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Summit Stories

THANK YOU for your support to the Everest fundraiser for the NYF

July 20, 2014 by

I want to THANK YOU very much for participating in the fundraiser for the Nepal Youth Foundation.

We successfully raised the INCREDIBLE SUM OF ~$7,000.

I had the opportunity to visit the Nepal Youth Foundation in Kathmandu (see my post): I could not only see the incredible work they do, but also meet the beneficiaries of these efforts – the Nepalese mothers and children that learn and grow with the NYF, that are supported in their fight against HIV and that can steer their life towards a more positive future.

Seeing how our efforts can HELP CHANGING LIVES is a wonderful gift and being part of this fundraising initiative has been a privilege. I hope you feel the same way.

It has been A TRUE HONOR TO COUNT ON YOUR SUPPORT and I thank you very much for it!

Please keep following and supporting the Nepal Youth Foundation!



“Journey of Rising Hopes” film release

July 8, 2014 by

It’s our great pleasure to announce the release of “Journey of Rising Hopes”. The short film documents the trip that technology executives from Silicon Valley, Asia, and Europe did in June 2014 to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for Amani Children’s Home (a local charity that supports the homeless children of Tanzania).

award filmNew technologies were used along the way on KiliTechTrek (the name of the expedition) including sponsor products such as Eye-Fi (maker of connected memory cards), GoalZero  (provider of portable solar panels), and Runtastic (producer of mobile solutions to track fitness and sport activities). PayPal was used for the fundraising contributions as well as to transfer money on the trail.

As a great recognition for the quality of the story, Journey of Rising Hopes received the Best Adventure Film Award at the Amsterdam Film Festival 2014. Brett Garling from Cut Canvas Creative was the film Director.

The ultimate achievement we are extremely proud of is the raising of $20,000 in favor of Amani Children’s Home: these funds will help Amani build a new welcome center for their increasing load of street children. This fundraising was phenomenal and made possible by your support and donations! Thank you!

We hope you enjoy the film.

Visiting the Nepal Youth Foundation in Kathmandu

May 8, 2014 by

My last day in Kathmandu was dedicated to the visit of the Nepal Youth Foundation, the non-profit organization that I have been supporting for my Everest expedition. I was really looking forward to seeing in person the great work they do and hearing first-hand about their accomplishment and plans. Som Paneru, NYF President and and a former NYF scholar, greeted me and acted as my Cicero to the visit of NYF Centers in the south part of the city.

We initially visited the Nutritional Rehabilitation Home, where Nutritional centermothers and their malnourished children are welcome for a treatment period of about 6 weeks. During this period, children go through a nutritional rehabilitation and the mothers receive education about preparing nutritious meals with food and ingredients available in Nepal. The NYF has established 16 similar centers all over Nepal and the model is such that after 5 years each Center is handed over to the local government who will continue the implementation of the programs. Insofar, the Kathmandu Home has counted 258 admissions in 2014 and 3400 since its inception.

Our next stop was at the New Life Center, where children affected by New Life CenterHIV are hosted and treated. HIV is a growing health problem in Nepal and, even more worryingly, it causes discrimination and as a result abandonment for both children and their caretaker. During their staying at the Center, food, housing and medical treatment are provided for free – an ambulance is also parked in the garden, as trips to the hospital are often necessary. During my visit, four children were permanent residents and the Center has the capacity to host up to 20 people. We reached the Center just before lunch and we briefly interrupted a singing and dance class – several young volunteers from Europe and US were assisting the children and the energy of the kids was wonderfully joyful (no, I didn’t sing fortunately …)

The New Life Center offers a very comprehensive approach to HIV treatment and for this reason is very costly. The New Life Centerwork NYF has been doing over the last 20 years is truly phenomenal and their success in Nepal is proof that their commitment and approach are what makes the difference.

The fundraising I have been championing during my Everest expedition will support NYF’s plans for the New Life Center: I encourage you to learn more about it and consider making a donation. Think about this: if a single dollar goes a really long way in Nepal, how big can your impact be?!

Dreams are possible if you believe!

Christmas shopping anxiety? here is how to avoid it

December 20, 2013 by

Why be stressed out in the mad rush to the store to fight over toys and gadgets that will soon be forgotten or obsolete? Wanna get rid of that anxiety over finding THE gift for your loved ones?

IMG_0803This year, offer a memorable and impactful gift by means of a donation to the Nepal Youth Foundation, the non-profit organization that we will support during our upcoming trip to Everest.

The funds will go to help build a home and education center for Nepalese children who are living with HIV/AIDS and are neglected by their families. Sickness is a stigma in Nepal and it only worsens the already extreme conditions of the very poor.

My recent climbs have helped build a children’s library in Argentina as well as a new welcome center in Tanzania. These amazing results were made possible by supporters like you.

Give the gift of hope and education this Holiday Season. Make a donation to the Nepal Youth Foundation.





Destination Everest

December 4, 2013 by

Once again the countdown has started. This time is longer, about 120 days, which will give enough time for all the necessary preparation. Right! “Where?” you are probably asking (though the title should have given a good hint)!

IMG_0260 - CopyIt will be to gorgeous Nepal, and specifically to the imposing grandeur of the Himalayas. We will head to Everest Base Camp, one of the most scenic and impressive trek in the world. Crossing the stunning Himalayan valleys, the trek exposes the trekkers to the most breathtaking mountain scenery anyone can imagine: several 8,000mt/28,000ft mountains are rising as stunning cathedrals, culminating with the unique view of Mt Everest.

Starting at about 3,000mt/10,000ft in the small village of Lukla, the trek reaches its highest point at 5,545mt (Mt. Kalapathar) and it allows the trekkers to spend several days moving through the homeland of the Sherpa people, visiting monasteries and enjoying the spectacular views of the mountains.

The second BIG part of the expedition will see Mr Francesco heading further up and negotiating a successful summit bid to the top of the world. A non-plus-ultra adventure he has been preparing and training for quite some time.

nyf-educationTo make things even more interesting (and consistently with Summit Stories’ mission), we will be fundraising for the Nepal Youth Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring freedom, health, shelter and education to Nepal’s most impoverished children. We will also test and use innovative technologies during the trek (we like being a bit nerdy even at high elevation).

A very fun plan is cooking, so stay tuned for future updates as we progress. Namaste!

Building a children library? Yes, we did!

November 26, 2013 by

This is one of the proudest post I have written in quite a while. The reason is simple: how many times can you celebrate the building of a children library because of the work you have done?

As some of you may remember, last winter I asked friends and many other people to support Summit Stories fundraise for Fundacion Leer, the leer logoleading Argentine non-profit organization that promotes literacy amongst children, serving 1.7 million young readers nationwide.

Summit Stories’ goal was to raise $6,962 (one dollar for each meter of elevation of Mt Aconcagua) to help Fundacion Leer build a children library and train educators in a remote region of Argentina.

Well, of the three goals (summit Mt Aconcagua, raise $6,962, build a library) only one was reached and probably the most compelling! I am very happy to share that the children library was opened a few weeks ago and the local community is actively enjoying it.

In the words of the Child Development Center coordinator:

“The Reading Corner is being widely used. Community operators and the kids are reading together the new books. The reading corner attracted the interest of the community, including many retired teachers that volunteered to read with the children. We are grateful for the help that was given to us, is a very valuable contribution to the community.“

Whether it was 20$, 50$ or a larger amount, don’t you think that it was a wonderful way to make an impact by putting money to work in a very different way?

A big THANK YOU to everybody who contributed to put a book in the hands of a child.

Children and community members sharing the opening of the Reading Corner

Children and community members sharing the opening of the Reading Corner


the reading corner

the reading corner

Puncak Jaya, part 6: the Children of Bali

November 19, 2013 by

You missed part 5? read it here

The very last leg of my Indonesian trip sees me in Bali: while Bali is world-famous for its beaches and zen/meditation/yoga environment, it is also rich of mountainous and more remote areas that don’t get touched much nor exposed to developed tourism. This is where we will be in this post.

Thanks to a collaboration with Summit Stories’ partner BCP (Balinese Children’s project), I am conducting workshops about international culture and entrepreneurship at local schools in rural parts of Bali.

Ubud PenestananThe Bali Children’s Project (BCP) has been working with young people and their families in rural Bali for 20 years and is dedicated to improve life through education. As many communities in Bali are very underdeveloped and don’t benefit from tourism, BCP was founded on the belief that when children are empowered to realize their potential, they will be able to access more opportunities and as a result give back to their villages and their communities. Conscious of Bali’s unique cultural heritage, BCP programs are designed to integrate the demands of economic progress with the island’s traditional values.

Among BCP’s many programs (they currently support more than 200 children, enabling them to stay in school and finish their education), BCP helped create a dozen village pre-schools and kindergartens, administer a micro-investment scheme for impoverished families, and runs health initiatives that include sex education and HIV/AIDS awareness (as HIV/AIDS is becoming a growing threat in Bali). You can read more about BCP here.

Ubud BangliDuring the course of several days, I had the opportunity to spend time with BCP’s staff and meet more than 100 children aged 6-14 while talking about Summit Stories’ journey around the world (mountains have a very important spiritual role in Balinese culture) and entrepreneurship.

The goal was to instill curiosity and inspiration by means of sharing experiences, examples and principles from the outside-of-rural-Bali world. Typically, these children, when they manage to finish their studies or if they don’t marry at teen-age, pursue the obvious career in the hospitality industry, likely in low-paying and low-skilled jobs. Often this is due to lack of ambition and self-confidence or more simply of accessible role-models. ..Ah (before you ask) internet access is far from being a basic right or even a privilege amongst these communities, therefore limiting the access to and diversity of information we are used to.

I presented Summit Stories’ journey and guiding principles (to the amusement of the children who have never seen so much snow or even the snow in fact, – loud “wows” where heard across the room as my photos arose).  And success stories of local small entrepreneurs in various parts Munduk Rindigitof the world (whether a runner-farmer turned businessman from Africa or a former Nepalese porter who leads a successful trekking business).

Passion, motivation, setting goals, preparation are concepts that are to different degrees very familiar to all of us, but hardly framed as attributes for personal and professional development in many other realities and societies.

I feel very privileged to have met these children and their families and, while facing a language and cultural barrier, I believe we successfully brought a very new and fresh perspective to their learning. I am curious to see whether these workshops (both the ones I held and the others that BCP sponsors) trigger a desire to explore additional and different topics and maybe paths in the future. Wouldn’t be amazing if the workshop (or the model spearheaded by TED) could be replicated by motivating travelers when they visit or volunteer for local schools?

I would love to hear any feedback or comment you may have with regards to this model of knowledge sharing through short 1-hour workshops and whether it could be implemented in a scalable way (with all the necessary adjustments as far as content, context and delivery).



Wanna bet we will RUNTASTIC it on Kilimanjaro

May 16, 2013 by

We thought it would be smart to put aside any suspicion about our upcoming trip to Kili: no helicopters are planned nor we will be carried on the back of a donkey. Runtastic, the mobile health and fitness company whose products make exercise easy and fun, will keep us honest by tracking our progress step by step on the trail.

We will be using the Runtastic mobile apps and Runtastic Gps watch to provide precise updates and snapshots of each milestone we reach on Kilimanjaro.

20130516-085005.jpgRuntastic combines a software platform, hardware device, and an online service which together create a fitness and health ecosystem that can measure any activity data (whether running. Biking, skiing or working out, even eating doughnuts at high altitude). Developed with professional athletes, the technology tracks, monitors, analyzes and shares fitness activities.

Runtastic website states:”Runtastic motivates people to get their body in shape, stay fit, and feel terrific”. Well, this is exactly how we already feel and we can’t wait to deploy the Runtastic arsenal on the trek.


Mountain Hardwear and KiliTechTrek

May 7, 2013 by

20130507-114848.jpg Excited to announce that Mountain Hardwear will be a supporting partner to KiliTechTrek. The Trekkers will soon climb Mt Kilimanjaro and Mountain Hardwear will help keep them warm, protected and strong.

Mountain Hardwear was founded 18 years ago by a group of passionate people who believed anything is possible, and that anything worth pursuing in life required challenge.

Here is a quote I particularly like from Mountain Hardwear’s mission statement: “…we realized standing on the peak didn’t define who we were and our potential; it was the moments of challenge, along the journey that defined us. We celebrate those individuals and are inspired by big dreamers that believe anything is possible.”

Our KiliTechTrekkers are motivated by a similar challenge: to be example to the Amani Kids on the journey we are taking and the motivation it needs to reach a summit.

Welcome, Kili Tech TREKKERS! Game ON!

April 17, 2013 by

The jim whittaker countdown to Mt Kilimanjaro has started: it is now less than two months away and our Kili Tech TREKKERS are already preparing their gear, polishing their boots and … worrying about connectivity on the mountain! Ah!

Our tech TREKKERS are all coming together from Silicon Valley, Asia, and Europe to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro to raise money for Amani, a local non-profit organization that supports the homeless children of Tanzania.

Meet Bada from eBay, Marco from MindTheBridge, Lippe from Livestation, Simone from Amazon, Jim from Accenture, Lucrezia from Staanoi, Stephane from Sabre and Francesco from PayPal.

…What new ideas will this gathering of tech and social minds will spur?

To be continued…