Kamal Shah is a managing partner from Grant Thornton in Kenya. He’s also a keen hiker. In 2017, a trip to Mount Kenya inspired him so much that he wanted his colleagues to share the experience.
The following year, he organised a sponsored hike up Lenana, Mount Kenya’s third highest peak. And alongside colleagues and with the support of clients, he raised $50,000 to build a much-needed dormitory at Katani DEB Secondary School.
This is the team’s story.
“When I came back from my climb up Mount Kenya, I couldn’t stop talking about it. It was a great journey, and I wanted my Grant Thornton family to share it with me. Then Newton and Samuel, our CSR champion and sponsor, gave me a brilliant idea: why don’t we arrange a climb for colleagues and give it a higher purpose?
Our first thought was to raise enough money to build a school. So, we talked to the Amara Charitable Trust, who do a lot of work in the region. They suggested building a dormitory at Katani Secondary School. Most of Katani’s students face a 15km walk every day, just to get to school. And when they get home, there’s no guarantee their parents will let them go back. Lots of families encourage their kids to miss classes if they can earn money on construction sites instead. If we could build a dormitory, we’d save students hours of walking and help them stay in school for longer.
Once we’d agreed our purpose, we spread the word at our East Africa meeting. That’s when Jay Ramesh, managing partner of our Botswana firm, Hisham Farouk, CEO of Grant Thornton UAE, and many of our colleagues from Botswana, Uganda and the UAE agreed to join our cause.
A team of 42 in total, we were ready to raise money, work together and climb Lenana, Mount Kenya’s third highest peak.
Our clients’ support was overwhelming, too. Together, we raised $50,000. Now, that money’s with the Amara Charitable Trust, who are building the dormitory. The work should be finished by the end of March 2019. It’ll be a great moment for the school, the local community and everyone in our Grant Thornton family who worked together to make it happen. It’s a reminder that we can achieve anything with the right focus.”
“It was a three-night, four-day journey over 55km. When we got to the top, at just over 5,000 metres, we were truly on top of the world.”
Jay Ramesh, Regional head – Africa, network capability team, GTIL
“Being on the mountain reminded me how connected we are, and how much we support each other to achieve our goals and ambitions. It’s a lesson I’m taking back to my teams.”
Hisham Farouk, CEO, Grant Thornton UAE
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