Words: Honorata Saar | Photos: Newland Expeditions
Have you ever dreamed of going to the North Pole? Are you looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will also make a difference in the world? Searching 4 Santa, a not-for-profit charity project, will be taking four aids orphans from Children of the Dawn, in Africa, to the North Pole in April 2015, and there are four spaces available to join the team. Each person who joins will sponsor one of the teenagers selected, resulting in an extraordinary personal adventure that will also make a significant difference on another.
Photo by: Newland Expeditions
Inspired by Sibusiso Vilane, the famous African adventurer and first African to summit Mt Everest, this ambitious adventure is all about educating the four teenagers and providing them with unique skills. Once a ‘Dawn’ child has finished school, they leave the protection of the charity and have to face the real world on their own. This trip will provide them with a skill that will make them more employable when they leave, in areas such as photography, videography, environmental issues and adventure travel.
Other key objectives include raising money for Children of the Dawn, highlighting the plight of HIV aids in our country and uniting communities, thus proving that anything is possible - even for an orphaned child.
The North Pole has special significance in that it is ‘fantastical’, unique and hard to get to - there is no further place for an African! Although we are most certainly making things harder for ourselves, it is necessary as this is the only way we will raise the amount of awareness we feel the cause deserves. We need to do something that has never been done before.
April 2015 is the proposed date for the trip because this is when the ice conditions are best. However, even in good conditions getting to pole will be no easy feat.
The amount required to facilitate this trip is large, to some, exorbitant even. So the option to be one of the four adventurers will therefore be put up for bidding. Bidding opens on 10 February 2014 and will close on 31 May 2014.
In April 2014, the selection of the four youths begins and will be done by the staff of Children of the Dawn, who will help will help to facilitate a selection process whereby the children who are in matric this year (and are looking strong to pass) can apply to be one of the four candidates. They will then have to motivate their selection, and each will no doubt have a compelling story to tell.
Once the youths and adventurers have been selected, they will undergo their first cold adaptation and ski training camp this winter in Lesotho, with ongoing training scheduled until the end of March 2015. The group will then depart for Norway and do one final week of ski training, environmental education and survival training. From there, they will head to Barneo, a Russian research camp, where they will take a helicopter flight to the starting point of the three-day polar ice ski expedition to the North Pole. Other than being quite brutal, the expedition can come with its own complications, so the team will have to be well prepared for any eventuality. Thereafter, it’s three days back to the pick up point, a helicopter ride to Barneo, a flight to Norway, and then home as heroes!
So if you are looking for an adventure of a lifetime, make your bid now and be a part of a team that is going to make a difference! The journey is a long one and it has just begun.
About Children of the Dawn
Children of the Dawn is a registered South African Public Benefit Organisation supporting over 800 rural orphaned and vulnerable children. Through programmes addressing basic needs, as well as guidance and mentoring, they strive to raise a generation of saved children into balanced, healthy and active citizens.
Photo by: Newland Expeditions
5 things about the North Pole
1. There are a number of North Poles
You may think there is only one North Pole on our planet, however the most well-known and recognised are the Magnetic North Pole, Geographic North Pole, and some people also refer to the lesser well-known ones such as True North, the Pole of Inaccessibility, Pole of Cold, etc.
2. There are no penguins
One animal you won't see in the North Pole is the penguin, but you may also see other Arctic dwellers like orca, humpback and Beluga whales, the Arctic fox, and Svalbard reindeer.
3. It is not a continent, nor the coldest place in the world
Unlike the North Pole, the South Pole sits on top of a thick sheet of ice, which in turn sits on top of a piece of land - Antarctica. At more than 9,000 feet above sea level, Antarctica is also the world's tallest continent. The North Pole, on the other hand, is made up of a thin Arctic ice sheet that sits barely a foot above sea level, a fact that allows the landscape to absorb heat from the surrounding Arctic Ocean. Even with temperatures at a high of just -33 degrees F, the North Pole is not the coldest place on Earth. The South Pole, however, has temperatures averaging -60 degrees Celsius in winter.
4. There is controversy over who got there first
In September 1909, Frederick A. Cook, a medical doctor from New York, announced that he and two Inuit companions had reached the North Pole on 21 April 1908. He claimed that bad weather conditions and drifting ice had prohibited his southward return and he and his companions were forced to winter in an ice cave. A week later, Robert E. Peary, a civil engineer and commander in the U.S. Navy, announced that he had reached the North Pole, accompanied by his long-time companion Matthew Henson, and he denounced Cook as a fraud. In any case, Peary had some very powerful sponsors, including the New York Times and the National Geographic Society
5. It continues to stay at the centre of international controversy
The United States Geological Survey calculates that the Arctic has about 13 percent of the world's undiscovered conventional oil and about 30 percent of undiscovered natural gas. Complicating matters is the fact that multiple countries lay claim to the Arctic Circle, namely Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark (via Greenland) and the United States (via Alaska). Each country is allowed to explore potential oil reserves within 200 miles of its coastlines, but in 2007, Russia used a mini-submarine to plant the country's flag on the floor of the Arctic Ocean in an attempt to claim the region and its natural resources. This move was rejected by the U.N. and the countries continue to work toward a solution.
Are you keen to be one of the four adventurers going tothe North Pole? Then submit your bid via email
If you are a corporate company and would like to get involved, please contact us. You can even incentivise your staff with this amazing opportunity.
Visit www.searching4santa.org for more information, or follow their journey on Facebook www.facebook.com/searching4santa and on Twitter @Search4Santa
If you would like to donate money to Children of the Dawn, to ensure the rest of the children who cannot take part continue to be looked after, visit www.childrenofthedawn.org.za.