A YOUNG Basingstoke woman is taking on a gruelling challenge by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise £3,000 for a charity that supports children in nine countries.

Jessica Saunders is raising money for Hope for Children – a charity that supports children in Africa, Asia and Europe, providing schooling for children, health education for doctors and helping to tackle child labour exploitation through various projects.

Jessica will be climbing Africa’s highest peak in Tanzania with other students from Bournemouth University on September 3. It will take four-and-a-half days to get to the top and one-and-a-half days to complete the descent.

The student – who is currently in her first year at Bournemouth University, studying Business Studies – lives in Beechwood Close, Hatch Warren with her parents when she returns to Basingstoke during holidays.

The 20-year-old also works in Starbucks in The Malls when she returns from university, and her colleagues have helped with her fundraising efforts, setting up a fundraising collection and putting up posters around the café.

Jessica was inspired to take on the challenge after she returned from a two-month volunteering project in Maroua, in Cam-eroon, last April where she taught in a local school.

She told The Gazette: “At the moment, our main target is fundraising but when we get closer we will be training hard because we need to build our leg muscles and stamina up.

“Over the Easter and summer holidays, we have been told to climb big hills and mountains across the country, and I have started training at the gym.”

The student has currently raised £170 for her challenge.

To donate, visit her fundraising page at https://2014 bournemouth. everydayhEro. com/uk/jessica.