Children of Fire
Debonnaires Pizza - kids love it. Oct 2009 - post-Drakensberg feast
Hoola hooping kids at 58, October 2009
Post-Kilimanjaro trip climbers at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha
Kilimanjaro July 2007 Kilimanjaro trip a success
Kilimanjaro June 2007 teenage burns survivors trip
On Monday evening, 25th June 2007, the 19 intrepid climbers from community safety charity Children of Fire reached Machame camp on Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, three thousand metres above sea level. For many, they had just had their first-ever aeroplane flight, their first-ever trip beyond South Africa’s borders and their first-ever night in a hotel, before the climb began. With all these “firsts” notched on their belts, striding through tropical jungle for several hours was just “a walk in the (Tanzanian National) park”.
Many feared that Thulani Nhleko (15), who has had surgery at Johannesburg Academic Hospital on both of his feet this year, would not cope. So far his feet have not troubled him, but the hypertrophic scarring on his face that harbours infection so easily, required him to get antibiotics from a Tanzanian doctor before starting the ascent.
Beyond that, and one missing suitcase somewhere between Johannesburg, Nairobi and Arusha, everyone was in great shape and determined to succeed.
They had had motivational talks from Deyshun Deysel, the first black African woman to climb Everest (and of course, Kilimanjaro). They had clambered over the University of the Witwatersrand climbing wall. They had jogged with personal trainers from Ignition Health, the University of Venda and gyms in Bloemfontein and Pietermaritzburg. And Prof. Sid Setzer, the most experienced dentist in South Africa, had personally checked their teeth (though Gladstone broke his bridge on the day of departure – too late to fix it then!).
What began as a dream two years ago is now 3000 metres closer to reality. Gavin Bates of Irish mountaineering experts Adventure Alternative is leading the climb. He reports that all is well.
Fire fighters to Kilimanjaro
There are thirty years between them, a schoolboy and a man. Yet both do what they can to keep the people of eThekwini free from harm. They fight fires, cut open crashed cars, tear down shacks to stop blazes spreading. And now, shoulder to shoulder, they’ll climb to the peak of an extinct volcano to raise awareness of burns injuries that ravage this continent.
Gladstone Gcabashe (46) and Tristan Jones (16) are part of a team supporting the Children of Fire Kilimanjaro climb. After over-nighting in Clermont township, the Durban duo drove north last Wednesday to join the other climbers from across the country and even from Kenya and Norway.
They encouraged the teenage burns survivors to learn the basics of fire fighting at Brixton Training Academy (Johannesburg), where Tristan first did his training. Weaving through the smoke house, sliding through tunnels underground and extinguishing an oil pan blaze, tested their own ‘fear factor”. Gladstone is himself a paraffin burns survivor and could empathise with the youngsters who have survived similar ordeals. The link between injury and prevention highlights the importance of fire fighters’ work across the country – so vital now in midwinter when temperatures plummet and devastation soars.
And maybe just one reader who turns the page in a newspaper, hears a snippet on the radio or a soundbite on television, will think twice tonight. They’ll make a decision not to leave a child alone. They’ll make a decision to turn a dangerous stove off or to blow a candle out. They will take the very serious lesson to heart, of how quickly terrible injury occurs.
At the same time, they’ll see that those who survive can do anything – and then some.
This is the message of the Kilimanjaro climb. Physically or mentally, one armed or whole, people aspire to the greatest heights.
Other participants on the climb include teenagers burned by exploding paraffin stoves, fallen over candles, vehicles, electricity, imbawulas, assault and hot or flammable liquids. These injuries are all preventable but continuing public education and awareness is essential. That is why the media is such a vital ally.
By telling the stories of the climbers, injuries to others can be prevented in the future.
For details on Children of Fire, Africa’s first burns charity, see www.firechildren.org 011 726 6529
For information on a career in the fire brigade with eThekwini municipality or to arrange an interview with key personnel contact Finola Quarsingh on 031 311 2293/2279 or on 083 308 5336
Children of Fire is a charity that deals with the rehabilitation of burns survivors and far wider community safety issues, principally in the developing world.
To promote the work done by the charity and to empower survivors, the charity is organising a trip for some 17 burns survivors and long term volunteers to climb the highest peak in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, in June 2007. This past fortnight, most of them have had their Yellow Fever vaccinations and a fitness assessment at the biokinetics laboratory of the University of Johannesburg.
For the journey to take place, funds are still needed. The trip is an opportunity for our survivors to prove to themselves and will be of tremendous value in their long-term self-image and personal growth.
The climb will also raise awareness of means of injury prevention and of cure. An American film team is making a documentary about the climb.
Please read through the proposal attached and let us know if you would be able to assist. Donations may be paid to: Children of Fire: Cheque Acct: 62025852197
Branch code 25-65-05
The UK account details are on the website www.firechildren.org
Burn Survivors being considered for the Kilimanjaro trip:
Rose Wambua from Kenya
Christian Tchintcha from
Kilimanjaro kids - "Touching the Roof of Africa"
The anticipated schedule for the Teenage Burns Survivors' Kilimanjaro Climb in June 2007
23 June - fly to TZ, arrive same day, hotel Keys Annexe
24 June - Hotel, planning and briefing day for members, resting
25 June - Drive to Machame Gate, check in, walk to Machame Camp (3000m)
- 5 to 6 hours, tents
26 June - Walk to Shira Plateau at 3850m, 5-6 hours with picnic stop, camp
27 June - Walk to Barranco Hut at 3950m, 8 hours, via Lava Tower, picnic, camp
28 June - Walk to Karanga Valley at 3950m, 3 hours, camp
29 June - Walk to Barafu Hut at 4600m, 4 hours, camp
30 June - Summit starts at midnight, 8-10 hours ascent, 4-5 hours descent to
1 July - Walk to Mweka Gate, 4-5 hours descent, back to hotel
2 July - rest day
3 July - fly home
If you want to support our children , you can make a donation to us in the UK or in South Africa and please email us at email@example.com to say that you have made the donation, so that we know how much we have raised, and how far we still have to go.
account details for the climb: