Imagine the journey of a lifetime through a country you’ve never explored. Or one that supports a growing and global community of people giving their personal time and donations to ensure every child in Ethiopia receives a quality education. Combining fundraising for school projects with promoting awareness of Ethiopian culture and the country’s socio-economic climate, imagine1day does just that. Catching up with Kate’s athlete and Exum Guide Christian Santelices during a temporary breather in his summer schedule, he shared his own story of involvement with imagine1day and their mission.
Introduced to the organization through a friend, writer and climber Majka Burhardt, Christian was initially inspired by the organization’s selfless work. To date, it’s helped to create more than 15 schools and school systems within the African country. Burhardt, on the other hand, had been involved with the non-profit for a few years, helping spread its message and co-leading the annual Imagine Ethiopia trip. With the hefty goal of giving all Ethiopians access to quality education funded free of foreign aid by 2030, imagine1day uses a combination of fundraising, trips and grassroots awareness to help drive its cause. Add to the fact that the organization prides itself on directing 100% of donations to its school projects in Ethiopia, the passion that drives the mission is uncontainable. When Burhardt was unable to lead this year’s annual trip, she thought of Christian who gladly jumped at the opportunity to take Majka’s place guiding the Imagine Ethiopia Dream Team through the country. As one of three co-leaders, Santelices will help lead the group through the adventure component that includes hiking in the northern Ethiopian mountains, horseback riding, rock climbing and a visit to one of the world’s most inaccessible and immaculately preserved churches. After years of playing in the mountains, Christian sees this as an opportunity to combine two passions: guiding and leadership with personal philanthropy.
The Dream Team will kick off their annual Imagine Ethiopia trip this October. The participants have a collective goal to raise the $100,000 CDN required to fund a primary school project for a remote rural community in Ethiopia’s Oromiya region. To learn more please visit imagine1day.org.