burn survivors
Photo Credit: Supplied / Pexels

What do you need to hike an active volcano? Strength, stamina, training and a worthy cause. This incredible team is hitting some of the most challenging slopes to raise funds for burn survivors in South Africa! Read on:


Andes Mountains, Ecuador (22 May, 2023)—A team of adventurers will tackle a great mountain trek in Ecuador for a worthy cause close to home. Setting their sights on the challenging Cotopaxi—an active volcano in the region—the team of seven featuring two South Africans will be led by Cami Palomo to raise funds for young burn survivors in South Africa.

Palomo who is from El Salvador but based in Cape Town is the founder of the Avela Foundation which offers healing-imperative emotional, psychological and physical support to young burn survivors in South Africa.

The trek’s funds are set to go to the foundation’s Umatter program in collaboration with the Smile Foundation, who you might recall as a powerhouse force during Smile Week earlier this month.

No mere trail, the Cotopaxi hike is a challenging and strenuous 8-day trek that involves hiking up to 5,897 metres to reach the summit of an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains. The hike requires acclimatisation to the high altitude, physical fitness, proper gear, and in this case, many good hearts to ascend the steep snow, ice slopes and navigate those tricky crevasses.

At the Heart of the Volcano

“Burn injuries can be extremely traumatic not just for the survivor but also for their family and loved ones,” shares Palomo. “The Umatter program can help address the emotional needs of both.” 

In fact, burn injuries are one of the leading causes of fatal injuries among children up to the age of 15 in South Africa, making support all the more important to the healing journey.

The Umatter program has psychology and wellness professionals and surgical students on board who all do their part; whether that means counselling, distributing kits and setting up clinics in communities or raising awareness where it’s most needed.

One of Many Mountains

The Avela and Smile Foundations have already rallied funds together before by climbing Kilimanjaro in 2019 and reaching Everest Base Camp in 2018 respectively, making a difference with every slope conquered.

As for their volcano trek (which begins on 26 May) the Avela team has already covered their costs to get to Ecuador, and 100% of the funds raised will go straight to the foundation.

You can support their mission here!

Source: Supplied
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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