Siddharth Singh, Tarush Harris, Mihir Kansal, Aryaman Verma, Jasmeher Singh, Rahul Rao and William Joseph, students from grade 9 & 10 of Indus International School, Bangalore displayed a major feat – summiting the highest peak in the African Continent, Mount Kilimanjaro. Mount Kilimanjaro is also the tallest free standing mountain in the world and stands at an imperious height of 19,336 feet. Says Tarush from Grade 10 “The minute I set foot on the peak, I broke down….at that moment, I felt all the effort that I had put into this endeavor was worth it. I felt, honoured and proud that life had presented me with such an opportunity. It was indeed one of the greatest moments of my life.” Says Mihir from Grade 10 who was the first student to set foot on the peak “Since I have been a child, I love doing “adrenaline boosting” activities, hence my dream is to pursue extreme sports when I grow up. My goal is to scale 7 highest peaks in 7 continents and this was one step towards realizing my dream. My joy knew no bounds, when I was given this incredible opportunity. I felt extremely proud and elated that in spite of several challenges…. I had reached my goal.”
“Leaders emerge in times of challenges, chaos and confusion, they shine in times of tests and tribulations” says Captain Mohit, the expedition-in-charge. Captain Mohit is also a trainer at the Indus School of Leadership, an in-house training institute of Indus International School. The main objective of this institute is to impart experiential leadership training to students. Through outward-bound sessions competencies such as risk-taking, problem solving, resilience and self-reliance is developed in students. Organization of the trip to Mount Kilimanjaro was one such endeavor under this umbrella. Says Rahul Rao, grade 9 who plans to become an astrophysicist “This experience taught me that I was capable of overcoming pain… I became more self-reliant and independent in the process because in the wilderness, you don’t have any gadgets or any tools, the environment pushes you to help yourself.” Mihir adds “Today I understand the culture of another continent. I learnt to respect my fellow mountaineers and not judge them for anything. I have become very open on account of this experience.”
Says Mrs. Sarojini Rao, Principal, Indus International School, Bangalore “Indus believes in Preparing students for life. By providing them with such opportunities, we seek to inspire and motivate them to face challenging situations in life. By facing these challenging situations students develop leadership competencies which equips them to address life’s challenges in the 21st century.”
The ten days expedition, ‘Peak to Lead’, was conducted from 24 Sep to 03 Oct 2016 when a team of seven students summited the peak on 29 Sep after a long and exhausting trek of 36 km through Marangu route. During the trek students were exposed to different types of terrain and the flora and fauna of Kilimanjaro National Park. The first night halt was at Mandara Hut (2,725m) amid rich rainforest followed by two-night rest and acclimatization at Horombu hut (3,780m) nestled in grasslands. On 28 Sep the team moved to Kibo Hut (4,730m) through alpine deserts and after a rest for few hours left towards the final lap of their journey, the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The last lap of 6 kilometres was a steep climb which challenged the climbers both physically and psychologically. After a spirited struggle for 6-7 hours, the young team finally conquered the peak. The peak is located on the rim of a dormant volcano with breath-taking views of the crater in the center and huge glaciers on the periphery.