When Richard Assef learned about Plan’s Trek for Girls, he knew right from the beginning that he wanted to be involved. As a parent of a girl who lost both her biological parents in war-torn Lebanon, he understands firsthand the devastation, and loss of hope it can bring to someone so young. War creates separation, poverty and a sense of helplessness over one’s future, but that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
Richards’ daughter was born in Lebanon. “My wife and I always wanted her to have every opportunity possible to be whoever she wanted to be, to do whatever she wanted to do and do so with dignity and without fear of provocation or retribution. But we also wanted her to understand how hard and difficult life can be, for girls like those in Nepal.”
For Richard, this fundraising challenge was about showing empathy for those in need, and those suffering from persecution and understanding how to help them.
Richard has been a supporter of Plan International for over 30 years. He and his wife have sponsored a child in Nepal named Parbity who they were able to meet in person last year, on the trek project visit. The Trek for Girls took Richard and other Plan supporters across Annapurna, among the stunning Himalayan Mountains and gave them the opportunity to see firsthand the work Plan does to help those in need.
The aim of the project visit was to help girls in need of education, opportunity and recognition. Women are a driving force in any community and their contribution is as important as any in improving the living standards of its people and helping them escape the cycle of poverty.
The devastating news of the earthquake meant that it became even more critical to get involved and do what they could to assist the people in Nepal to rebuild their lives. “I am confident that when given the opportunity [girls] will grasp it to improve their lives; the lives of their families and the lives of the wonderful people of Nepal,” he says.
We are very pleased to say that Richard has raised just over $24,000 for Plan International, and this money will go towards Plan’s Because I am a Girl campaign, to unleash the incredible potential of girls to create a better world!
To prepare for the challenge, Richard attended our Inspired training treks. “The practice treks organised by Inspired Adventures were very useful not only for inexperienced trekkers like me but to meet and get to know some of the people you were about to trek with.”
Richard says the challenge and project was one of the most rewarding things he has ever done, and encourages anyone wishing to take on a challenge. “Don’t delay,” he says, “do it as soon as possible; it will change your life for the better!”
Before taking on the trek, Richard personally thanked all 130 donors with an individual email. When he returned he caught up with many of them to thank them in person and share his experiences.
It is Richard’s dedication to his cause that allows Inspired Adventures to continue to encourage people to take on challenges for the cause they are most passionate about.
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