Rising above the rippling tea plantations and low hills of northeastern Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters) is Africa’s highest peak and the world's highest free-standing mountain. Kilimanjaro is one of the world's top destinations for travelers with a sense of adventure. This January 2015, the Survival Team at the Lebanese American University will make the trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. The “Never Give Up” Expedition is a venture between the LAU Survival Team in collaboration with Michael Haddad and the LAU School of Engineering. Michael Haddad is a 33 year old activist who has lost control over 75% of his body and defied his paralysis by developing his own walking patterns which have helped him succeed in setting two world records.
Teams of LAU engineering students lead by faculty members are developing an augmented balance exoskeleton that will provide Michael and other individuals with similar paralysis the sufficient balance to be able to stand-up and later walk and climb stairs.
Climbing to the summit on a seven day hike, the LAU Survival Club team along with Dr. Elise Salem (Vice President of Student Development & Enrollment Management at LAU) will be breaking barriers while raising funds for this new cutting edge research to help build an advanced exoskeleton for Michael and other similar cases.
This expedition is receiving the support of a conglomerate of LAU students coming from different backgrounds and majors:
• The Nutrition Club is providing the climbers with meal plans.
• The Medical School Students are taking care of doing necessary medical
tests for the hikers.
• The Communication Arts students are filming the training sessions and
preparing all marketing material.
• The Architecture and Design students have taken care of all graphics
and visuals for the website and campaign
• The Computer Science students have put together the website
• The Engineering students have focused their work on researching and
building the Exoskeleton
Through team work, strong will, strong leadership qualities, and determination, the Lebanese American University students and staff have joined forces to reach out to those in need and to send a message to every individual not to give up.
The LAU Survival Team was initiated in 2011 and it is composed of a group of committed and highly motivated staff and students from LAU. Every year, the team undergo intense training programs that encompass but is not limited to the following:
Members’ trainings include:
•   Endurance and strong will
•   First Aid (CPR, Trauma, burn, shock, etc…)
•  Knots: (Main essential knots anyone can learn and everyone should
•  Fire making (using friction method, as well as chemical, electrical and
•   Traps (different types of traps for small and large games)
•   Study of identifying Edible / non edible plants
•   Navigation (using stars, moon, sun, geographical location, plants)
•   Shelter building (using simple things you find around and improvise)
•   Clothing (types of clothing to wear and not to wear depending on the
weather and activity)
•   Finding & storing food/water
•   Water purification method
•   Rock climbing
•   Snow Caving
Despite their differences in opinions and their backgrounds, the participants learn to:
•   Work as a team.
•   Have trust in themselves and in one another.
•   Listen, consider and respect one another’s opinion.
•   Face fears together and calmly.
• Control anger by converting emotional intense situations into
•   Further develop their will power and discover their new limits
•   Think creatively.
•   Value and appreciate what they have and understand the feeling of
those that don’t have much
•   Build self confidence in themselves and in their team mates
•   Improvise and make good use of items around.
•   Respect nature and its surrounding.