Saray Khumalo is a Mandela Libraries ambassador, a social entrepreneur, mother of two boys, and executive in a distinguished financial institution in South Africa. She is an avid mountain climber and currently holds the record for the highest altitude climb for a black African female. Over time, she has demonstrated her commitment to making a difference in her environment through mountaineering.
Saray supports organisations which focus on children from all walks of life, as she believes that education and literacy are the keys to success. She also started an NGO called Expeditionists, which focuses on bringing unemployed youths into the outdoor industry, with the aim of creating small hiking and adventure-related businesses.
Saray says that the gift of life motivates her to take the next step. She recently had a mountain biking accident which left her in a coma for three weeks. Her accident highlighted the fragility of life and, ever since, she is of the view that for as long as we are breathing, we should use life for the right purpose – and this prompts her to keep aiming higher.
Through her Seven Summits with a Purpose climbing initiative, she has helped the Mandela Libraries to raise approximately R800 000 in funds, which has been used to build four Mandela libraries in South Africa. Further, she has helped Kids Haven children’s home to build an outdoor gym and convert one of the rooms into a library, while her initiatives have also helped the Lunchbox Fund to raise enough money to feed 60 000 children.
Saray believes that it is possible to do good while having fun, and says that choosing a sport or activity that you love is the first step to making all the challenges and successes so much sweeter. Saray’s most important lesson is that she sells a glimpse of her adventures to followers, who then become part of her journey and buy into the cause. She advises champions of any causes to keep their messages consistent and focused, making it easy for potential donors to follow and buy into the concept.
Even though Saray has already successfully summited three of the world’s 7 Summits and, with her network, built four libraries, her wish is to summit all seven and to build at least five libraries. She believes that by helping others and making a difference, however small, the world will be a better place.
This is the first Sport 4 Good profile of my 2018 #NGOs4Africa Campaign.