A group of women from Blackburn have climbed North Africa’s highest mountain to raise money for an orphanage.

The all-female trek to the summit of Mount Toubkal in Morocco was led by Z’s Defence Academy.

Mount Toubkal reaches a height of 4,167 metres and the expedition aimed to support local orphanages in partnership with Yallah Ummah.

The trek had been planned over four days, but unforeseen circumstances transformed the journey into an ‘intense and challenging experience’, said organiser Zaynab Jogi.

The team began their ascent from 1,800 metres at 9am enduring a strenuous trek to reach a camp at 3,207 metres. Despite their fatigue, the team had a brief rest before being woken at 3am to prepare for the final ascent to Mount Toubkal 4,167. 

With just two hours of sleep, they began the climb to the summit in the dark. The altitude proved challenging, and one of the team members had to turn back at 3,235 meters due to severe heart palpitations, despite taking preventative medication. 

The remaining five continued their climb, but another member succumbed to severe altitude sickness and food poisoning at 3,850 meters.

Led by their guides, Hamid and Mohammed, the four remaining women pushed through 'fatigue, heat, and altitude sickness' to reach the summit. 

The group were raising money for two orphanages in Morocco

Zaynab, known as Zee, is a trainee mountain leader and said she was proud of the 'first female-only group from Blackburn to successfully reach the summit'.

Zee said: “Their success stands as a testament to their inner strength, willpower, and determination. They successfully reached the summit reaching an altitude of 4,167 metres the highest point in Morocco. I am so proud of them.

“The descent the next day to Imlil at 1,800 meters, was smoother and the team was eager to return to their hotel for much-needed rest. This expedition highlighted the importance of thorough planning and clear communication with tour organisers to avoid such distressing situations in the future.

“The primary objective of this trek was to support two orphanages by providing essential supplies. 

“The heartfelt interactions with the children at the orphanages underscored the significance of their mission. Z's Defence Academy extends profound gratitude to all the donors whose contributions have made a substantial impact on the lives of these children.

“This expedition was not just a physical challenge but also a journey to conquer fears and push beyond personal limits.”

Zee is the only British Muslim woman in the UK to have achieved a Guinness World Record on Mount Kilimanjaro at 5,895 meters and reached Everest Base Camp at 5,364 meters despite being injured.

Z’s Defence Academy aims to empowering women through challenging indoor and outdoor activities, as well as comprehensive self-defence training. 

Zee added: “Our charity aims to build confidence, resilience, and a sense of achievement among women from all walks of life. 

“We believe in the potential of every woman to break her limits and conquer her fears, but we need your support to continue this vital work. 

“By sponsoring our programs, you can help us reach more vulnerable women, providing them with the skills and strength they need to thrive.”

You can still donate to their cause here  https://gofund.me/a7648c2b