Climber and Humanitarian Embarks on Journey to Climb Seven Summits to Support Women in Africa

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March 13, 2008, Los Angeles, CA – In an effort to bring attention to the plight of women in war-torn Congo and Uganda, a local climbing and hiking enthusiast is launching a campaign to climb the highest summit on each continent and raise $2.2 million for the cause.Georgina Miranda, 27, of Los Angeles, is planning to raise $50 for every meter of each summit she climbs as part of her campaign, “Climb, Take Action - Seven Summits Challenge.” The proceeds will directly support gender-based violence prevention, nutritional and mental health care programs of the humanitarian aid organization, International Medical Corps (IMC) in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Georgina and IMC will formally launch the campaign at The Artists’ Gallery, on Thursday, March 13th in Santa Monica. In September, Georgina will also host the first annual Hike 2 Empower fundraiser in Los Angeles to encourage other outdoor enthusiasts to participate and contribute to the cause. An avid hiker, Georgina dreamed of completing the Seven Summits string, but it was not until she read an article detailing the atrocities committed against women in Congo that she took steps to transform her dream into reality. Moved by the magnitude of the underreported crisis, Georgina was compelled to raise awareness and funds to support Africa’s forgotten women. She connected with International Medical Corps, based in Los Angeles, and decided to climb in support of its programs supporting women impacted by war in Congo and Uganda. “Women have been directly targeted in Congo and Uganda,” says Georgina. “Women like you, me, our mothers, our sisters, and our friends. Women who deserve a chance for life, peace, happiness, and empowerment. Although I am an amateur climber, I am a woman determined to pursue my dream of reaching the Seven Summits and to make a difference in the lives of other women, especially those in Congo and Uganda who have been forgotten for far too long. I am confident with the proper training and with raised awareness and support I can achieve both objectives.” “We are amazed and touched by Georgina’s generosity and dedication in taking on such a challenge, proof that one person can make a huge difference. It is efforts like hers that will help shine a light on the struggles of women in Congo and Uganda to survive the physical and emotional effects of war and care for their families,” said Margaret Aguirre, who has traveled extensively with International Medical Corps in Africa. Beginning with the 5,642-meter climb of Russia’s Mount Elbrus, Georgina will tackle Europe first before moving onto Australia’s Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 m). They will be followed by Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895 m), South America’s Aconcagua (6,962 m), North America’s Mt. Denali (6,194 m), the Carstensz Pyramid (4,884 m) in Indonesia, Vinson Massif (4,897 m) in Antarctica, and finally, the world’s highest mountain, Mt. Everest (8,850 m) in Asia. For more than two decades, conflicts in Uganda and Congo have produced some of the worst crimes against humanity. Since civil war erupted in 1997, the crisis in Congo has claimed more than three million lives - more than any conflict since World War II. Rape and sexual violence are widespread, with some villages reporting as many as two-thirds of women and girls having been raped, including victims as young as 11 months and as old as 75 years. In Uganda, a civil war running more than 20 years caused unfathomable human suffering, driving nearly 80 percent of the population in northern Uganda away from their homes and into congested camps with too little food, inadequate health care, poor sanitation, and rampant violence. Rape has also been common among women living in displacement camps, as they are often forced to exchange sex for the most basic necessities, like food and water. With as much as 95 percent of land left uncultivated in some areas, displaced Ugandans often suffer from malnutrition and are completely reliant on food rations, driving an average of 550 children per month to require nutritional care at International Medical Corps’ therapeutic feeding centers. For more information about the Seven Summits campaign and the programs that it benefits, please visit: www.climbtakeaction.com and www.imcworldwide.org.Since its inception nearly 25 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance. For more information visit our website at www.imcworldwide.org.