According to a Star-Telegram article from Feb. 19, Vijay Devarajan, a 25-year-old from Arlington, plans on climbing Africa’s tallest mountain, not for the fame, but for charity. I look up to Devarajan because his acts of service reach beyond city limits. I think it is important for all of us to serve in some way in our community because not only does it bring a sort of self-fulfillment, but it is a way to show concern for others.
Kilimanjaro is an about a 19,340-foot mountain with three volcanic peaks and is considered the tallest free-standing mountain in the entire world. Devarajan will be one of 90 employees from Accenture, a technology consulting company, to attempt the climb.
Accenture is trying to raise $500,000 to help an AIDS clinic in Kenya, $6,000 of which Devarajan plans to raise on his own.
The employees are not climbing this mountain for fame by any means; they do not care if their names appear in any book or newspaper declaring they’ve made it to the top. Their priority is raising awareness, not for themselves or their company, but for a problem in Africa they feel is being avoided.
“There’s a certain lack of understanding of the plight of Africa in general,” Devarajan told the Star-Telegram. “A story like this is another way to open people’s eyes as to how bad it is out there. The number of kids with AIDS in Africa is just astounding.”
It is comforting to know there are still people in this world who care for others. It seems as though that number has been dwindling for years. It opened my eyes and made me realize there are plenty of things I can do to help others, that don’t even include leaving the state or country.
I participated in Up ‘Til Dawn this year, addressing letters to friends and family asking them to donate to St. Jude’s Research Hospital. At the end of the semester, there is a party to find out how much money the letters raised. It’s amazing how those events can make someone feel. It was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.
Accenture works with a charity based in the United Kingdom, VSO, and its main goal is to combat HIV and AIDS in Africa. It has been organizing fundraisers, such as the hike up Kilimanjaro, for years.
There are plenty of ways to get involved on this campus and in the city of Fort Worth. Race for the Cure with the Susan G. Komen foundation is an amazing way to help those who suffer from breast cancer.
When we struggle with things in life, we should take a step back and realize how much worse things could really be. After all, we are living most people’s dream by being able to attend a school like TCU.
We have many opportunities to serve and provide for the less-fortunate, all we have to do is take a little time out of our lives and step up.
Devarajan will not use any of the money he raises for personal expenses to Africa; the entire sum will go to the clinic in Kenya. He should be a role model for many of us. Think of the things he is sacrificing. We can make a difference, too, if we take the time to realize there are people in need of our time and help.
Marissa Warms is a junior advertising/public relations major from Irving. Her column appears on Fridays.