A celebration of courage

Eco-Access, a non-profit organisation, has launched an exciting new project which aims to get a group of disabled children to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The “Make it Happen” Campaign was launched at Eco-Access’s Annual Gala Dinner in September and will be timed for Youth Day, 16 June 2006 in remembrance of the Soweto Riots of 1976.

A group of disabled youngsters will twin with able-bodied 30-year-olds born in 1976 to climb Africa’s highest mountain. Local celebrity and Idols presenter Colin Moss, who was born in 1976, has pledged his support to the project.

Rob Filmer, a nature conservationist and founder member of Eco Access, lost his sight as a result of diabetes. He said that many could be sceptical about a successful Kilimanjaro summit but the plan that was launched at the gala dinner will demonstrate disabled people’s abilities, guts and determination that the ‘76 students were known for. Since its inception in 1994 Eco-Access has worked to bring together disabled and non-disabled youngsters on nature programmes in order to teach respect for themselves, for others and for our environment.

During the gala dinner The Rob and Julie Filmer Award was presented to Chris Patton from SAN Parks. The award is presented annually to an organisation or individual who has significantly contributed to including disabled people into our environment and society. Chris, a physically disabled environmentalist, is instrumental in working towards ensuring that our South African National Parks are accessible to all people, including people with disabilities.

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