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Allisonian of Week: Ayesha Harji ('06)
Posted on Wednesday, August 02 @ 00:00:00 ADT by admin

Ayesha Harji ('06), an international relations graduate, has just cycled the length of Africa to raise money for charity.

Ayesha and her father, Muslim Harji who was born in Tanzania and still has family in East Africa, have cycled almost 12-thousand kilometers and raised 50-thousand dollars for the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. The foundation supplies money for education, health and rural development.

They cycled a four-month whirlwind tour of Africa as part of a group called Tour D'Afrique, comprising more than 50 riders from countries around the world. They crossed the continent of Africa starting in Cairo and pedaling to Cape Town in 120 days.

The Ismaili Africa featured their story in their July Issue. Ayesha says in the article, "As an international relations student, I wanted to see the "real" Africa, its good and bad points, and compare it to what I had learned formally during my studies. This trip tested my physical and mental strength as well as my opinions and perspectives about many global issues. As a North American Ismaili, I was also especially thrilled at the prospect of being able to see some of the work being done by my own community, under the auspices of the Aga Khan Foundation, in the developing world.

Graduating Mount Allison

"The weekend before I returned to Montreal from Cape Town, while we were still on the road, anxiously counting the days until we arrived at the finish line, I graduated (in absentia), along with hundreds of other students at Mount Allison University (...) I remember being in Springbok, South Africa, thinking about how I was thousands of miles away, missing the ceremony that would bring my time at Mount Allison to an end. It's funny, but now, as I think back to the myriad of experiences that I have lived through over these past four months, I believe I can safely say that one of, if not the most important parts of my education so far in life took place after I left in December. This trip has changed me more than just physically. I have lost 20 pounds and gained some muscle, but most importantly, I have also acquired a wealth of insight: the people I have met, the incidents I have witnessed, the alternate universe I was allowed to step in to, if only for a brief time, has taught me life lessons that have altered the person I was irrevocably."

For the full adventure: Ismaili Africa, July 2006 - A Journey Across Africa in Search of Hope



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