A young Kiwi's selfless efforts to brave trekking during a Nepalese winter - including climbing to Everest Base Camp - will see at least 10 poverty-stricken Sierra Leone girls gain school scholarships.

Georgia Cassidy began her 12-day trek in the Himalayas on Christmas Eve, with sponsors pledging funds for One Girl; a non-profit initiative which aims to help fund the educations of a million girls across Africa by 2020. The charity is focusing on the West African nation of Sierra Leone, where it provides scholarships of $320 to cover one year's education.

Miss Cassidy, who is on an exchange at the City University of Hong Kong with the support of a Prime Minister's Scholarship, raised $3283 during her trek.

"My journey to Everest base was a success in many dimensions. It was 12 days of wonder, experience and occasional breathlessness."


The 20-year-old completed the arduous walk to Everest Base Camp with an Australian trekking buddy and a local Sherpa.

The group walked for six hours a day, battling altitudes that made her heart race and in temperatures so cold her water bottle froze.

"The coldest night we had was [about] minus 18C outside [and about] minus 10C in the small accommodation rooms," she recounted.

"After 5pm there wasn't anywhere you'd want to be other than in range of the furnace in the tea house common room defrosting your fingers."

Girls to benefit from One Girl - and the fundraising efforts of its supporters including Miss Cassidy - include orphans, young mothers and others living in severe poverty.

Barriers to education in Sierra Leone include early marriage, pregnancy, poverty and the Ebola epidemic.

On the web: my.onegirl.org.au