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Family footsteps . . . Mother and daughter team Alisha (17) and Heather Tripp are prepared to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for a family strengthening project in Uganda run by Orphans Aid International. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Climbing the highest mountain in Africa will be slightly different from family treks along the Routeburn Track for Heather and Alisha Tripp.

In fact, embarking on Mount Kilimanjaro will be nothing like anything the mother-daughter pair have ever experienced.

They will be climbing Kilimanjaro with Orphans Aid International, to celebrate 15 years of the organisation and raise $50,000 for a family strengthening programme in Uganda.

The has project raised more than $23,000 already.

The Tripps were joining 16 other people from New Zealand on the trek but there would be 50 support staff on the expedition, Mrs Tripp said.

The aim was to reach the summit within eight days.

“It will be a challenge with altitude sickness so we’ve got the extra days to give us a better chance,” she said.

Their route, the Lesmosho route, required an armed ranger because of the animals they could possibly encounter.

During the trip they would experience five different temperature zones which would add to the challenge.

Alisha (17), who was the youngest participant, could not wait for the happy feeling she would gain when she finished the tramp.

“It doesn’t seem real until I’m on that plane.

“I’m excited to see it with my own eyes and help make a difference,” she said.

The pair joined the gym, took up swimming and were walking around their farm in Kaiwera to prepare.

“The more training the easier it will be so I’m doing as much as I can,” Alisha said.

Mrs Tripp travelled to India and Thailand with her other daughter, Danielle, several years ago with another organisation.

She was excited to share the new adventure with Alisha, similar to how she had with Danielle.

“I’m really looking forward to the mother-daughter experience,” Mrs Tripp said.

She had supported Orphans Aid International for years and came across the trip at the start of the year.

“I was looking for what we could do this year and we pressed the yes button for this trip.

“It’s important to be involved.”

Organisation founder Sue van Schreven said the trip painted a metaphorical picture of what the past 15 years had involved.

“You have the highs and the lows.”

Her hope was to have all 16 participants standing at the summit together with a banner.

“It would be phenomenal,” she said.

Two climbers from Romania, who had been involved in the organisation since its inception, would be travelling to join the group.

Before climbing Kilimanjaro, the group would spend five days in Uganda visiting the project they would raise money for.

“It’s about working to keep people out of orphanages and keeping them with their families.

It gave them “the tools on how to help care for their children”, Mrs van Schreven said.

Some funds would also be given to projects in Tanzania, she said.

The group left today and will finish on October 12.