Pharmacist's mountain mission to help earthquake victims
An ambitious Luton pharmacist is trekking a famous Nepal mountain range to help the country's children receive a better education.
Rajesh Shah, 59, who works as a relief locum for pharmacies in Stopsley and High Town Road, is bravely climbing the Annapurna Circuit, with an altitude of 5416m, in aid of Hope4Nepal.
Rajesh is one of 90 walkers completing the challenge for the charity in the hope that the money raised can go towards the education of Nepali children affected by the devastating earthquake in 2015.
Rajesh said: “I’m not too nervous, it’s just about getting used to the changing altitude.
“We will have guides with us and I’m most looking forward to seeing the beautiful mountain scenery.”
The Annapurna Circuit is a trek within the Annapurna mountain range of central Nepal, and Rajesh and his fellow fundraisers began their trek on March 17, due to finish at the end of the month, whilst a second team trek in April.
Rajesh and his friends are determined to complete their walk due to the severity of the 2015 earthquake. That April, nearly 9,000 people died and nearly 22,000 were injured, with entire villages flattened and thousands homeless.
Rajesh said: “Fundraising from our trek will be in the region of £125,000. We will be visiting a few schools in Nepal, donating books and clothes.
“I’d like to thank local pharmacists and communities who have supported the chairty to help raise nearly £4,500 - enough to fund one classroom!”
Rajesh’s previous treks include Everest Base Camp in 2004, 5,364m (for Vidyabala), Stok Kangri in India, 6154m (for Sewa International), Mount Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains, 4,167m, The Dolomites, 3000m, Illiniza Norte in Ecquador, 5,126m, West Highland way, 100 miles (for Shishukunj) and Coast to Coast, 100 miles (for homelessness charities).
Rajesh said: “I used to own pharmacies in Sundon Park, Luton, which I sold in 2004 after suffering a stroke. My passion for trekking began when I started training my younger son Niraj, 16, to climb Kilimanjaro. However, the UK is also blessed with beautiful long distance walks and I wish to walk as many as I can.”
Rajesh has lived in Luton for 45 years and went to Stockwood High School. He has an older son, aged 30, and a wife, Ajita, 59.