Mike Libecki has no shortage of ideas for expeditions—he's been on more than 65 and wants to complete a hundred in his lifetime. But for his latest journey across the globe, he let someone else come up with the idea: his 13-year-old daughter, Lilliana, who wanted to do a humanitarian project to help the people of Nepal.
Lilli, of course, is no slouch when it comes to travel and helping to plan trips: She's been to all seven continents, and Nepal will be the 20th country she's visited. Lilli and Mike climbed Kilimanjaro in 2015, checking off her seventh continent, and after their climb, they installed solar panels, generators, and laptops at the Kilimanjaro Kids Community, an orphanage in Tanzania at the base of Africa’s highest mountain.
Returning home, Lilli wanted to do another humanitarian project, and she set her sights on Nepal.
"My dad and I started to read more about the horrible earthquakes in Nepal," Lilli wrote in a grant proposal. "I thought, OK, let's see if we can help make a difference and help people in Nepal that were affected by the earthquake."
She and her father flew to Nepal on June 1 with two main objectives. The first: installing solar panels and computers and donating clothing and equipment to hospitals, schools, community centers, dental clinics, and monasteries in the Solukhumbu District, Sagarmatha Zone of Nepal. They would then trek to Everest Base Camp and climb 20,161-foot (6,145-meter) Lobuche East, one of the peaks in the shadow of Mount Everest.
The Libeckis’ group will install solar power in 22 buildings with more than 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms) of solar panels and generators, along with Internet modems and 20 laptop computers. They’ll also donate thousands of items, such as socks, fleece hats, and toothbrushes, all repackaged into individual gift bags by Lilli’s soccer team in the weeks before the Libeckis left for Nepal.
For this project, Lilli applied for and received two grants: the Alta Ski Area/ACE Young Guns Grant and the American Alpine Club Zack Martin Breaking Barriers Grant.
"My main goal while traveling and adventuring and climbing is to find ways to give back to the planet and people in hopes to better the quality of life," Lilli wrote. "I hope to inspire others to get out in nature and care about our planet."
Mike says that in his decades of expeditions and traveling to see remote cultures, he’s found many people who have simple lives and appear content but want comforts that the rest of the world has.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
“They look healthy and happy, but they would love to have warm water; they would love to have light at night,” he says. “I feel like we should all have clean water, solar energy or some kind of electricity, all humans should have comforts and a healthy, wonderful life.”
Lilli is starting her own humanitarian nonprofit, The Joyineering Fund, which will be operational sometime this fall. So far, she’s done well at meeting the requirements that her dad has for her to continue to travel the world: Get straight As in school and follow her dreams and true passion in life, no matter what.