A Hatton student has recently returned from a gruelling charity trek in Morocco which raised money for vulnerable children in the developing world.
Aileen MacAlister ( 21), who is studying Communication Design at Robert Gordon University (RGU), tackled North Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Toubkal, and raised more than £,1500 for global children’s charity Childreach International.
Aileen said: “I decided to go for this trip because last year I signed up for the ‘Big Build Morocco’ and had a fantastic time in the village of Marigha helping to build an education centre for the children who live there.
“The trip offered me the chance to revisit the now completed education centre while also raising money for the same great cause. It also provided me with the opportunity to complete the huge challenge of climbing Mount Toubkal and I wanted to prove to myself that I was able to do it.”
Aileen trekked 103 kilometres in six days which included Mount Toubkal’s gruelling 4,167 metre accent over steep ground to reach its summit and an expedition along the coast of Morocco.
“It has to be the hardest thing I have ever done,” explained Aileen.
“There were a couple of times on the mountain when I thought there was no way I was going to make it to the summit but I kept pushing myself with the thought of what the money I raised was going towards. Reaching its peak was one of the most fantastic feelings.”
Aileen spent a year fundraising for her expedition which included organising a ‘PJ and Hot Chocolate Day’ which saw her class don their pyjamas to university for a day and enjoy a hot chocolate. She also organised a ‘Winter Ball’ for her year at Gray’s School of Art.
“The fundraising was a challenge but getting to see the completed education centre made the stress of the past year completely worth it, especially when one of the girls remembered me and gave me a huge hug.”
Aileen says that returning to the village and seeing the project that she was supporting first-hand was one of the many highlights of the trip.
“Reaching the summit is definitely one of the highlights but visiting the project which I was helping to fund was absolutely fantastic,” says Aileen.
Aileen signed up for both trips through RGU: RAG (Raising and Giving).