The Spark of Hope Challenge

Climb for Leaders is delighted to announce a new summer leadership challenge for senior high school students in the last two years of secondary school. It is an incredible opportunity for students to translate their classroom social justice learning into actual, meaningful impact in the real world.

Says Narmin K. Ismail, co-founder of the Spark of Hope Challenge: “Students, teachers and parents consistently tell us that students who undertake these small group challenges develop excellent team-building skills, much greater focus, discipline and organizational skills, outstanding communication skills and exceptional fund-raising skills, while having lots of fun and learning.”

She adds: “To participate in this Challenge, of which only ten are held each year, students must do the following:

  1. Write a thoughtful essay on the development challenges in the area students will be visiting;
  2. Undertake intensive, months-long physical training for the tough treks (where safety is a priority);
  3. Carry out fund-raising to support projects in the developing world;
  4. Undertake a tough physical challenge that pushes students to their limits (e.g. climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or trekking in the Peruvian Andes);
  5. Provide community service in the developing world, in conditions far different than they may be accustomed to;
  6. Learn about entrepreneurship and potentially contributing to micro-finance loans to help alleviate poverty.

These activities, each of which is geared towards stretching students to their limits, often far beyond what they thought was possible, results in developing terrific confidence and a much enhanced ability to tackle challenges that one will face at university and in life.”

In addition, students gain firsthand knowledge of some of the challenges of the developing world in a meaningful manner through deep local exposure, and most importantly, they learn that they CAN make a difference in the world.

Furthermore, students can participate in the Kiva loans program, where they learn firsthand about how a small contribution can play a huge role in alleviating poverty and creating self-sufficiency.

Students, teachers and parents have described the expeditions as life changing. We agree: that is our aim! To hear first hand from them, click here.

Furthermore Narmin comments: “The Spark of Hope Challenge also helps develop leaders in the developing world as funds are directed towards educational projects that are highly sustainable. It is our firm belief that access to good education is often the only way out of deep-rooted poverty.

Our goal, by 2015, is to raise $1 million in support of development initiatives, through climbs in Africa (Tanzania) and South America (Ecuador and Peru). Student leaders we have worked with have already raised $250,000 over the last five years!”

If you know of students who are ready to take up this challenge and become outstanding leaders, please direct them to

To find out if you would meet the criteria for being considered, please contact:


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