at creating positive change in the lives of women living in poverty in the region. The project will establish a state-of-the-art skill development centre, offering training in IT, culinary skills, hairdressing, sewing, and embroidery. This will empower women and help them acquire the skills necessary to secure gainful employment and financial independence.

The Women Empowerment Project aims to reduce migration, increase household income for families, and break the cycle of poverty in the region. It will support 500 women annually, primarily between the ages of 20 to 45 years, with an indirect benefit to more than 2,500 communities in the Bonga area annually. The project’s total beneficiaries will be 75% women and 25% men.

The Women Empowerment Project has an estimated cost of €710,321.67, with the SiGMA Foundation pledging €200,000 towards it. The Foundation will be hosting various fundraising events and collaborating with other partners who share the same vision to reach this goal. Anyone interested in contributing to this initiative is encouraged to join the efforts.

The project plans to name some sections after women who have recently lost their lives in Malta.

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