The Kilimanjaro Porter Support Foundation was established in 2023 by the family Koehorst (located in Alkmaar, the Netherlands) after they completed their own climb to the summit of the Kilimanjaro, the previous year (2022). The climb itself was made possible by (so-called?) ‘porters’. They carry the tents, food and many more items up the mountain. A tough job and immense expedition.
The main target of the porters is to guide their foreign guests to the summit of the tallest mountain in all of Africa, in a safe and comfortable way.
But it can be better. And safer. Especially if you consider the working conditions of the porters. Per person, they carry over 20 kilograms/44 lbs up the mountain.
Even now many porters do not have the proper equipment necessary for the extreme circumstances they face while at work. And if they have equipment, it is often not the right size or offers insufficient protection. They wear shoes and use sleeping bags unfit for temperatures nearing -20 degrees celsius/-4 degrees fahrenheit, and do not have enough warm clothing.
These things come with great risks, for the porters themselves, and indirectly for the people whom they guide. But what other choice do they have? No climb means no income.
The proper equipment needed for the porters is oftentimes not available in Tanzania or much too expensive. They make about 10 Euro/11 US dollar a day. It is our goal to change this. Not all at once. And not immediately for everyone. In Tanzania they say “pole, pole”, step by step. At a slower pace.
We will start at the beginning and work our way forward together. With that idea in mind, did a team of friends build this foundation in 2022. With your help, we will be able to provide better working and living conditions, and a better future for the porters of the Kilimanjaro.
What are our goals?
We’ve set ourselves base goals to create a clear understanding of what we need to accomplish:
We will give counselling on the living and working conditions of the porters of the Kilimanjaro.
We will finance education and training for (the children of) the porters of the Kilimanjaro.
We will facilitate equipment for the porters of the Kilimanjaro.
Counselling and Guidance
Not everyone realises how fundamentally different the living and working conditions are for porters, in contrast to the conditions we may be used to. This is understandable, but exactly the reason why counselling is going to play an essential role in teaching others what needs to change. One way to implement counselling, for example, is within programmes of travel agencies.
Education and Training
A better future starts with education and training. If not for the current porters, then for their children and the porters through them. We aim to support English-based primary and secondary schools for the kids of porters. One less thing to worry about for the porters, an important educational foundation for the children. Education in the official language of Tanzania, Kiswahili, is free within the country. However, if you wish to have access to more promising jobs and a better income, an English-speaking start is necessary.
Right now, the proper equipment to safely climb the Kilimanjaro is barely available, and if available, often unpayable with the low salary of the porters. Especially for porters who are starting their careers and have not made any money yet to be able to afford necessities such as sturdy shoes or warm clothing. We will change this by supporting ‘gear shops’: local stores run by local entrepreneurs. A place, both for foreign guests aswell as porters, to rent or purchase reliable equipment for their journey.
At this very moment, a creative Tanzanian team is hard at work to create more plans and ideas with the ability to advance the foundation. Keep track of news updates on various social platforms, like our Instagram account, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for us to send you updates personally. You can also send us your own ideas, and we’ll get to work on them!