My crazy, amazing Amnesty Hike the Himalayas challenge

NSW community organiser and long-time Amnesty supporter Amanda Atlee took the Hike the Himalayas challenge and recalls her journey to India.

Amanda holding a yello amnesty banner stating 'defending human rights' in the snow in front of a mountain
© Amanda Atlee

Tell us about yourself

My name is Amanda Atlee, and I have the pleasure of working as the NSW Community Organiser for Amnesty International Australia. In my downtime I convene the Randwick Action Group and take part in the Amnesty NSW Book Club – as you can see I rather like Amnesty!

In 2015, I was searching for a personal challenge and a reason to get fit. The Himalayas have always been on my bucket list, so I signed up for the Hike the Himalayas challenge. Why not have an exciting adventure with other Amnesty activists and raise money to fight for human rights?

How did you find the fundraising aspect?

Raising funds for this challenge was actually easier than I’d expected and a lot of fun. I ended up exceeding my original goal of $4100 – raising a total of $5163 for Amnesty International Australia.

I sold snacks at work (to the demise of my work colleagues’ waistlines) and held a film screening of He Named me Malala. I reached my new goal just a week before I found myself on a plane headed to India.

several people walking a trail on the side of a hill and looking at the camera
© Amanda Atlee

Tell us about the journey

The walk itself was incredible. It’s a really beautiful part of the world, and at times it felt like no one else had ever been there. We trekked through small villages, up and down valleys, and plodded through fresh snow.

We walked for five days up to an altitude of approximately 3500 ft, but thanks to my training I felt prepared for the challenge. Walking through snow was more of a mental challenge than physical and I’m happy I conquered it.

What were the highlights?

My favourite aspect of the trip was being a part of an incredible team. There were times when we really rallied together to encourage each other and ensure that we all crossed that finish line together.

The people I met as part of this experience were all really passionate about Amnesty International. We shared lots of laughs, food, stories and adventures (and blisters). I feel very lucky to have met them.

It may sound odd but another highlight was being treated with hot chips one afternoon when we reached camp – it had been a long day!

How did you feel when you reached the end?

My initial feeling was excitement for a shower and a real bed! But I also felt really proud, not only of my own achievement but also to be part of the team and to see everyone cross the finish line.

a group of people standing in front of mountains waring amnesty tshirts
© Amanda Atlee

Everyone had their own challenges – physically getting through the trek, mentally believing in ourselves, or raising enough funds for Amnesty.

We conquered all these challenges together and the whole experience is something I will never forget.

Events and challenges are a fun and meaningful way to raise important funds for Amnesty International Australia. Whether it is running City to Surf (Sydney), trekking the Kokoda Trail, discovering the Larapinta Trail or challenging yourself with the Berlin Marathon, Team Amnesty can help!

This blog entry does not necessarily represent the position or opinion of Amnesty International Australia.