Our Impact: Porter Stories

Since 2003, KRTO has positively impacted the lives of thousands of porters working on Mount Kilimanjaro. We are proud of our legacy and are humbled by the stories shared by our community of porters.

Photo of Stanley

“Through working with KRTO, I have been able to build a house, support a niece in her education and have a pig farm as a side business. These changes were unimaginable before KRTO and for this I am forever grateful.  I feel badly when I see other porters suffering with non-Partner companies.  I wish all companies would join KRTO as I see these porters are getting their rights.

-Stanley, porter

Photo of Anna

“There is a big difference between now and [before joining] KRTO.  I have benefitted a lot and have made huge steps in life. My children are in school, I rent a farm for agriculture and I also keep 3 goats and 2 sheep, all from my mountain wages. I have diversified my income sources when not working on the mountain. I sell shoes and clothes and do food vending, depending on the seasons and opportunity. May God bless KRTO because they have helped us a lot.”

-Anna, porter

Photo of John

“I started with non-partner companies and things were not easy. It was very discouraging — some days we only got one meal in the evening and the amount [of food] was not adequate and bags were heavy.  When I started working with a KRTO partner company the procedures were clear and the porters’ rights were taken seriously.  Personally, I have gained self-awareness and I have learned good behaviors from working with KRTO Partner companies.  I had dreamed of moving to a more decent settlement and I’ve attained this. I have been able to buy a plot of land and I have made a big step in life.”

-John, porter

Photo of Hamdani

“Starting with a non-partner company the job was hard, carrying heavy bags, starving for some days with only one meal at dinner which wasn’t enough at all. I was fortunate to get registered with a KRTO Partner company which was the turning point for my life. Now I could pay school fees for my children and am proud as one of my children is in Tanga for field studies and another is planning to attend form five [advance level] in Singida.  Another major benefit for me is being able to meet my family’s basic needs of food and shelter. I have also started building a house and it is in its initial stages.”

-Hamdani, porter

Photo of Michael

The working conditions for porters changed when KRTO came on the scene. There is a big difference between KRTO and non-KRTO approved companies.  When working with the KRTO partner companies, I no longer pay a bribe to join a climbing team and receive the salary recommended by the government. Furthermore, a transparent tip procedure increases my earnings per trip.  I wish more companies would become KRTO partners.”

-Michael, porter

Photo of Emmy with her family (woman and child)

Like most women, Emmy was determined to do everything she could to give her children a chance in life that she never had. Mountain climbing was the only work she had come across which helped her meet these needs. “In 2017 I became affiliated with KRTO. I have since been able to rely on timely salary payments and receive a porter’s fair share of tips. Meals, bag weight, sleeping and climbing gear arrangements are managed satisfactorily.” With her limited education, engaging in porter work in an environment of fairness has become a viable job option. 

-Emmy, porter

Photo of Freddy

At the age of 35 Freddy became a porter and experienced hardships initially.  Becoming affiliated with KRTO, he was able to convert his mother’s mud home into a three-room brick house in three years. Freddy comments that had he kept working for non-KRTO partner companies, renovation of his mother’s house would have taken him much longer and he is certain that keeping up with his children’s education expenses would have been impossible. 

-Freddy, porter


We depend on donations and grants to help fund our free programs for porters. Please consider supporting our work. Donations made through our parent organization, the International Mountain Explorers Connection, a 501c(3) nonprofit organization, are tax-deductible according to U.S. law for U.S. donors.