Scaling Mont Blanc for Harpenden animal charity

HARPENDEN-based animal charity The Red Endangered Animal Connection Trust (REACT) took their fundraising efforts to new heights recently as their ambassador climbed Europe’s tallest peak.

Alex Staniforth, otherwise known as ‘Oranguman’, successfully tackled Mont Blanc’s 4,810 metres and raised over �2,908 for the charity. The 17 year old said: “I believe that there is a beautiful and diverse, natural world out there, and it is our responsibility to protect it.”

REACT was founded by Guillaume Feldman in 2009 with the aim of connecting people to endangered animals, to get people directly involved with volunteer programmes and to stop deforestation. He also wanted to help the projects he had set up previously, some of which were lacking in volunteers and charitable funds.

He explained: “I was running a company called The Great Project. It’s a company that sells volunteer programmes. As we were a company we couldn’t take donations.

“During the recession programmes were starting to suffer. Fewer people were going on them.”

Well aware of the constraints the recession put on people, REACT understood the importance of keeping an eye on how much of the money raised goes directly to a project, and to see the effects of the money. Currently 80 per cent of the money they raise goes straight to charity.

Guillaume said: “We spend a lot of time with projects rather than just giving money where it gets lost in a big pot. We spend time talking to them and see where the money is going.”

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The charity is presently focusing its efforts in Malaysia, Indonesia and the UK, and the REACT team go out twice a year to locations to see how donations are helping. Although a big campaigner for overseas causes, Guillaume also believes that it’s just as important to focus your efforts at home.

Inspired by the phrase ‘think global, act local’, he is hoping to get more involved in the already supportive Harpenden community, with trips to local schools in the pipeline among other projects. He added: “We’re trying to organise stuff with the local council as we want to become more active.”

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